Have you ever stumbled across a darling sewing pattern that calls for the use of elastic sewing thread? Does it have you stumped and roadblocked? What is it, why would you want to use it and how the heck would you go about it?
Elastic thread is just that. You wind a bobbin full of the stuff and use it wherever you want a pretty gather that you don’t want to do by hand. It’s the simplest possible way to create smocking or shirring.
Once you’ve got the process down pat, you’ll be all set to make darling little things like:
- This peasant dress we found at Children’s Fashion Workshop.
- These completely adorable baby bloomers from MarthaStewart.com.
- This adorable sundress from the Neophyte Crafting Site.
Using Elastic Sewing Thread
Wind the elastic thread onto your bobbin by hand. Don’t wind it under tension, in other words, don’t stretch it as you wind. Make the bobbin nice and full.
With your machine on a looser than normal tension and using a long straight stitch, play around with a piece of scrap fabric. Hear that? A scrap! Don’t start on your garment! Make sure the right side of the fabric is facing up, that will put your regular thread on the outside and your elastic thread on the inside. Run more than one line of stitches, the more lines of stitching, the more puckered it gets. Try three lines and then take a look. It’s likely that this is not as much puckering as you hoped for — fear not. Hit your sample with a steam iron and watch it pucker up!
Here’s the boxy before:
And here’s the smocked final product (or shirred or gathered or whatever you call it):
So, will you try it? Are you scared? Excited? Any questions?