One of my favorite things to use is the elastic thread you can buy at http://ctsusa.com/. It is a little bit thinner (if you purchase the one marked thinner) then what you can buy in the fabric stores. It seems to do a better job and not come loose as often. You can purchase it in white or black. It also seems to gather tighter then the ones I have bought at the near by stores.
When shirring, I use my inexpensive Kenmore machine, my Brother embroider/sewing machine does not give very good results. I am so glad I kept this Kenmore. I spent less then a hundred dollars for it and if I never use it for anything else, it has been worth that amount. When making these dresses the shirring takes more time then anything else in the construction process, but no matter how time consuming it is it is sew worth it! I love the effect of the shirring and my Brother 1034D serger makes finishing the seams a breeze, so they are actually quick to put together and always bring lots of smiles!
I do not have a pattern that I use, I double the hip measurement and this seems to work great. Also, it seems that back stitching when you start and then doing a continuous seam( just pull the elastic a small bit so that it forms a small loop when starting the next row of shirring) works better that trying to tie off at the end of each row.(As you can see in the photo to the left, I kept the elastic thread continuous, except where I had to tie off when the bobbin ran out.) I have made dresses that are all one fabric and some that are 2 different fabrics. I think I prefer the two fabrics and my daughters love them!
I have enjoyed making these dresses and I am so happy to be back in the wonderful world of sewing!
This post has been entered in the Brighton Park Best of 2011