Monday, April 4, 2011

Shirring - the beast that I have conquered!

I've been battling with shirring for days now, trying to get my settings right and the elastic adjusted just right to get the right results. Finally after hours and hours and yards and yards of wasted thread, I won!

Whimsy Couture was kind enough to let me test out her pattern for lacettes - a kind of fancy legwarmer.
When I volunteered to help test, I didn't expect shirring to be that big of a deal; just wind elastic into the bobbin and you're good to go. Turns out, Brother sewing machines are notorious for giving trouble when shirring. And my Brother SE400 was no different, she was not into shirring!

After winding the elastic (by hand) loose, then tight, long stich, then short stich (and everywhere in between),tight tension and loose tension (and everywhere in between); I finally, finally found my way.
Turns out, on my machine, I need to wind the elastic very tight, short stich, medium tension (around a 6ish). I also need to make very sure that the elastic catches in the tension bracket in the bobbin (which means hand threading the bobbin - what a pain in the ....)

But the results were worth it - Audrey now has warm legs for dance class and I'm that much closer to being a real sewer..

Whimsey Couture will have the pattern for sale on her esty site here very soon for those who are interested in making these cute legwarmers. They are very easy to make and a quick sew - providing your sewing machine will shirr! :)


  1. I too have spent a LONG time trying to figure out shirring on my Brother SE-400. Just used your specific instructions and it worked with a LONG stitch setting of 5mm (not short like your post mentions). THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!

  2. Oh GEE!!! I'm so glad to find some help. I'll try both old wal mart machine worked but my new brother wont do the job! YET....thanks for the tips.

  3. I am so relieved to see that I'm not the only one with this very problem! I have the SE-400 and spent the better part of my day fiddling around with it only to walk away thinking I've broken the stupid thing. Tomorrow I will try your settings and tricks, fingers crossed I'll conquer the beast too!

  4. I know this was posted a long time ago, but these settings are not working for me either. What am I missing? Bobbin is tightly wound and tension on 6, stitch length at 5. . .


I'd love to hear your comments or suggestions. Or just to say Hi!