Gather Around the Sewing Machine

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Gathering, a very basic and useful sewing skill. You'll find it's a step in many beautiful patterns. Let me show you a few different ways to gather your fabric. I don't particularly have a favorite and I go back and forth depending on my needs butcheck these out and let us know which way you prefer!

 Basic One Row BastingStitch

This method is a quicker version of the more traditional way of gathering your fabric, and is done on your sewing machine.It’s also a walk on the dangerous side, that onerow of stitches can pop if you’re not careful when adjusting your gathers and then you’re stuck starting from the beginning.

  1. Increase the stitch length on your sewing machine to the highest setting, on mine is 5.  When I have a lot of fabric to gather, I also like to increase the tension to the highest setting on my machine. By doing this the fabric comes off your machine already gathered, all you have to do is adjust it.

  2. Use a different color thread in the bobbin, this is optional but certainly helpful.
  3. Sew a straight stitch ¼” away from the edge of the fabric.
  4. After you’ve sewn your straight stitch, make sure to pull some excess thread so that you can work with it easier when making your gathers. 

  5. To create your gathers, hold onto the bobbin thread. Pull the thread gently to make the gathers.

Traditional Two Row Basting Stitch

Like the one row basting stitch you will use your sewing machine. This one is exactly as it says, two rows of basting stitches. If going this route, you’ll do steps 1-3 of the one row basting method and continue with the following steps:

  1. When you reach the end of your first straight stitch, you’ll want to leave your needle down and lift your presser foot.

  2. Turn your fabric so that you are now sewing perpendicular to the first line. Sew 2-3 stitches. 

  3. Leave your needle down and lift your presser foot again. Turn your fabric once more so that you can now stitch a line that is parallel to the first line. 

  4. You will sew a straight stitch all the way back down to the other end. By doing this you close one of the ends with your stitches making sure that you don’t pull the threads out completely when you’re gathering your fabric. 

  5. Continue with steps 4 & 5 of the One Row Basting Stitch method.

Gathering With a Serger

Gathering with a serger is a much quicker way to gather large pieces of fabric. It’s definitely a method that you have to try a few times to master. But once you’ve figured out the settingsthat work for you, it’s surely a method you’ll use over and over! The following are instructions gorgathering on a Brother 1034D Serger.

  1.  Your needles and loopers should be set to the following settings. LN: 9, RN: 7, L1: 4, L2: 4

  2. Set your differential feed to 2. To play with the tightness of the gathers you’ll want to lower your differential feed. 

  3. Before you start you’ll want to make sure you have a serger tail that’s about 5”.

  4. Serge away!
  5. Don’t trim the serger tail very close, this one should be 5-10”, depending on how much you’ll need to adjust the gathers. 
  6. Adjust your gathers!

Now that we’ve gone through those three methods, tell us! What’s your favorite way to gather fabric?!

      1 comment

      • Liz S: October 24, 2019

        I have never tried to gather on my server – thanks for the info! I will give it a try.

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