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The Secret to Gorgeous Gathers | Mabey She Made It #gatheringfabric #sewing #sewingtips

So you probably know that there’s an easy way and a right way to gather fabric. But did you know there’s a way to get gorgeous gathers every time that won’t shift or bunch when you’re setting in your sleeve or adding your gathered fabric to your project?

I learned this trick from my mom, who learned it from my grandma. My grandma was somewhat of a sewing legend in the small community where I grew up. Everyone knew she was the best seamstress around, and man, I wish I knew more of her sewing tips and tricks. I know I could have learned so much from her, but sewing now hurts her back so I missed that boat. But I love all the things I can learn as my Mom passes them down.

Back to the gathers now–the fast, easy method for gathering is to baste a single line of stitches with your tension cranked to the highest setting. This creates a gentle gather as the fabric goes through the machine, and cuts your work significantly. However, they aren’t necessarily very even.Gorgeous Gathers | Mabey She Made It #sewingtips #sewingtricks #gatheringfabric

So while a single line of gathers is the fastest and easiest method of gathering, the correct way to gather is to sew two rows of basting and pull the top (or bottom) threads of each row together to get your gathers. This gives you more stable gathers.

Gorgeous Gathers | Mabey She Made It #sewingtips #sewingtricks #gatheringfabric

The gathers are much more even, and you have the extra security of knowing that if one row of stitches breaks, you’ll still have a backup, which saves a lot of time. However, sometimes I still get my gathers shifting and moving as I put in the sleeve. 

Gorgeous Gathers | Mabey She Made It #sewingtips #sewingtricks #gatheringfabric

But if you want the most stable gathers–even when you’re sewing your gathered fabric to your project–try adding a third row of stitches. 

Gorgeous Gathers | Mabey She Made It #sewingtips #sewingtricks #gatheringfabric

Look at how even those gathers are! They’re pretty much perfect because the third row stabilizes everything. You know how when you have two points on a line, there’s wiggle room but when there are three points nothing moves? Same concept. Now when you sew in your sleeve, sew along the middle row, leaving the third row exposed. It will keep your gathers from shifting.

Gorgeous Gathers | Mabey She Made It #sewingtips #sewingtricks #gatheringfabric

Then everything’s set in, you remove the third row of basting, and you’ll have amazing gathers every time.

Gorgeous Gathers | Mabey She Made It #sewingtips #sewingtricks #gatheringfabric

 

 

 

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17 Comments on The Secret to Gorgeous Gathers

  1. Marti
    Monday, April 28, 2014 at 8:47 PM (3 years ago)

    That’s a very good trick to know! I’ve never tried it but have a project I’m working on and can try this! Thanks for sharing it with us! Pinned. :) Have a great week!

    Reply
    • Lisa
      Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 11:34 AM (3 years ago)

      Hi Marti–let me know your thoughts when you try it out! Thanks for pinning!

      Reply
  2. Angela Grimes
    Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 11:28 AM (3 years ago)

    I use the two row method but like the idea behind your third row. Cheers.

    Reply
    • Lisa
      Monday, June 9, 2014 at 8:29 AM (3 years ago)

      Thanks, Angela! I admit to only using the third row when I need my gathers to be super even–other times I still use 2 rows. :)

      Reply
  3. Ragnhild Aasgaard
    Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 12:24 PM (3 years ago)

    Wow, never thought about a third row. I have always used only two rows. It makes sense, though. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Lisa
      Monday, June 9, 2014 at 8:28 AM (3 years ago)

      It really does make sense when you think about it–I remember thinking the same thing when my mom taught me that trick from my grandma!

      Reply
  4. Deby at So Sew Easy
    Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 5:21 PM (3 years ago)

    Looks like some extra work, but So worth it for such pretty gathers.

    Reply
    • Lisa
      Monday, June 9, 2014 at 8:27 AM (3 years ago)

      It is an extra step, but worth it. And the way I look at it, it would take me forever to get the hem to look alright anyway, so this way the last step goes faster. :)

      Reply
  5. Annette
    Sunday, June 8, 2014 at 8:19 PM (3 years ago)

    I tried this and it works fabulously well! Thank you for the tip.

    Reply
    • Lisa
      Monday, June 9, 2014 at 8:21 AM (3 years ago)

      Ohh, I’m so glad you tried it, Annette!

      Reply
  6. Karly Nelson
    Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 11:45 AM (3 years ago)

    This is how I’ve been doing it for the last year! I was skeptical at first, cause man, 3 rows??? But it really makes such a difference! Thanks for sharing!!!

    Reply
  7. Dorothy Paulsen
    Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 6:26 PM (3 years ago)

    I thought,”how much of a difference can an extra row of stitching make?” As it turns out, a ton! I was amazed at how much better this makes the process- so much easier to gather, and so much better looking. Thanks for the tip!

    Reply
  8. Rebecca
    Friday, September 12, 2014 at 7:34 AM (3 years ago)

    I can’t wait to try this, but may I ask? Could you use a triple needle to save time and baste all three rows at once?

    Reply
  9. Raniyah
    Monday, December 14, 2015 at 4:24 PM (2 years ago)

    Will this work with chiffon?

    Reply
    • Lisa
      Tuesday, December 15, 2015 at 7:53 AM (2 years ago)

      Yes! It works great on fussy fabrics. Just be careful when removing any basting that you are gentle with your fabric.

      Reply
  10. Sarah
    Saturday, December 24, 2016 at 7:18 PM (7 months ago)

    Hi,

    I am new to all this. Do you tie off one row and pull two or tie off two and pull one to create the gather?

    Reply
    • Lisa
      Friday, January 6, 2017 at 1:01 PM (6 months ago)

      Pull the top threads of all three rows to get the gathers!

      Reply

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