Londa's Gathering Sewing Technique

Londa's Gathering Sewing Technique

 

This technique works anywhere you need to set gathers: a sleeve cap, a skirt, a sleeve into a cuff...

Here is my You-Tube Video also...

















Accomplishing nice looking gathers is NOT an EZ task - I remember a college professor saying that.  So, why so many were taught to make a gathered apron for a first sewing project is beyond me...  Anyway, here is how I do it.  Try it, you just might like it.  My Heirloom Bonnet Pattern is a good child's project to start using my technique!
I always work with the fabric WONG SIDE UP at the machine. 
I DON'T adjust tension at all.  Use a strong thread - like Metrosene Polyester.
I use a regular sized stitch most of the time - maybe up to a 3 stitch length at the most - unless very heavy fabric.  If you use too large of a stitch, your gathers will be clumpy and lay down like tucks instead of standing up like obedient little soldiers.
I make use of NEEDLE POSITION!!!  I love having infinite needle position on my machine.  If you are looking for a new machine, be sure to include this feature.  I teach people to be a "Guide Watcher" not a "Needle Watcher" if they want to sew straight.  By moving your needle, and feeding the fabric in at the same place - you can accomplish lots.  IF YOU DON'T HAVE NEEDLE POSITION capability on your machine, you just need to move the fabric first to the right about 1/8" so you are stitching 3/4" from the fabric edge.  Then, move fabric to the left so you are stitching 1/2" from the fabric edge.  This will make sense as you read on........
Here we go...
Set fabric edge at 5/8" seam guide at machine.  Move your needle a few notches to the left.  With stitch length at regular 2.0 or 2.5, stitch 1/4" forward, then backwards to secure.  THEN increase stitch length just a bit - see above and stitch to the end of your established area to gather.  Leave long threads at the end.  This stitching is then a bit further into the garment than where you will actually be joining it to the other piece at the end.  We'll easily pick it out later...
THEN, setting fabric back at the beginning where you did before, and still with edge at 5/8" seam guide, now move your needle a few notches to the right of center.  Repeat above.  This stitching is then a bit closer to the edge of the garment than where the end seam line will be.  
Having set 2 rows of gathering stitches, both anchored at one end, now you will pin this piece to the adjoining piece, right sides together at the left end.   Pin right end of your gathering to it's corresponding spot on the un-gathered fabric.  NOW, pull those top threads left dangling at the right edge up with your right hand so that these threads are the length of the fabric to which you are attaching it.  Figure 8 wind these threads around that pin at the right hand edge.  THEN, fingernail adjust the gathers along these threads so that they are all even. 
NOW, attach these two pieces, seaming with regular length stitching BETWEEN your 2 rows of stitching.  You will have wonderful, complete control over those gathers.  
ONLY JOB LEFT is to pick out the innermost row of gathering stitches that will be showing on the right hand side of the fabric.  Release the reinforcing stitches at the beginning, then pull the top thread on the inside that you had pulled before.  It will  pull right out.  Then, you'll find the bobbin thread on the right hand side of the fabric will just fall right off.

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