Sunday, July 1, 2012

Shirring, or using Elastic Thread, on my BabyLock

Wow! It has been way too long since I have shared any good creativity on Glitters and Ribbons Please! Why have I not been blogging? It’s definitely not because Spokane has such sunny weather and I’ve been outside! It’s because I have been a sewing monster. Hopefully I’m not squinty eyed and hunch backed yet!

I thought I’d share a bit of sewing fun with you. I was introduced to sewing with elastic thread this summer. It is called shirring or smocking. I ran into quite some trouble trying to sew with my BabyLock machine. I read a thousand blogs on how to do it, and was beginning to seriously doubt my sewing capabilities, when I came across a blog that said that Brothers or BabyLock machines cannot shirr. So it wasn’t me, it was my STUPID MACHINE! Since I first got my BabyLock machine it has been nothing but a growing love affair. Obviously, I was distraught that I had found something that my machine was incapable of doing!

I called the fabulous ladies at the Creative Stitch in Littleton, Colorado and was reassured that neither I nor my machine was stupid. So for those of you out there frustrated and unable to shirr with a BabyLock, here’s your blog baby!

To begin, buy some nice elastic thread. As always, Gutermann has led my machine to nothing but success. Hand wind the elastic thread around the bobbin making sure it is snug. You don’t need to stretch it all the way out, but you don’t want it loose.

Insert your bobbin into the bobbin casing, pulling the thread past the tension spring. Using a small eye glasses screw driver, adjust the tension screw on the bobbin casing. I put mine about a quarter of a turn tighter (to the right).

Place bobbin casing into machine. Your top thread is just normal cotton thread that will show on the nice side of your fabric. Thread machine like normal.

Adjust thread length to longest stitch (mine was 4). You want your stitch to be just a plain-Jane straight stitch. When starting your shirring, you can reverse just like normal to knot the thread. When starting the next row, it is important to hold the fabric taught and sew straight so that the rows gather the same amount.
I bought an extra bobbin casing. This way I can have one that I adjust the tension on for shirring, and one that I leave well enough alone for all my other sewing. I marked my shirring bobbin casing with a dollop of nail polish to keep them separate. Definitely worth the $12 spent for an extra casing!

This is the scrub top that I made for my friend Brenda who just got a nursing job at Seattle Children’s. Woohoo! Go Brenda! She’s a skinny gal and since I didn’t have her here to fit it, the shirring in the back was a nice way to give it some shape without having to adjust the entire pattern. Lots of kids’ clothing has shirring so I think that will be my next project for my shirring summer!

check out the shirred back
Me trying it on!

1 comment:

  1. I just wanted to cry because I thought my Bablylock was truly inept at shirring. I just followed your directions and guess what... WALLLLLAAAA!!! Its shirring beautifully!!!! :) Thank you so much for your post!
    ~Barbara Jean