step by step shirring

A feature of the new skirt pattern – Kiera –  by Designer Stitch is the technique of shirring the back yoke for some on-trend styling.

helen 8

BC 2CB 2The pattern has the option of a shirred yoke (or a standard shaped yoke) but if your sewing machine “likes” the idea of shirring here are all the steps to teach you this simple but so so effective technique.

I would love to see your end results so why not email us some photos of your fabulous Kiera creations.

Step 1.
Shirring elastic comes in both black and white. It is a narrow elastic slightly thicker than regular thread. It will deteriorate over time so if you have had a reel for a while it is suggested you purchase a new reel for this project.

step 1

Step 2.
Place the reel of elastic into a round bottom container. Thread the elastic end into the hole of the bobbin long enough to give you a good anchor.
step 2Step 3.
Start winding the elastic onto the bobbin – wind it so there’s a little bit of tension, but not tight. The bobbin should have the elastic wound evenly through the length of the bobbin spindle.

step 3Step 4.
Once the elastic has been wound don’t be tempted to  overfill the bobbin. And check that the elastic has been evenly distributed and not bunched in places.
step 4

Step 5. 
Depending on your sewing machine the stitch length may have to be lengthened slightly. On your sampling try both a stitch length of 3 and 4 to ascertain the ideal length.

step 5

Step 6.
Set the bobbin into the bobbin case and thread as per your sewing machine manual or your usual threading process.

step 6

Step 7.
As we will be stitching equally spaced lines the quilters guide bar is a fabulous thing to use. It may have come as a standard accessory for your machine or can be purchased separately.  If you don’t have this bar draw chalk lines to the correct side of your back band approx 1.5 cms (5/8″) apart(for the Kiera skirt).

step 7

Step 8.
The below image is my bar in place at the back of my standard presser foot.

step 8

Step 9.
Start your first row of sewing back stitching at the start of your row. And make sure you do back stitch properly. If not, when you stretch your fabric out after shirring the elastic will start to undo.

step 9

Step 10.
Continue stitching across the width of your back band and ensure you back stitch at the end of the first row.

step 10

Step 11.
Your first row of shirring may not be very gathered as the more rows you complete the more the fabric draws up.

step 11

Step 12.
Continue your rows of stitching ensuring you back stitch at the beginning and end of each row and stretching the fabric out flat.

step 12

Step 13.
As you are stitching your rows of shirring you will see that the  fabric starts to gather up.

step 13

Step 14.
The below image shows the the additional rows of shirring

step 14

Step 15.
When you get to the last few rows it will be a bit tricky – just take your time and make sure your fabric is pulled out flat and taut.

step 15

I hope you have found my Step-by-Step tutorial helpful and I look forward to seeing all of your Kiera Skirt creations.

Here are some amazing photos to inspire you to make your Kiera YOUR OWN.

Cheerio. Ann from Designer Stitch. xx

VB 1 VB 4







AB 1AB 2

CB 1

CB 2






GJ 2

GJ 4




JA 1 JA 2









JB 2JB 1   KW 1KW 5  MC 4MC 3 MC 6   MC 7salesimageSG 2



BC 1

BC 2

TO 1

TO 2

KG 2

KG 1

DS 1

DS 2

One thought on “step by step shirring

  1. Glenda says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial. I look forward to trying this technique soon I do have a question….and please forgive me if I read to quickly and missed it,. Do we use a tiny zig-zag or a streight stitch for secure the elastic thread? Thank you so much for your help and the lovely patterns!

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