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Gathering 101


Dana's Disclaimer <grin>:
I'm sure there is more than one way to gather fabric.  I am pretty much a self-taught seamstress so if anyone knows any better/easier ways to gather, please drop me an email!

Okay, so here goes!  If you have any questions, please holler.

Set your stitch length to 5.0 or a long stitch.  Leave thread tails at each end.


 Sew two stitching lines, the first being 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the raw edge and the second being 3/4 inch from the raw edge
(roughly--you don't want these stitching lines to interfere with the 5/8 inch seam you will sew to finish this off).


I like to tie a knot in the top threads, it gives me something to hold on to when I'm pulling the threads to gather.  [Note:  on most
machines, the bobbin thread --the bottom thread -- is easier to pull but on my machine to top thread pulls easier so find which is easier and use that.] 


 I like to mark the center of the fabric with a pin.  This helps with centering when it's time to attach the skirt to the bodice.


While holding the knot in one hand, gently pull the fabric along the threads toward the center...

Continue working your way toward the center.  Pull a little, then gently work the gather toward the center.  Take your

Still working my way toward the center, a few inches at a time.  Gently--you don't want to break these gathering threads!

See that nicely gathered skirt!  Notice my skirt is gathered to be a bit smaller than my bodice.   That's because it 'stretches' out when you do the next step.



Remember that pin marking the center?  Use it to line up the center of the bodice and the center of the skirt.  Pin.  


Here I have worked the first half toward the center and I'm going back to the beginning for more.   

Voila!  All gathered.  

Here is the finished gathered skirt pinned to the bodice (right sides together--remember?)  Don't be afraid to use too many pins--pins are your friend!   Now take it to your machine and sew away!   Sewing on the 5/8 inch sewing mark, carefully stitch along removing pins before you come to them.  I prefer to sew with the gathered side down--BUT if you are sewing knit to woven  hautona recommends sewing knit side down.


Here is the finished product!  Clip one end of the gathering threads and gently pull them out. 


A couple of notes:  when sewing this seam, you can sew it with a basting stitch, double check from the front that it looks right
and then sew again along the same line with your regular stitch.

Also, I prefer to go ahead and stitch two lines one atop the other for additional strength.  You can also top stitch to give a little more strength to your seam.