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.

The Problem with One

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. And just try to get them to stay put when you’re attaching the gathered piece in place…it’s not going to happen easily.Gorgeous Gathers | Mabey She Made It #sewingtips #sewingtricks #gatheringfabric

What About Two?

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. It’s because there’s still a lot of shifting that happens between the two lines of stitching.

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

Three is the Trick

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.ย 

Tip: Add a third row of stitching to stabilize your gathers.

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 still 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.

One more tip: Press your perfect gathers with lots of steam. This will help them stay in place.

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

Then, once everything’s sewn into place, ย 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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Marti
6 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great week!

Angela Grimes
6 years ago

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

Ragnhild Aasgaard
Ragnhild Aasgaard
6 years ago

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

Deby at So Sew Easy
6 years ago

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

Annette
Annette
6 years ago

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

Karly Nelson
6 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!!!

Dorothy Paulsen
Dorothy Paulsen
6 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!

Rebecca
Rebecca
6 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?

Raniyah
Raniyah
4 years ago

Will this work with chiffon?

Sarah
Sarah
3 years 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?