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July 2018

September 2020

A skirt in under an hour

No pattern required.

Shirred skirt 2

While my big roll of shirring elastic was lying around my sewing room catching my eye I got the idea to make a gathered skirt.

Shirring elastic

I grabbed this cute check fabric and cut the desired length, plus about 7 inches.  Then with right sides together I joined the two selvedge edges.  No need to overlock any raw seams which is always a good thing. Press the seam open.

Shirred skirt 3

For the waist I pressed a seam of a quarter inch, then I turned the fabric over again by about 2.5 inches. Press again.

Shirred skirt 4

I loaded shirring elastic into my machine's bobbin and started sewing from the top.  The first round was about a quarter inch from the top.  When I had completed a round I just lifted my machine foot and moved down the waistband by a quarter inch.  

Shirred skirt 5

The lovely thing about shirring elastic is the more you use, the more it gathers.  After the first round or two you start to wonder if it will gather enough.  A few more rounds and you start to get there.  I ended up sneaking in a few more rounds in between my initial ones so the stitching is all a bit awry.

Shirred skirt 6

I added some patch pockets and hemmed the skirt with a generous turn-up.  Then I googled how to make a tassel.  Here's a cute set of instructions.  I put a knot in the tassel tie, close to the top of the tassel.  Then I tucked  the tassel tie into the binding and stitched it closed at the end.  The knot will ensure it stays in place.

Shirred skirt 1

This fabric has quite a bit of body to it.  A softer, lighter fabric would require less shirring.  A Liberty one might be next.


Freddie Shortalls

My newest pattern is now available - the Freddie Shortalls.  

Freddie Shortalls 5

I think this is my favourite of the Townmouse patterns for little boys.

The shortalls are very simple to sew and look cute on their own, or layered over a shirt or tee.

Freddie Shortalls 6

These two little boys of mine are now teenagers - both over six foot tall.  Yikes.

Freddie Shortalls 9

This pattern uses shirring elastic to provide gentle gathering at the back waist.  If you haven't sewn with shirring elastic, my pattern links to this video which is a useful guide to getting the elastic to behave for you.


During the testing of the pattern, one of my testers used an alternative to the shirring elastic which I thought was genius and works just as well. This clever seamstress didn't have shirring elastic on hand so stitched a channel for regular quarter inch elastic instead.


To make the shortalls this way you will need regular quarter inch elastic.


Simply stitch two parallel lines slightly wider than the width of the elastic, parallel to the top of the shortalls according to pattern markings, catching the facing.  


Attach one end of the elastic to a safety pin and thread the elastic through the channel, between the shortalls and facing.  Remove the safety pin and stitch the channel closed at this end, securing the elastic in place.

Now you can gently pull the elastic until the shortalls have gathered to the desired amount.  Then stitch the elastic in place at the other end of the channel.  Cut off the excess elastic.

Freddie Shortalls Hybner 5