How to Sew a Shirred Top - Simple Step-by-Step Tutorial

by StarDede
8 Materials
3 Hours

If you’re not sure what to make for your next DIY sewing project, then try this tutorial on how to sew a shirred top! I saw this gorgeous shirred top with long puff sleeves and ruffled hems on Pinterest and fell in love - I knew I had to make it.

Follow me as I show you how to make a shirred top and see how beautiful the result is. Let’s get to it.

Tools and materials:

  • Fabric
  • Thread
  • Elastic thread
  • Elastic
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Ruler 
  • Pins
Measurements needed for the shirred top

1. Take your measurements

These are the measurements you need.

Drawing the pattern for the top

2. Trace the pattern

To create the shirred top pattern from scratch, watch the video from 1:05 to see all the steps. I demonstrated on paper, so it's easy to see how to connect the measurements.

Finishing the fabric

2. Finish the fabric

Before you start shirring, finish both the top and bottom pieces by folding the raw edges over by ½ an inch and sewing down.

Winding a bobbin with elastic thread

3. How to sew a shirred top

Hand wind a bobbin with elastic thread. Be careful not to wind it too tight, so the elastic doesn't stretch.

How to sew a shirred top

Start shirring one inch from the hem, creating lines of elastic stitching at one-inch intervals all the way down the top, until 1-1.5 inches from the bottom.

Shirring on the top's bodice

This is what it should look like. How beautiful? This shirred top is starting to look great. 

Folding and pinning the sleeve edges

4. Make the sleeves

Finish the raw edges with a zigzag stitch, then hem the sleeves the same way you did for the bodice pieces. Do the same for both ends of the sleeve fabric. 

Measuring an inch from the sleeve edge

Now, measure down from the top part of the sleeve by about an inch and draw a line across. 

Cutting fabric for the elastic tunnels

Cut a few strips that will make up the tunnel for the elastic. My elastic was ½ inch, so I cut the strips a little bigger than that. 

Pinning strips of fabric to the top sleeves

Draw a line 2 inches from the bottom of the sleeve and pin a strip, as shown. Sew down.

Tunnels for the elastic sleeve elastic

This is how it should look after. 

Measuring the sleeve elastic

Measure the elastic to your wrist area and your top arm circumference. Cut the pieces.

Inserting the elastic into the fabric tunnels

Insert the relevant elastics into their casings. 

Pinning the shirred top and sleeves together

5. Assemble the shirred top

Now, align the armholes of the top and sleeve together, right sides facing in, and pin. Sew down.

Pinning the side seams of the shirred top

Now, pin the side seams of the shirred top and sleeves.

How to sew a shirred top together

As you sew the side seams, be sure to go slowly over the elastic casings. 

How to sew a shirred top tutorial

How to sew a shirred top tutorial

There we go, all done and ready to wear! This shirred top is definitely love at first sight for me. I really love it, and I think it goes great with jeans or even a lovely skirt. Let me know what you think of this tutorial in the comments below. Happy shirring! 

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric
  • Thread
  • Elastic thread
See all materials

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 1 comment
  • Lalee Lalee on Aug 31, 2021

    Awww so sweet and must be proud to have such a talent..