Sewing Gathers


Gathers can be tricky little blighters to sew accurately and neatly. Usually a double row of long machine stitches will suffice.

However, if you have a full amount of gathers to sew or even a rather bouncy fabric to tame, an extra row of gathering stitches can be of great benefit.

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The third row of gathering stitches is beyond the seam allowance. 

The first two rows are sewn within the seam allowance, so you don’t have to remove them after you have stitched the gathers into place. Remember don’t reverse and leave long tails to the gathering threads.

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Three rows of long machine gathering threads.

The third row can be sewn below the seam line, about 2cm from the raw edge. This gives a wider channel in which to sew the seam line and ensures that the gathers are small and nice and close together.

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You can use a pin to separate the bobbin threads from the needles threads.

Pull up the gathering threads as normal by taking up the bobbin threads and gently easing the fabric along the threads.

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Spread out the gathers evenly.
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Easing up the gathering.

You can use a pin at the end to anchor the threads by winding them around in a future of eight.

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Sew a normal sized 1.5cm seam.

The extra row means that the gathers are held in place as the seam is sewn.

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The darker row of the seam line is stitched between the second and third rows of gathering threads
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The Pin holes left can be removed by running your thumb nail over them. 

The extra row of gathering stitches can be removed after the seam has been sewn.

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Neat, even finished gathers.

Beautifully even and neat gathers sewn with THREE rows of gathering stitches. It might seem like another step to complete but let’s face it, if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing properly!

This is a technique that would be really useful when making up our NEW Celia Top pattern.


2 thoughts on “Sewing Gathers

  1. Thank you for this helpful tutorial! I find if I’m gathering a long seam like the one in the Celia Top using the zig zag over a string of pearl cotton works best. I never worry about it breaking and it’s easier to get an even gather over such a long seam 🙂 It’s old fashioned but it works great.

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