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Susan Terpin, our amazing sewist and quilter, has a lot of tricks and tips up her sleeve. Recently, I saw her with a cute little dress in her hands and I asked her, “how did you sew that to create that elastic-shrinking effect?” and she said, “Oh you mean shirring. It’s easy!” So she set up a little class with some of us quilters here at work, and taught us how to shirr.
This is how it went:
1) We wound up elastic thread on our bobbins with a slight stretch, by hand. Then we put regular thread though the top of our machines. The thread we used was our Essential cotton thread. Stitch length was set to about 3.
2) We started off with one yard of Lawn fabric. (We have our Matsuri Lawn at 50% off right now by the way!) Back-stitching is very important, and we began sewing long lines down our Lawn fabric. It began to pucker up a little bit, but the magic really sets in after you’ve sewn at least 5 lines with the shirring elastic in, and then steam it. It shrinks up really well!
3) Hem the bottom of the fabric, and sew on two straps, and voila! We were done! The little dresses are so adorable, and we all learned a new skill. The pattern can be found here as a FREE download and fits little girls about 2T in size. Thanks Sue!