I donated a huge pile of clothing yesterday-really! My oldest DD, "LJ" has been studying all this week for finals. I felt that she need a pick-me-up and nothing does it more for her than clothes-Hmmmmm, the apple does not fall far from the tree!
She loves when I make her something and she has a matching accessory, too. Her friends swoon over her outfits in amazement with her matching and personalized wardrobe.
I all along had intentions of making my DH's sage green Hawaiian Top into a shirred one for LJ! She LOVES them because they are summery and legal to wear to school because I make the straps thick. No spaghetti straps are allowed at school. A much limited summer wardrobe in Arizona where much of everything is thin straps!
Follow along for a fun tutorial!
Original Hawaiian Shirt
I cut the shirt just below the sleeves! Save the rest for straps for the top and a fun accessory!
I like things really straight and it makes the outcome that much more professional-looking. I took my straight ruler and squared the top of the shirt. The already hemmed bottom I left untouched!
At this point you can make a narrow hem on the top. I chose to attach white double-sided bias binding to it. Why? Honestly, I am not a huge fan of sage green clothing, but it suits my daughter really well. I thought the crisp white contrast would make it pop and add that touch it needed.
IMHO the white bias binding was the way to go! It is starting to look more feminine.
The next step is to hand-wind your bobbin with elastic thread. Not TOO tight but somewhat firm. Wind it 2/3 of the way, because when you let go, it will expand and this is normal. Wind at least 2-3 at this point. If you run out of elastic mid- way into a row, no worries. Just place another bobbin in its place and backstitch and continue!
Elastic thread is awesome! I also have it in black, too, which is great for darker fabrics!
I know it, but I crave perfection. It does take a few extra moments, but SO worth it. I take my disappearing ink marker and ruler and make straight lines. I like 1/2" increments and I accurately made 8 lines, but you can do more if you like. I found this is perfect for LJ! If you are using a button down shirt as I did, allow enough room for your sewing foot to go across the fabric and not interfere with the button. I actually made that area 3/4" to accommodate this. Once shirred it will blend.....
Place the bobbin in the bobbin case. I choose white thread for the top for the contrast. Increase your tension to 8 or 9 and stitch length to 2.5 or 3. You can practice on a scrap piece of fabric. Once you have determined the numbers that work for you(fabric starts to gather) place the right-side of the fabric facing you under the foot of your sewing machine and follow your lines. Make sure to back-stitch at the beginning and the end. From buttonholes to buttons!
You will notice that your gathers may appear "loose" but as you gather row after row it starts to look like shirring. After you finish all rows, it will look like this.
At this point, it is a good idea to cut all your loose threads and neaten up your shirring! It usually is still a little "loose", but all you have to do is take a hot iron with steam and steam all your shirring. I do the front and back and you will magically see it shrink! Do not place the iron on your fabric-keep it a few inches away and steam blast! I then spray it with a little water and it is perfectly shirred! You can button up your top at this point!
Time to make straps, if you like! As I mentioned earlier, wide straps are a must for my LJ to wear it to school!
I cut the fabric in strips longer than I needed. I measured LJ to get this measurement. I made hers 19 inches long each, because I wanted to criss-cross it in the back! More is always a good thing.....
I cut the strips 19" long by 2.5 " wide. I made an executive decision to add bias binding to the straps again for visual detail!
I had to find my LJ so we could do a fitting for the straps. I wanted to strategically place the straps so her bra straps would be completely hidden! While she had the shirred top on I carefully pinned the straps in place. Front and criss-crossed the back! Carefully remove top!
You can either serge or narrow hem the raw edges before sewing the straps in place. Just keep your pin in place for the exact spot for your straps!
Easy, breezy, shirred top!
She LOVES her matching headband! Now, on the last day of school, she can be fashionable and a brainiac as she takes her last final!