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  • Writer's pictureLonda

Shirred T’Shirt Tunic

I love to be inspired by ready-to-wear.  This shirred top ‘spoke’ to me enough to purchase it down in Houston last fall.  It is commercial chain looper shirring up the center, through v neckline to the shoulder, and up the sides.  3 rows in each location, then seamed wrong sides together at center front and center back and side seams.  That’s IT!

Aqua Knit Shirred Top

Since one of my episodes for Series 900 on It’s Sew Easy TV (PBS Series)  was on shirring, I thought it would be a great idea to ‘whip up a copy’ to wear for the taping.  However, this design was sleeveless, and most of us don’t want to expose our arms on TV (can’t understand why the big networks keep putting their gals in sleeveless either!)  Though I got my version cut out, I hadn’t completely decided how I’d adapt it to a raglan sleeve style…so on the table it stayed until this Valentine’s Day afternoon when it became something far different than I had ever imagined!  However, this is exactly the kind of creative sewing I love.    Here’s how I started out with adapting a simple raglan peasant top pattern.  Note I cut the center front down into a V-Neckline.

Slashing pattern to yield shirring length needed.

I set 3 rows of shirring with Elastic Thread in the Bobbin Technique  at the following locations as I taught in my recent ‘More Elastic Thread Shirring’    and my initial post:  Londa’s Hints for Shirring with Elastic Thread.  

* Up each center front, starting 1/2″ from cut edge, then spaced by running the side of the presser foot along the last row stitched.  Go all the way to the raglan front sleeve seam.

*  Up each center back in the same manner as the front.

* Starting at the notch on the raglan seam on the fronts and backs in the same manner as the center seams.

* From that notch level straight up the center of the sleeve and on either side a foot width away.

Three rows all around the neckline upper edge, top of sleeves – continuous from center front, around to center front.

* I also initially shirred up the sides as well – but ultimately removed that for my final garment rendition.

setting shirring rows - 3 per side of center front and back. Stitch WRONG sides together.

Setting shirring rows – 3 per side of center front and back. Stitch WRONG sides together, front to back at centers AND raglan seams after shirring.

After stitching the sleeves in and up the underarm ad side seams, I had the following garment…. Obviously, my shirring had shirred more than on the aqua garment.  I know from my experimentation that I’d have duplicated the aqua garment more closely if I’d used Dritz Elastic Thread because it is thinner and doesn’t shirr as much.  Also, if i had used the regular presser  foot (instead of the embroidery foot) and a shorter stitch length – these two techniques would also have reduced the shirring. This ma