Shirred Skirt

Shirred Skirt - {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Spruce up your wardrobe with this extremely cute shirred skirt!

The sewing skills needed for this skirt are minimal, so don’t let that be an excuse. 🙂

– Supplies –

(I used Spring Leaves in Good Life by Wooster & Prince for Robert Kaufman)
How much fabric depends on how wide/long you need the dress to be.
Elastic Thread
1/4″ Elastic

When I first saw Cherie’s post, “How to make a Shirred Dress“,
I knew I needed to try and make a skirt.

Unfortunately, elastic thread works differently on different machines.
I had to unpick the shirring (or lack thereof) from my skirt.

But no worries! I found a way to make it work, and I am going to share that with you today.
If you ran into problems with this technique, maybe this is the solution for you. 🙂

We are going to start out with measuring and cutting our fabric.

Cut two rectangles from your fabric. Follow the formula below to find the width.

First measure where you want the band to sit.
Times that measurement by 1.5. Then divide that number by 2.
Example: my hips are 38″. 38″ x 1.5 = 57. 57/2 = 28.5″.

28.5″ is my width of the two rectangles.

The length depends on how long you want the skirt.
Measure from your waist down to where you want the skirt to hit and then add 2 inches.
I wanted my skirt to hit past my knees. For me that measures 22”.
I added 2″ to make 24″ the length of cut.

24″ is my length of the two rectangles.

Fabric is 42″ wide so we will need 1 1/4 yards of fabric.
How did I figure this out? 24″(length) x 2 = 48″. Fabric is only 42″ so there would not be enough in one yard. 48″ = 1 1/4 yards of fabric which gives us enough. The width of the fabric (42″) gives us plenty to cover 28.5″ in length.

So let’s get cutting! 🙂

Cut two rectangles in your measurements.

(I wanted a lining, but it was difficult to work with in the shirring.
I’d skip it unless someone has any suggestions.)

Sew your two rectangles, right sides together along the length of your skirt.

Next, serge or zig-zag the edge of the top of your skirt.

Fold this over to make a casing for your elastic.
Since we are using a 1/4″ elastic, make a 1/2″ casing.
Leave an opening so we can insert the elastic later.

Now we are ready for shirring! 🙂

Now if you have a drop case bobbin follow Cherie’s tutorial on shirring. (Click the link)

Mine is a little different.

Most tutorials say to wind the bobbin by hand. I tried it on the machine and the shirring worked.
My machine didn’t really like doing that though so I tried it by hand, and I did stretch it onto the bobbin.

Keep your tension and stitch width at normal.
Always back stitch at the beginning and end of your lines.

Try out your shirring on a scrap piece of fabric.
Sew onto the fabric with the right side up.

You should see your fabric gathering on the first row.
It won’t gather as much as the other rows, but it should definitely be noticeable.

This picture below shows what it should look like.
I kept waiting for the fabric to start gathering. On the 4th row, I quit and unstitched it.

As you sew, you need to keep the fabric taut.
I put pressure on my fabric a few inches away from the needle
and let the feed dogs pull the fabric under the needle.

Start sewing 1/4″ away from your first seam and continue in a downward spiral.

Watch your thread level.
If you are close to running out, back stitch where you are and rethread your bobbin.
Back stitch when you begin again.

I shirred 10 rows for this skirt.

When you are finished with the shirring, hem the bottom of your skirt and press.
I folded my hem 1/4″ under and then 1/4″ again.
This tucks the raw edge of the fabric in the hem.

Measure your 1/4″ elastic around your waist and cut.
Thread your elastic through the casing we made earlier.

Sew the edges with a zig-zag stitch.

Tuck the elastic into the casing and finish sewing the edge of the casing.

You’re all finished!

Shirred Skirt - {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Shirred Skirt - {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Shirred Skirt - {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

I love this technique so much!
You can make this skirt in under an hour and everyone will be asking where you got your cute skirt. 🙂

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  1. Cherie
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Having a lining in a skirt is awesome. But it could really get tricky shirring through two layers. I would decide first how many inches you want the shirring band to be and sew the fabric for the liner below that point. That way the shirring band will only be one layer and the lining will start below it.

    • Shirley
      Posted September 26, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      Cherie – yeah it didn’t work. 🙂 How much fabric would you do under the shirring and would you gather it first? That’s where my confusion came in.

  2. Valerie Balmforth
    Posted September 27, 2011 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Hi Shirley,
    Cute skirt! Would the same concept work if you make the skirt an aline instead of a rectangle? Just wondering..

    • Shirley
      Posted September 27, 2011 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      Hi Valerie! I haven’t tried it, but I would assume so!

  3. Posted April 3, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Any idea if this would work well with a knit?

  4. Sue
    Posted August 31, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Can you tell me what kind of needle you used to sew the elastic thread? It must have been a big one!

    Thank you~!

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted August 31, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Hi Sue, I used a regular needle. The elastic thread goes in the bobbin while you use regular thread through your needle in the machine. I hope this answers your question! – Shirley 🙂

  5. Amy
    Posted June 21, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Christine – I know this is a late response, but I just made a similar shirred skirt for my daughter out of a knit T-shirt and it worked just fine. I tried standard and ballpoint needles and the regular point needle worked better for me with shirring.

  6. Ceara
    Posted October 7, 2014 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    For a lining: don’t stitch down the casing for the elastic yet. Do the shiring on the skirt without the lining in. Use the raw edge of the casing to attach the lining to, then create the elastic casing. If you wish the lower hem of the lining to be stiched in as well, do the hem after the shiring as well, folding the skirt hem up over the lower edge of the lining before stitching it down.

    • Ceara
      Posted October 8, 2014 at 12:15 am | Permalink

      You may need to taper the lining where the shiring is. This could mean having to gather the skirt onto the lining. Or maybe creating gathers in the lining instead. If I had time to, I would figure it out and post it, but my kids and job don’t give me much time to pursue sewing as a hobby anymore.

      • The Ribbon Retreat
        Posted October 8, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        Hi Ceara! Thank you so so much for your sewing tips on this fun skirt! We always appreciate our readers sharing their amazing knowledge and talent with us! Thank you again and have a wonderful day! Michelle 🙂

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