Having trouble shirring with a drop in bobbin? Seems like there are many who are. I've been getting lots of questions about how I fixed my problems, so I thought it was about time for a dedicated post about shirring with a drop in bobbin.
First of all you need to read my original post about all the problems I had with my first shirring experience. Also, for your information, I have a Brother sewing machine.
At the time of that post I didn't quite know how to technically explain what was wrong. At first I threaded the bobbin like normal. I did not manually pull up the bobbin thread. When I started sewing, the machine was not able to pull the elastic thread up correctly. It didn't catch in the tension guides at the front, so it just fed it through without any tension at all. (See WRONG picture. It goes straight from the bobbin up through to the needle without catching on anything.) Hence all the mess on the back and no gathers.
After I figured this out, I manually brought up the bobbin thread which takes a little extra effort. Just hold onto the top needle thread while turning the hand wheel, and the bobbin thread will be drawn up. This time it caught in the tension guides. (See RIGHT picture. You can see that the elastic catches at the front and goes over the top of the bobbin and up through to the needle.) Now it had all the tension it needed to get the job done.
Ever since, my shirring has been a breeze. I use a stitch length of 4.0 and set my tension for about 5 1/2. Also, make sure when hand winding your bobbin that you are not stretching your thread.