Super Quick : How to Gather

I have two minutes…

First – set stitch length to the longest stitch you have, or close to it.  4.0 at a minimum, you can do 5.0001

Sew a row of stitches inside your intended final stitch line, in the seam allowance.  So if you’re sewing the seam at 5/8th, sew the gathering stitch at 3/8th.

Next, pull one of the long ends of the thread (classically this is the bobbin end, but I don’t think it matters.  DON’T PULL BOTH – pick one).

Fabric will gather.002

You then continue gathering as much as you like or smosh the gathers a bit flat, whatever you need to do.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.  Practice a bit, you’ll get the feel for it in no time.

Helpful hint:  do not try to run a gathering stitch longer than003 about 2 feet long to start with, they tend to give up the gathering ghost around 18″ or so.  Also you will “scoot” the gathers along a long gather with your hands, it won’t do it for you.

004 005


2 thoughts on “Super Quick : How to Gather

  1. fiberaddict

    Or you could get a ruffler foot for your machine, and let it do the work for you. :-). I’ve done it both ways – sometimes this way is best – but I prefer the foot.


    1. hearthie Post author

      I am not a big fan of the ruffler/gatherer attachment, I have one and it underwhelms me. Probably because I’m not a big planner – I gather by feel rather than making calculations. Also because (at least mine) has a limit to how much it will gather – I tried it once on a petticoat that needed a bazillion feet gathered up and it just wouldn’t gather as tightly as I would like. (I sooo wished it would have, that was insane to gather – a 12 YARD hem on a knee-length petticoat).

      If I did more home-dec, where nice regular gathers were the thing, I’d probably use it more often. And you know, where I had some clue about the proportion of gathers, lol. You mean I should do maths at the sewing machine? Nah, I’ll just pull a string and fidget it.

      Should do a post on feet that I use and feet that I can’t be bothered with. 🙂



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