I’ve recently fallen in love with a sewing technique called shirring. It uses elastic threaded through the sewing machine to make the material ruch up (its also called ruching) and is a very handy technique for making fast, easy tops and dresses. I’ve particularly fallen in love with this dress, and i’m going to have a go at making something similar with this material (with the band at the base running around the bottom of the skirt). but not yet.. first i had a go at shirring and working out the dimensions for a simple top, by making up a muslin – which for once, went so well, i think i’m going to keep it and wear it:

this was a material given to me ages ago and i never found a use for it, but when i was sorting through my stash, i found it and thought it would make a nice top, so i was delighted when the muslin turned out so well...

as always, the rest of the photos are behind the cut… i also got to work on refashioning a skirt from a pair of red denim jeans, although i think i need to lose a few more pounds before i’ll feel really comfortable in it. i’ve another pair of jeans to do this to – a pale blue pair as well, which i’ll probably do over the weekend. I’ve plans for lots more items – we’re going to Michiel’s parents for 2 weeks in August, and i realised that a lot of my summer wear doesn’t fit very well any more, hence all this sewing.. i don’t want to be still sewing the week before we leave, getting all stressed out!

if anyone is interested in tutorials on shirring, then there are some good ones here, here, here, here, here and here. its fun and very easy to do!

here you can see the shirring close up. the outside stitching is ordinary blue cotton....

but the inside stitching is elastic - which is the thick thread you can see here.

what i am most proud of with this top is not so much that i got the shirring to work, its more that i put some thought and care into the seams as well, inspired by reading some other sewing bloggers who always make their seams look nice. Before, i would've edged the seam with zigzaggig and left it look a mess - after all, its the inside, no one will see it but me. But now i take a pride in having it all neat and tucked away. it should make the garment last longer too.

here you can see the shirred part more clearly, along the top row. I need to make the whole thing bigger, so that the unshirred parts fall more loosely around me, and a little longer. but that is a minor consideration. the best thing of all is that you can PLAY with shirring - the spacing, the amount you shirr, to create very different effects and styles.

the red denim skirt. I put a pretty pattern along the bottom of the skirt, just for that unique touch...

close up of the patterning at the bottom of the skirt