Friday, October 31, 2014

How to shirr on a Babylock Melody sewing machine

Shirring on my Babylock Melody sewing machine.

I recently tested a great pattern that I will share when I get permission.
I said I would do the testing not knowing that there was any shirring involved.
(This post is much more delayed than I ever thought possible, and the shirring project I learned this all on is posted here: whoops!) 
During my research on how I was to shirr and whatnot, I came across many posts that said
it is just not possible on Babylocks (as well as Brother) machines. ACK. I thought I was done then!

But I wasn't. I kept looking and I posted on a Facebook Forum my question.
If anyone in the group has a Babylock and asked if they are able to shirr.
A few people replied and that was my first step to realizing I could do it!

A few people said to go get an extra bobbin for shirring, but I decided I will try mine first before I purchase another bobbin. I didn't adjust ANYTHING on my existing bobbin

What you need:
*elastic thread( I read the Dritz brand isn't a favorite)
*regular thread(matching your fabric)
*sewing machine
*empty bobbin (or 2 or 3, depending on your project)
 *fabric(in this case cotton)
*washi tape(optional)

To start, you can either hand wind your bobbin with the elastic thread pulling a little taught.
Just not too tight or too loose. (This is where I couldn't seem to get it right)
 OR, You let your machine wind the bobbin (hallelujah!!!)

I found it to be the best if I put the elastic thread on the thread holder and let the thread roll over my fingers. You follow the numbers as you would thread a normal bobbin. I just didn't put it into the tension gauge. (you want to make sure you don't let the elastic go underneath the bobbin(could potentially cause a problem or two).

Then, you take your wound bobbin and I found it easiest to take off the coverplate of the bobbin area to MAKE SURE YOU GET THE ELASTIC INTO THE TENSION AREA!!!!(I only bold this because this is where I spent A LONG time trying to figure out how to get it to work on my machine!)

^^^Make sure you pull the thread thru the slit along the bobbin and out a few inches.
Turn the knob towards you while holding the top thread tight. The elastic should come up as you turn the wheel towards you. Once you see the elastic come up, get tweezers or thread cutter and then catch the elastic thread. This may take a few tries and patience. You may have to help it unwind a little off the bobbin to get it going. Then just pull 3-4 inches out behind.

Don't Do the following picture!! (auto cut)

Then you can put the cover back on and thread like normal.
 I didn't have a need to change my auto- settings (babylock melody)

Get your fabric (that has the line you will follow marked) , and place it right side up.
 The elastic should slightly gather and be straight on the backside. If it is at all wavy, loose it won't work. If it looks loose, check to see that the elastic thread is tight in the bobbin. Don't auto cut. Always pull the threads out and snip when not taught, as you don't want the elastic to get lost in the bobbin area. Pull the threads out and start over.

To start, I went 2-3 stitches and then reversed 2-3 stitches and kept the end of the row, backstitch again a few and go forward. You will want to pull out the fabric and trim the threads. Don't use the Auto-cut option if you have it!! Time to begin on the next row. The thing to note here is that you will want to make sure you have enough elastic to finish an entire row! (ripping this out is a pain, ask me how I know :/ )

Keep going for as many rows as you need. It definitely bunches up with 3+ rows! For the dress I was working on here, I only needed 2 rows on this sleeve. Use your foot as a guide to keep the rows even.
Before ironing:

 (Sorry for the bad lighting!)

Keep going for as many rows as you need. It definitely bunches up with 3+ rows! For the dress I was working on here, I only needed 2 rows on this sleeve. 

When you are finished, take an iron and PRESS (do not move across) your newly shirred fabric. You may add steam to get it to bunch more if you need. I have included a before and after picture to show HOW MUCH IRONING YOUR SHIRRED FABRIC WILL HELP!! It makes a HUGE HUGE difference!

After Ironing:
If you have questions, email me or post in the comments and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Thank you for looking, and I hope I was able to help someone! 

Have a good day!

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