Hello, pirates! Today I wanted to talk to you about gathering and show you 4 of the easiest gathering methods that do not require investing in new gadgets or feet for your machines. All the methods I’m showing are applicable to both woven and knits.
Gathering with your serger
My favorite method of gathering is using my serger and its deferential feed. You will be switching your differential feed to the highest setting possible (in my case 2.0) and tightening the tension of your left needle. It is very important to test your new settings on a piece of fabric that is the same as the fabric you intend to gather. You will be able to see if you need to loosen the needle tension, tighten it or fidget with the right needle too.
For more tips and details watch the video below.
Gathering with two rows of basting stitches
The most popular method of gathering, and the one most often used in our patterns (Judy’s favorite) is gathering with two parallel rows of stitching. This method uses your sewing machine.
Note: your first row of gathering stitches should be about 1/4″ away from the edge and your second one 5/8″ away.
Tip: For the basting stitches, use a different color thread than the fabric do you can remove it easily.
Gathering with elastic
The next gathering method I wanted to show you is one that uses elastic, clear elastic or knit elastic. Avoid using no roll elastic! Also, make sure to exercise (stretching it a few times) before cutting.
Start by measuring the opening of the bodice and cut a pieces of elastic that matches the opening. Don’t forget to add seam allowance.
Note: I used 1/4″ knit elastic. This method works beautifully with clear elastic.
Sew the elastic in a loop and mark its quarters. Follow the method as in the video below.
Gathering with yarn or floss
The last method I wanted to show you is commonly known as gathering with floss. You will simply sew a wide zig zag stitch over a floss or yarn and simply pull the ends to gather. Super easy!
Tip: if you’re using yarn, use thin yarn and preferably a color different than the fabric you’re gathering so you can easily pull it out.
There you have it, 4 easy gathering methods that will help you achieve beautiful, even gathers for your skirts and ruffles. No matter which method you use it’s important to hit the seam with a nice hot iron and steam (as much as your fabric type will handle), this will help if you accidentally stretched the bodice at all while attaching as well as set those gathers nicely. Now go sew a Boundless or a Sunshine dress and show off your new gathering skills.