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How To Shirr Fabric Without Elastic Thread

While shirring, many people do use the elastic thread which can be time-consuming and tedious. Things become worse when you prepare a waistband or stuff where a lot of thread is required. But shirring fabric without an elastic thread makes things easy.

Here is an informative guide explaining the same, following which you can get rid of the pain to chain the bobbin constantly. In the end, you will still have an elegant ‘shirring’ effect.

How To Shirr Fabric Without Elastic Thread?

It is a new project that we have taken up where the technique is known as shirring. Usually, when people hear about the term, they think it requires elastic thread here.

But here we are discussing shirring the fabric without using elastic thread. It is a bit new, and with a simple practice tutorial, you can ‘shirr’ at least two rows of gathers to decorate different parts of sleeves, garments, etc.

It can be both functional and decorative, allowing the cloth to be used by different people. Stay with us for the time being to know about the shirred fabric without elastic thread.

Most techniques available over the internet are with the elastic thread. But it creates problems at times which can be avoided by following this procedure. Take a look!

The Tutorial For Shirring Without Elastic Thread

Step 1: First of all, before you start doing a particular product, it is better to try in a scrap of cloth. While doing, make sure to use a darker thread as it allows you to look for the stitches better.

Step 2: Take up two pieces of clothes facing right that you will be working with. Open the fabric and iron the seams at a particular side to eliminate wrinkles.

Step 3: Now top-stitch the area between the stitching line and the fabric edge, and it is also known as seam allowance.

Step 4: After that, you have to cut and eliminate the trim allowance to half. Turn it right-sides so that it faces out and iron the same part again.

Step 5: Pin the sides so that the fabric should not move, and the edges should be in place.

Step 6: Compared to the elastic stitches, you should start preparing rows of stitches a little wider.

Step 7: Suppose in the elastic thread, if you take ?” wide, it should be 3/8″ wider from the edge in this process.

Step 8: Start sewing the first row and as the half of the foot is ?” wide, use your foot for a rough idea.

Step 9: If you want to increase the size of the row, you must use a ruler to make the markings. Otherwise, it will be a bit difficult to find and also to keep them consistent and straight.

Step 10: Continue with the process till you reach the end. But it would help if you stopped when more than 5/8″ as you reach the bottom.

Step 11: Now, it’s time to complete the shirring without using an elastic thread. For that, you have to cut the pieces of elastic to a length of ? to ? of the pattern.

Step 12: The length should meet the measure of your body without being stretched.

Step 13: The number of pieces will vary depending on the rows you have already sewn.

Step 14: After that, put a safety pin at the one side of the elastic end. It helps the elastic to stay outside when you start drawing through the rows.

Step 15: For pulling the elastic to the other side, you have to use a loop turner. In case you do not have this tool, don’t worry, as you can attach a safety pin.

Step 16: After that, you can thread the elastic via the rows and secure it using pins or safety pins.

Step 17: You must leave the last row as you will require the same to integrate shirring. With that, you can complete shirring the entire piece of cloth.

Step 18: After that, you must sew at the edge where the pins are holding securely to keep everything in place. Once you have completed the process, your shirring without using elastic thread is over.

Shirring Without Elastic Thread: Where To Use?

Even though the process won’t give optimum elasticity when using a thicker fabric, you can go for thinner ones. It gives support for crop tops, evening gowns, soft corset tops, etc., where there is no need for too much boning.

A soft pair of pants can be prepared using ?” elastic and cotton lawn fabric. But the ultimate choice to use this technique is on self-lined crop tops.

Nonetheless, always try practicing with scrap materials before doing on the end product.

Reasons To Opt For This Method

If you must be thinking what is the need to opt for this method, when you can go ahead using elastic thread. A few reasons that will help you in the process are:

  • No Sewing Machine Required: For this process, you will not need any sewing machine. It means people who want to try out shirring without elastic thread can also do it.

In that way, you also do not need to learn how to operate a sewing machine, and it is the most important thing. With the basic knowledge of sewing, you can proceed and complete the entire process.

  • No Bobbin Case: There is no need for any bobbin case or winding of any thread into it. Some people find it difficult to wind a thread and that process can be eliminated by opting for this process.
  • Time Saving Process: You must be thinking about how doing with hands can save time. Well, here, you do not have to waste time in winding the bobbin or checking if your machine is operating properly.

When you want to do so, you can go ahead with the basic things required for sewing.

  • Affordable Way: As there is no need to buy a sewing machine to do the process, you can save a lot of money. The process can be done by anyone whenever they want to with their hands.

Materials Required For This Process

A few things that will help you to go ahead with this process is here for your knowledge. These are basic things which you might already have if you have sewed previously. They are:

  • Elastic: Many of us have elastic at home, which we use when our pants become loose. If you do not have one, you can do it from any shop as easily available. It is one of the essential accessories that you will require to continue with the process.
  • Safety Pins Or A Loop Turner: It is used to pull the elastic from one side to another. Usually, a loop turner is used, but you can use safety pins if you do not have one.

Also, safety pins are used to tie the elastic at one end. So, before starting, you must ensure that you have enough pins with you. It will allow you to use them when and wherever required.

  • The Same Or Similar Color Thread: Make sure to have the same or similar colour thread. In that way, it won’t look improper and won’t be visible also.
  • Have And Iron: You must have an iron with you as you will require it in between the steps. By ironing the seam allowances, you can remove creases which will give you a better finishing.

A lighter fabric is the best. While trying to use heavy or thicker fabric, make sure to use stronger elastic. Initially, you must have some patience to understand the process.

But after doing twice or thrice, you will be easy to go with the process. It is always better to try on scrap pieces of clothes to learn and do on the final product when you become an expert.

Is It Necessary To Go Ahead With Shirring Without Elastic Thread Instead Of The With Elastic Thread?

Well, it is a completely personal choice which process you would like to go ahead with. If you want a simple and time-saving process, the first one is the best choice.

But if you use a piece of thicker fabric, you have to proceed with the second choice for more elasticity. It means the choice lies in what you would like to do and which method will prove beneficial.

Is It Easy To Follow The Process Of Shirring Without Elastic Thread?

Yes, the process of shirring without elastic thread is simple and easy. You do not have to attend any professional classes to learn the same. If you follow the above steps, you can do it on your own.

For better clarity, you can look for some more resources. Personally, we think there are not many technicalities in this process, and that’s the reason that anyone can learn the process quickly. With that, you are ready to go ahead with shirring.


Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

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