Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer maxi dress -- shirring (Part 4)

How's your dress coming? I'd love to know if you're making one and how it's going...

And now, if you're doing the gathered bodice, it's time to finish it up!

To do this, you'll need to buy some elastic thread; I found mine at the fabric store by the prepackaged elastic. It's elastic so thin that you can use it as thread.

Please excuse the close up, but this is a good illustration of the final look of the bodice:

I've seen this method described as smocking or shirring. Not sure what the difference is, but I'm thinking that shirring is what we'll do here, a simple gathering. Smocking is several layers of shirring with decorative thread on the top side, like you might see on little girls' skirts or shirts. But just a guess...

To start, you'll need to hand-wind your bobbin with the elastic thread. I stretched it a little as I did this...

Then you'll load your bobbin in your machine. One of my big sewing machine books said you should bypass your tension disc in the bobbin case, but that didn't work for me. I ended up threaded it as normal.

Here's my test fabric. The top is the correct; you can see the elastic thread, and then on top I used the blue thread I'd been using for the rest of the project. The bottom was my attempt to bypass the tension disc; as you can see, it totally didn't work. I also didn't need to adjust anything else on my machine.

By the way, if "tension disc" is confusing, here's the illustration from my sewing machine. The arrow is pointing right at the tension disc; it's what pulls the thread tight so it doesn't just spin out of the bobbin.

I started sewing at the top, making sure I was sewing vertically right down the middle of the bodice. I back stitched just a few stitches at the top but not at the bottom. I left the threads long at the top and bottom. I pulled on the elastic to gather the bodice, then I sewed it again, right over the top of my other stitches. You can pull on the elastic again if you want to gather it more.

The top stitching at the top held the threads ok. At the bottom, I sewed a very small horizontal line across the bottom to hold the stitches in place (no elastic, back to regular thread for this part). I did it this way because I didn't want to have a horizontal line at the top; I thought it would show. But maybe it won't and that will work better for you than the back stitching.

And that's it! Here's how it looks on the back...

And here's the front view...

If you didn't do this, the bodice looks really, really plain. So here's your chance to be creative and dress it up. One thing I've seen lately that I love is the knit braids. That was my plan before I decided to gather it; there's a good tutorial here to help you create the braids. You would then tuck the ends under and hand stitch it to your bodice; I was going to put it along the bottom of the bodice/top of the skirt, but it would also be good for the straps as well. Or you can do some fabric flowers, some ribbon... The possibilities are endless!

Enjoy summer in your new dress!

No comments:

Post a Comment