How to Sew a Shirred Skirt

Learning how to sew a shirred skirt is easier than you may think. Shirring is one of those sewing techniques that looks like its terribly complicated, but is actually very straightforward. Shirring is a pretty handy skill to have. You can use it in so many ways; blouses, dresses, skirts and tops can all be enhanced with a little bit of shirring. A great way to start mastering the technique of shirring is with a simple shirred skirt. You don't even need a pattern!


  • Cotton or poly-cotton blend fabric
  • Thread to match your fabric
  • Scissors
  • Shirring elastic
  • Bobbin
  • Sewing Machine   

First, you need to take your measurements, to determine how large to cut your piece of fabric. Begin by measuring around your waist. Typically, the waist measurement is the smallest part of the waist; however, in this case you should measure where you would like the skirt to sit, which may be the proper waist, or a bit lower. Take this measurement and double it, and then add about four to five inches. It's better to err on the side of too much fabric than not enough.

Next, measure the length you would like the skirt to be, then add two inches or so to that measurement. For example, if your waist measurement in 28 inches, and you'd like your skirt to be 24 inches long, your fabric measurements will be 60" x 26".

Fold the top and bottom of the fabric up half an inch, then another half an inch and press. Pin the hems in place, and stitch on your sewing machine. Alternatively, you can use a serger in place of the top hem. You might also choose to try using an invisible hem for the bottom.

To begin making your shirred waist, you first need to prepare your machine. Wind a spare bobbin with shirring elastic, stretching it out just a bit as you wind it. Insert the bobbin into your machine. Feed the top edge of your fabric into the machine, with the right side of the fabric facing up. Sew your first line of shirring. To begin the second row of shirring, line the fabric up so that your first stitched row lines up with the edge of your presser foot. Use this as a guide as you stitch your next row. Continue sewing rows of shirring until your waistband is the desired width.

Now it's time to sew the back seam of the skirt. It's a good idea to wrap the skirt around your waist to check the fit before you sew the back seam. Determine a comfortable width, and then pin the back seam in place, right sides facing in. Sew the back seam. It's a good idea to reinforce the stitches at the shirring. If necessary, serge the seam allowance. Your first shirred skirt is finished!

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