DIY Home

Sewing Tutorial: Make a Shirred Pillow

October 25, 2016

An easy-sew project, made more fabulous with Dritz® iron-on shirring tape.

Pillows are a really perfect way to easily update your home for the changing seasons. This shirred pillow sewing project made with cozy plaid fabric immediately says “fall is here.” Its soft gathers are perfectly achieved using Dritz® iron-on shirring tape. This blog post shows you how simple it is to use the shirring tape, but be warned: you’re going to want to make lots of pillows, skirting, curtains and more!

Sewing Tutorial: Make a Shirred Pillow

Dritz® supplies:

Omnigrid® supplies:

Other supplies:

  • 3/8 yd of 52” wide home decor fabric
  • 13” x 17” pillow form
  • Iron

Fabric prep:

Cut home decor fabric using rotary cutter, mat and ruler (these tools really do make cutting so much easier!):

  • 1 pc: 13” x 25” for shirred panel (piece A)
  • 2 pc: 13” x 2.5” for front panels (piece B)
  • 1 pc: 13” x 14” for back panel (piece C)
  • 1 pc: 13” x 8” for back panel (piece D)

Other notes:

Finished pillow is 13” x 17”

SA = seam allowance

Dritz Iron-On Shirring Tape Before starting, you might be wondering, what is iron-on shirring tape? Good question!

It’s a woven tape with rows of cord running through it. After you iron it on, you pull the cords to create the pleats or gathers in your fabric. Now let’s get sewing!

Dritz Ezy-Hem Hem Gauge 1) On piece C, hem right 13” side of back panel by folding ½” of raw edge over the Ezy-Hem® gauge and pressing. Starch is helpful.

Pin Fabric in Place using Dritz Easy Grasp Pins 2) Fold the same edge over again ½”. Press and pin in place.

Repeat on left 13” side back panel D.

Tip: The Dritz® Easy Grasp pins shown have elongated heads – they’re easy to grip and perfect for so many sewing projects!

Sewing along the Edge of Fabric 3) Edgestitch along the top edge of hem on each back panel. Set aside.

Ironing Dritz Iron-On Shirring Tape in Place on Fabric 4) Cut a piece of shirring tape 28” long.  On wrong side of piece A, center shirring tape along 25” length. Ends of tape will hang 1 ½” over the edge of the fabric. Fuse to panel following package directions.

Be sure not to press the ends of the tape onto your ironing board. 

How to Apply Dritz Iron-On Shirring Tape 5) Pull the strings out of tape at the edges of the fabric. Trim excess tape even with fabric.

Knot cords on one end of the tape.

How to Apply Dritz Iron-On Shirring Tape 6) Lightly steam tape and pull strings to gather fabric.  Pull until shirred panel is 13” x 13”. Evenly distribute the gathers. Steaming tape will let you position gathers as desired.

Knot cord ends and cut cord tails.

Dritz Easy Grasp Pins Great for Sewing Projects 7) Pin the B panel pieces to each 13” side of the shirred panel and stitch with a ¼” SA.

Edgestitch Sewing Along Edges of Fabric 8) Press seams towards panel B. Edgestitch along the seams.

Making Pocket on the Back of a Pillow 9) To make the envelope pocket on the back, place the back panels on cutting mat, right sides up. Position panels so they overlap by 2.5” and the entire back panel is 17” wide.

Pin and baste the panels together with a ⅛” SA.

(This picture shows finished back.)

Using Dritz Iron-On Shirring Tape to Make an Easy-Sew Pillow 10) Align side edges of front and back panels, right sides together. Pin along edges. Pin front edge to back edge, taking time to even out the gathers.

Or, stitch a long gathering stitch along both top and bottom edges of front panel. Pull threads to gather edges so they are even with back panel edges.

Stitch all sides with a ½” SA. Backstitch at the beginning and end.

Finishing a Pillow Made with Dritz Iron-On Shirring Tape 11) Clip corners and turn right sides out. Gently poke out corners.

Insert pillow form and adjust shirring as needed.

Easy-Sew Pillow using Dritz Iron-On Shirring Tape You like? We are really pleased with the finished look of the pillow, but wait…

Easy-Sew Pillow using Dritz Iron-On Shirring Tape (sewing project tutorial) Give it a home alongside other pillows and you’ve instantly updated your space!

Play with textures, color, and pillow shape to create a focal point on a couch, chair or bed.

Leave a comment below and tell us what you think about the shirring tape, and how you’d use it … pillows? Skirting? Curtains?

Thanks to Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane for making this lovely pillow for us. Jennifer has contributed many popular projects to our blog – you’ll have a hard time picking out a favorite!