Sunday, October 22, 2017

Shirred Blouse - Burdastyle 09/2017 #104

This Burdastyle blouse caught my eye because it had some interesting bohemian style features, but with relatively simple sewing; rectangular sleeves sewn on dropped shoulder,  decorative ties at the shoulder seam and wrists and a shirred neckline.  It is available as a download.  Shirred Blouse

The blouse is shown in a metallic pin stripe chiffon print.  I had a  silk burgundy paisley print with metallic pin stripes in my stash, which was very similar. (Source:

To make the chiffon easier to sew, I stiffened several fabric pieces with a product called Terial Arts Magic Fabric Spray.

I had received a sample spray bottle  of this product at a recent sewing guild meeting. It is a product that is applied to the fabric and when dry gives the fabric a paper-like texture. The firmer texture makes the fabric stiff enough to do embroidery, cutting by machine or feed through the printer, without any additional stabilizer or backing. It can be rinsed out of the fabric to restore the original hand.    I used it on the collar piece to make it easier to doing the shirring, and the bottom edge of the sleeve pieces to facilitate sewing the vent openings. It worked great.

The stand up collar is shirred, a term which means to gather (an area of fabric or part of a garment) by means of drawn or elasticized threads in parallel rows.


There are two common methods to do shirring by machine. The first uses regular thread in the needle and elastic thread in the bobbin.  The disadvantage of this method is that it is difficult to control the amount of shirring so that the finished piece is a specific width. It is often used when the garment is going to be stretched over a body so the shirring just needs to be snug on the body when worn. The second method is the one used on this blouse.  You zigzag over thin elastic thread forming a casing, and pull the elastic thread to the desired finished measurement. The purpose of the zigzag stitch is to hold the elastic in place but still permit it to be pulled tighter to gather the fabric to a specific length.

Shirring elastic or elastic thread typically comes in black or white.  Just an FYI, an interesting source of other colors is the kid's craft area of Hobby Lobby or Michael’s in the bracelet making supplies ( package on far left).

I used black from a huge cone purchased at a factory outlet store long ago ( like the red one above).  To shirr the collar, the instructions have you zigzag over unstretched elastic thread on the wrong side of the collar, on the fold line.

Draw the elastic to the recommended measurement and tie off.  Sew collar back seam.  Then fold the collar in half along the fold line (where you sewed the first line of elastic) with wrong sides together and zigzag over  elastic in parallel lines ½ inch from the folded edge, on the inside of the collar. I fed my elastic through one hole in the 7 cord presser foot which kept it aligned so the needle  did not pierce it  at all during the zigzagging.

The blouse is a fun addition to my wardrobe. Since the fabric is a bit sheer, I wear a color coordinated tank top under it.