Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sewing Bee #2: The Easiest Way to Gather Fabric

IMG_0716  I have a love/hate relationship with gathering fabric. I have to do almost all the time—whether it is for ruffles, skirts, sleeves, you name it. I didn’t  like struggling with the thread, afraid it was about to break and undo all my work—especially on a big project like a very full skirt on a dress. And I wasn’t pleased with how it looked when I used a needle and thread by hand to place the gathering stitches in.
   A few years ago a dear old neighbor lady of mine showed me the easiest and most reliable way to gather fabric. There is no fear of the thread breaking, and you can gather monumental amounts of fabric at once and it won’t go anywhere. I used this technique when I made the skirt of my wedding dress. My wedding dress used nearly 30 yards of material, mostly in the skirt!  It turned out lovely, though about half-way through the process of making it, I began to wonder what I was thinking when I designed it.
I hope this helps you as much as it helped me and makes your fabric gathering a more pleasant experience :)
A) Tie a long piece of embroidery thread or crochet thread around a long straight pin and pin a little ahead of where you want to begin gathering. This is your gathering thread.
B) Place the fabric with the gathering thread centered under the presser foot of your machine.
C & D) Set your machine on the zigzag setting. I set my stitch length to about 1.4, but use whatever works best for you. Zigzag over the gathering thread, making sure to keep it in the center of the stitches. In other words, make sure you do not sew through the gathering thread.
E & F) When you have zigzagged the entire length of what needs to be gathered, simply pull the gathering thread and proceed as usual for gathering. (Make sure that the gathering thread knot doesn’t slip off the straight pin.) Once you have your fabric pinned in place (for example, a skirt gathered to a waistband) you can take out the original straight pin with the knot on it.

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Here are a few ideas for posts for our sewing bee:
  • Tutorials: these can be for anything from how to put in a zipper to how to make your own pattern. These can be for clothing and accessories, for things for your home (curtains, tablecloths, bedspreads, throw pillows) or how to fix and repair things.
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  • Book Reviews: There are scores of sewing books out there and it is always nice to read a review about one from a lady who has used it.
  • Favorite Patterns
  • Also, if you know of a great tutorial online, share the link here
  • In short, anything you’d like to share!
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  1. That is a clever idea! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks for stopping by ;) and you're welcome!

  2. I had forgotten...I used to do this when I sewed :) You are a real gem to do these instructional posts! What a blessing for the early and intermediate sewer. Thanks for linking-up!

  3. It can be done even more easily, with crochet threadd and a cording foot. (I learnt that a few months ago at Hayes Sewing Machine Co.in Wilmington and have applied it frequently!