Stitch Selection Savvy: How to Add Elastic Shirring to a Flat Waistband

Greetings sewers!
As promised, here is the explanation of how I added the elastic shirred back waist band

This photo shows the waist band from the inside of the garment.
Notice the front waist band (top of photo) is flat
and the back waist band (bottom of photo) is elasticized.
The pattern is drafted for a flat waist band all the way around,
and it instructs to cut two front and two back pieces.
That way you have a front and back waistband piece and a front and back facing piece.
To allow for the elasticized gathering,  I cut the back waist band and facing pieces
one size larger than the rest of my blouse.
On the back facing piece, I drew three horizontal lines (with iron-off marker)
to help me properly position the elastic.

I assembled the blouse waistband as instructed,
except that I did not completely close up the side seams.
By leaving the side seams open, I was able to bury the ends of the elastic in the seam
so I don’t have raw elastic edges showing on the facing side of my back waistband.
When I finished attaching the elastic with a narrow zig zag stitch,
I hand stitched the side seams closed.
There ya’ go.
An elasticized back waistband using a flat waistband pattern.
If you have a tried and true method for accomplishing similar results,
I would love for you to share your method.
Please leave your instructions in the comment section.
Thanks so much, and have a most lovely sewing week.

Stitch Selection Savvy – Basting Stitch Gathering

The ‘bubble’ on my granddaughter’s Bubble Skirt
was accomplished by gathering one larger fabric panel to a smaller fabric panel.

Gathering is a basic sewing technique that most of us learn early in our sewing journey.
There is, however, more than one way to gather.
The most common method is to stitch one row, or two parallel rows,
of a basting stitch without securing the ends of the row(s).
In this sample, I used just one row of basting.

Basting stitch runs along the bottom of this sample
Knot one end of the basting row.

Pull the bobbin thread from the unknotted end and you can manually gather the row of stitching.
Of course, you will have to adjust the gathers so they are evenly spaced.

That’s the tried and true, basic method to gather fabric, but let’s move on to other options.
This is a gathering foot.
The basting stitch is still the stitch of choice when using this presser foot.

So why, you ask, bother with a special foot such as this?
The difference is that the fabric gathers while you are stitching on your machine.
The amount of gather is dependent on the fabric,
whether or not you stitch with the grain line, or across the grain,
and on the length of your stitch.
The longer your stitch length, the more gathers you achieve.
The gathers are again manually adjusted so they are even.
This sample row was started with a basting stitch length of (6 mm) which I then shortened to 3 mm.
Notice there is more gathering at the start where I used 6mm length and less gathering with the 3 mm length.
Using a basting stitch to gather fabric is not limited to the sewing machine.
One final option that I would like to share
is how I achieved the gathering on the aforementioned bubble skirt.


This one was accomplished using my serger.
It is the same technique as when using the gathering foot for the sewing machine,
but simply use your standard serger presser foot,
increase the differential feed setting,
and increase the stitch length (again, the longer the stitch the more the gathers).
When you’re done serging, you can still manually adjust the amount
of gathering by pulling on the needle threads only.

If you have other methods of using the basting stitch to gather,
please share them in the comment section.
I love learning new techniques.

Happy sewing, my friends.


Stitch Selection Savvy – The Triple Straight Stitch

This is the topstitching on my Herringbone Jacket
I want to share with you all, how to achieve a perfect topstitch without purchasing special thread.
The triple straight stitch is used for reinforced seams, and it is also perfect for topstitching.
Ordinarily topstitching is accomplished by using a straight stitch and a heavy weight topstitch thread.
But the same, if not better, results can be achieved by using regular weight (40w)
multi-purpose thread in conjunction with the triple straight stitch,
which is standard on many of today’s sewing machines.
The stitch icon looks like stitch number 31 on this sewing machine:

Your sewing machine will take one stitch forward,
one stitch back over that same stitch,
and again one stitch forward over the previous two stitches.
Three stitches in all, but the end result is one straight stitch.
Thus the name – triple straight stitch.
This is the same number of layers of fabric and the same thread,
but topstitched with a regular straight stitch.
See the difference?
I use my number 10C presser foot when I topstitch.
It is called an edgestitch foot.
As you can see from the bottom of the presser foot,
it has a metal guide running through the middle of the foot.
Simply position that guide along the edge of your fabric,
set the needle either to the left or the right of the guide, and stitch.
The result is a perfectly placed, even line of stitching.
The next time you want to add topstitching to your project, give the triple straight stitch a try.
Use your regular presser foot if you don’t happen to have the edgestitch foot.
It works just as well, but you will have to be more attentive to keeping your stitch line
an exact distance from the edge of your fabric throughout the length of topstitching.
Happy stitching, my friends!