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Shirring, Ruching and Gathering

Shirring, ruching and gathering are things done to fabric to add texture, fullness, shape and design elements.

Example of shirring
Photo by Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images

Ruche means a pleated, fluted, or gathered strip of fabric used for trimming.

Shirring is formed by multiple rows of gathers and is a way to create controlled
fullness, like at a waistline, cuffs or a bodice yoke. It’s often accented with decorative stitching or smocking and stabilized so the multiple thread rows aren't stressed.

Gathering is drawing up fullness into a predetermined size smaller area.

Angela Wolf shows how to ruche a shirt here.

Patternmaking books are filled with illustrations and information to teach you how to add these types of design elements to your own or existing patterns.