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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sewing: Shirred Summer Tops/Skirt

If I remember right, when I was in High School, we had to sign up for one of the (required) ancillary/extra-curricular classes - classified as SUPW - Socially Useful Productive Work - and they varied from carpentry to cooking to crafting with coconut shells and what-not. We could take a different class each year, and I did. My first batch of ketchup and pickle were done in one of these classes taught by my Math teacher then, who also doubled as our Cooking teacher:)

Anyway, when I reluctantly enrolled in Needlework, it turned into a beautiful experience I remember even today. A kindly Punjabi teacher showed the Needlework class (of half a dozen girls) how to actually do the classic Smocking. I was hooked.

I still remember my first project - a doll dress for the Celluloid Doll I had. It was green cotton fabric - just plain bright leaf green. Using the graph paper (with grid markings) and carbon paper, I remember diligently placing the evenly-spaced dots on the fabric in 4 or 6 rows, then following the instructions, using bright yellow and red threads, embarking on the smocking.

Now, thanks to Elastic Thread, we can get a similar effect, called Shirring, with much less effort using a standard sewing machine. I was blissfully unaware of it until my mom showed me machine shirring with elastic thread when she had come over to help with Ana's birth. That summer, my mom made several pretty clothes for baby Ana, some of which are now part of Enid's wardrobe.

Anyway, there are many sites on the web that give detailed instructions and tutorials for beginners. Basically, hand-wind the bobbin with elastic thread, and sew as usual, using appropriate needle for the fabric and regular thread.

On and off, Fabric Remnants are marked down heavily at the fabric stores and I hunt and gather them, based on my allowance for that month. Fabric remnants are just that - when at the end of the bolt the stores feel there isn't enough (usually a yard or less) to sell by the yard, they roll it up and mark down the price 50% to 75%. Of course, this means the choice is limited and I may not have enough for the project I have in mind. But, since I like reverse engineering, I get the fabric and see how best I can use that piece, so, it works out.

Every summer since Ana arrived, I couldn't resist the urge to sew a few clothes for her. It is so much fun to sew for little girls. These shorts still fit her, but the shirred tops is Enid's ball gown now :)

This cute Georgette fabric was just a dollar and a half, for about 20"x44" piece and was just right for 5T size tops/skirt. I simply shirred the full length, gathered to required chest measurement. For now, chest and waist measurements are the same for Ana, and besides, since it has elastic thread, it expands as needed anyway, so, simply gather and sew the seam to a tube, add straps to wear as tops; tuck the straps down to wear as skirt.

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Blogger ABD said...

you are mighty talented and very creative....

5:10 PM  

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