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How to do Elastic Shirring: Make a Top or Dress in an Afternoon!

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It’s shirr magic! Elastic shirring creates a wonderful stretchy texture and is the perfect warm weather technique. It occupies the space between the simplicity of gathering and the intricacy of hand-smocking. We’ve pulled together links to our full step-by-step tutorial plus three shirring projects: a flirty little top plus a full length sundress for both big and little girls. We think you’ll find it fun to learn and easy to do. 

Learn the technique

Your first step is to check out our full tutorial that details four different shirring options, showing you all the steps as well as reviewing fabric type considerations and tips for determining width and length.

Go to our shirring tutorial

Now that you have your skill set and your elastic thread in hand, pick one of our three projects to give shirring a shot.  

Shirred Sun Top 

Designed to be flirty and floaty, this top hits right at the waistband of your favorite summer shorts. Wear it by itself or layer with a sheer cotton tank. We include sizing and shirring details to customize for your best fit.

Go to the shirred sun top project.

Shirred Sun Dress

We had such fun with our little top that we made another version in a dress length. And, we added self-fabric ties at the shoulders rather than the ribbon ties featured in the top. This Re-imagine & Renovate option shows you how easy it is to get a whole new look with just a few small changes.

Go to the shirred dress project.

Little Girl’s Shirred Sun Dress

For our “little girl” version of summer shirring fun, we spun the traditional one-seam-up-the-side design, taking it from ordinary to trendy by adding a flirty eyelet underskirt and a precious sash with its own flower pin. 

Go to the little girl’s shirred sun dress project.


Comments (2)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Lynn - that is fabulous news! We're so happy to hear it worked out "just as advertised." If you follow us in social media, we'd love to see a pic. We are sew4home on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter and sew4home_diy on Instagram.

Lynn Samuels said:
Lynn Samuels's picture

This was my first ever attempt at shirring.  I read the tutorial and then went for it.  The dress turned out beautifully and the shirring effect is amazing.  I will definitely be shirring more often now.  Thank you.