Long time no see on the blog. Had a nice little break of a year an a half… But lockdown boredom has led me back. Thought I’d start posting some sewing and styling posts to amuse myself. And I’m kicking it off with a shirred top tutorial. I bought some elastic thread the other week and it’s changed my life for the better (it really is the little things), so I thought I’d share.
I started off by sewing a simple shirred bandeau and then sewed on gathered sleeves, it’s all so super easy to do. All you need is your fabric, can be any fabric as long as it has no stretch, I used linen which worked perfectly! And you’ll need matching thread that you usually sew with and elastic thread. (There is other ways to shirr fabric without elastic thread, but using elastic thread is the easier option).
Start by measuring out what size you want your bandeau to be. Measure what length you want your bandeau to be, I wish I had made mine longer as I clearly forgot I had boobs, which makes the bandeau shorter at the front lol. And then after you measure your width, multiply that measurement by 1.5. Remember to add seam allowance on both as well!!
Before you begin to shirr the fabric, hem the top and bottom of the fabric as it will be a lot harder to hem at the end.
Now grab your elastic thread, this needs to go on a bobin but hand wind it instead of using your sewing machine as this way it won’t be stretched. Thread up your sewing machine with your normal cotton thread as the top thread and elastic at the bottom. Each sewing machine differs but I increased my stitch length and increased the stitch tension.
Then start sewing straight lines across your fabric, making sure to do a back stitch on the start and end of each line. I sewed my lines pretty close together, I used my presser foot to keep them all equal. But looking back , I wish I spaced my lines out more but it’s personal preference on how close you want them.
The more lines you sew, the more it will come together. But make sure when sewing that you keep the fabric taught and flat otherwise the shirring won’t work! Once all the fabric is sewn, sew the side seams together. And ta dah, there you have a shirred bandeau! It takes up a lot of thread but is well worth!
I then decided to add some sleeves which I deliberated for way too long but I settled with a gathered strap that goes all the way down the back of the bandeau.
To make the sleeve, cut out two rectangles. I cut mine 15cm by 130cm. However it just depends on the length of your bandeau and how wide you want the frill on your shoulder. Once you have decided on the shape, hem both sides of the fabric and then sew a gathering stitch along one edge of of the fabric next to the hem. When sewing a gathering stitch, increase the stitch length and don’t back-stitch when starting and finishing. Then pull the thread of the gathering stitch which will gather the fabric, continue to gather until your sleeve is the right length. Sew your sleeve in, I sewed mine from the top of my bandeau and carried it down to the bottom of the bandeau at the back for some added detail.
There you have a shirred bandeau with a gathered strap! I’m quite happy with how this turned out, elastic thread is now a new love of mine but I’m still a bit skeptical about the straps. However it solved some quarantine boredom so I can’t complain!!
If anyone has any sewing reccomendations then please let me know! I’m really not the best so I’ll appreciate any help!!