Monday, 21 March 2011

Shirring problem...and a solution! Shirred, ruffled scarf tutorial

Tomorrow is the birthday of a good friend and I had planned to make her a shirred, ruffled scarf as a present as seen on MADE. I have tried shirring once before with limited success, but I thought it would be OK this time. It wasn't.

With my beloved Bernina 1130 in for repair, I am using my 'emergency Bernina', which is an old 801 Sport. Both these machines have a bobbin case which looks like this:

When I put the shirring elastic inside the bobbin case, it is held tightly by a clip on the outer case and is pulled so tightly that the elastic just breaks when I try to sew with it. I have fiddled and fiddled with this method but can't seem to fix it. I don't know if it just the old machine, but I suspect it is the design of the bobbin case.

So, I came up with another method (and apologies if this is already posted somewhere else, but I haven't seen it anywhere). I used my sewing machine foot with a small hole for a thin cord to pass through. Here it is - you can see the hole right at the bottom in the middle:


1.  Thread the machine as normal with thread to match your fabric
2.  Set the machine to a narrow zig-zag stitch (I used 1.5, with a stitch length of 2)
3.  Thread the shirring elastic through the cord hole (leave 1-2cm elastic hanging out the back to tie off later).
4.  Sew a few stitches close together until the elastic feels secure.
5.  Stretch out the elastic and sew!
6.  At the end of the fabric, leave 1-2cm of elastic to tie off later.

I sewed two lines of elastic close together down the middle of the scarf (see below). At the top and bottom ends of the scarf, I tied the loose ends of elastic together and trimmed them close to the knot.

When it was finished, it looked like this from the front and back (I finished the raw edges of the scarf with a serged rolled hem):

I decided to make a matching card. For this I cut out heart shapes from scraps of fabric, arranged them on a blank card and sewed them on with one line of stitching - how simple is that!?


  1. Hi Megan,
    your cheats shirring method is the industry standard I believe. I love your do it now attitude and that you make jeans! I need to get my sewing room happening and get back into it.
    Good work and inspiring.

    1. Hi D.Lah, wow, I didn't realise it was the industry standard. That's interesting. Just like me to reinvent the wheel! Thanks so much for the encouragement and comment, Megan

  2. Thanks I have an old Bernina and will put this away for future projects. This fabric is gorgeous!! Makes me think of rose petals. Lucky friend! JenK

  3. Just bought a set of feet for my machine - I wanted one for rolled edges and for just a bit more I got a whole set - so I wonder if there's afoot like yours in it? Very ingenious.


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