I've tried high tension. I've tried low tension. I've tried various stitch lengths. I've tried winding the bobbin manually. I've tried winding the bobbin on the machine. I've tried threading the bobbin by hand. Somehow nothing worked; even though I've successfully shirred in the ancient past on my mother's less sophisticated, but much better quality, vintage Singer machine.
So after giving my Brother sewing machine many, many chances to shirr properly of its own accord, I eventually gave in and took Amber's advice at Creative Heart and adjusted the bobbin tension. I broke out the tiny screwdriver and chipped away the protective paint that Brother (suspiciously) feels is necessary on the bobbin tension screw. And two turns of the screw later...
Voila! A properly shirred piece of fabric!
|Yea! The Brother machine finally shirred!|
The deciding factor, other than the fact that nothing else was working, was when I discovered that despite manually threading and ensuring that the bobbin was threaded properly, the elastic thread still slipped in and out of the bobbin with no tension whatsoever. (Actually, now that I've discovered this low bobbin tension problem I think it may solve the occasional problems I have with appliquéing and embroidery... and it may also be the key to fixing up my old, cheap, "broken" Walmart Brother machine so that the kids have a machine too!)
So what did I do with my newfound shirring prowess? Make a properly shirred Mendocino sundress (that didn't necessitate straps like my previous poorly shirred versions), of course. And what goes great with a new summery dress? A cheesy, yet absolutely adorable, matchey-matchy baby sundress, naturally.
The baby sundress is a slightly larger, dressed up version of Made By Rae's Itty Bitty Sundress. I constructed mine a little differently so that there would only be one exposed seam where the bodice connects to the skirt.
And added an ever so girly ruffle in the matchey-matchy fabric :)
(If anyone wants more details on how I constructed this version, leave me a comment or send me an email.)
It's one of the few dresses that baby has that fits her well because I drafted the pattern by tracing around a top that fit her perfectly. Ahh... my long and skinny children. I have yet to birth a child that fits baby/toddler clothes both in length and girth.
And here we are together! Enjoying each other and the festivities at our local Canada Day parade.
Something about the fabric, the designs, or the coordination of the outfits reminds me of Hawaii when I look at this pic. Maybe I've got to get some coordinating Hawaiian prints and get the whole family corn-dogged out in a Sound of Music-esque family picture? Hmm...