Do you want to learn the secrets of how to gather fabric or how to make ruffles?
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about How to Gather Fabric With a Serger. I will show you how to gather fabric with any type of sewing machine using a foolproof method.
Soon you’ll be adding ruffles everywhere.
Sewing is much simpler than gathering fabric. If you are going to make ruffles, it is important to learn how to gather. Gathered fabric gives fullness to sleeves and necklines, ruffles and aprons as well as pillows and other sewing projects.
I was a terrible gatherer before I discovered how to use a serger to gather. I was familiar with the traditional method of gathering on a serger. This involves setting the machine to the longest stitch and sewing two parallel lines.
This can prove to be quite problematic. This is because the thread can break or get knotted while pulling up gathers. Sometimes I can pull out the entire thread and have to do it again. This makes it difficult to achieve nice, even gathers.
I’ve tried to outsmart gathering genies using a gathering foot to create ruffles “too difficult”. I’ve tried to use a ruffler for ruffles that involved too much math.
My Bestie was talking to me recently about a gathering technique that she had seen at a recent sewing class. This was a technique I had seen before and that I had forgotten about. This tip is no longer hidden.
How to achieve perfect gatherings every time
- 1 Step 1: Adjust the stitch length of your machine.
- 2 Step 2: Use a different color thread in your bobbin.
- 3 Step 3: Start sewing a straight line 1/4″ from the edge of your fabric.
- 4 Step 4: At about 1/4 inch from the end, stop the needle and insert it into the fabric.
- 5 Step 5: Lift the presser foot, and pivot the fabric to your right.
- 6 Step 6: Lower your presser foot, and then take one stitch.
- 7 Step 7: Insert the needle again into the fabric and lift the presser foot.
- 8 Step 8: Turn the fabric right again.
- 9 Step 9: Attach a straight stitch parallel with the first.
- 10 Step 10: Once you have reached the end, cut the threads, leaving a 7- to 8-inch thread tail.
- 11 Step 11: Gather the fabric and pull up the bobbin threads.
Step 1: Adjust the stitch length of your machine.
Your machine should be set to the longest length stitch. My machine defaults to 2.5 mm for stitching and 5 mm for the longest.
Step 2: Use a different color thread in your bobbin.
It might seem strange, but this reminds you of which thread is your Bobbin thread. This one will be a big help when you gather the threads. This demonstration uses red bobbin thread and black needle thread.
Step 3: Start sewing a straight line 1/4″ from the edge of your fabric.
Machines are usually marked with a 1/4″ seam allowance. This is your guide.
Step 4: At about 1/4 inch from the end, stop the needle and insert it into the fabric.
It will be up to you to decide where to stop. You will need to guess-timate where to stop.
Step 5: Lift the presser foot, and pivot the fabric to your right.
This is a very easy task if you have never attempted it before. After your needle is inserted into the fabric, raise the presser foot and carefully pivot the fabric to its right. Now, the bottom edge of your fabric will be to the right.
Step 6: Lower your presser foot, and then take one stitch.
You only need to make 1 stitch. One.5mm.stitch.
Step 7: Insert the needle again into the fabric and lift the presser foot.
Take 1 stitch and then drop the needle in the fabric. After the needle has been lowered, lift the presser foot.
Step 8: Turn the fabric right again.
Now, raise your presser foot and pivot the fabric to the right. As you did in Step 5. Now you can sew another line parallel to the original one.
The second gathering line will now measure exactly 5mm from its predecessor and will be closed at the end. The stitching line will now be 3/8″ from the raw edge. The seam allowances for most sewing projects are 5/8 inches. Gathering threads will not get in the seam allowance.
Step 9: Attach a straight stitch parallel with the first.
Your stitching lines should be parallel. Uneven gathers can result if they are too close together. If they get too close, you’ll end up with knots.
You will notice the closed end at the pivoted fabric. This is important to remember when you gather the threads.
Step 10: Once you have reached the end, cut the threads, leaving a 7- to 8-inch thread tail.
Now you will be right back where your started. You will now be back where you started. You should leave a tail of thread at least 7-8 inches long.
Step 11: Gather the fabric and pull up the bobbin threads.
To ensure a successful gathering, you must only pull the threads from the bobbin. When gathering, I prefer to use a different color bobbin. This makes it easier for me to remember the bobbin threads.
Pull the two bobbin threads “red” and form even gathers. The gathers should be pushed towards the end of the stitching. For clean gathers, ensure that you pull the threads evenly.
This will ensure perfect, even gathers every single time. You won’t lose your gathers because you made a closed end.
The gathers will be ready for ruffling when you press them with steam.