Confidence Gathering

When someone first begins sewing clothing, they’ll likely start with an easy pattern.  Something simple with a few pieces, little to no fitting, and gathers.  If you’re learning to sew on your own without the help of YouTube or a live human being, however, gathers can be a source of frustration and confusion.

“Why can’t I get these gathers to look decent?  Ack!”  What should take you two hours has now taken several, because you just can’t figure out how to do it well.  It’s bunched up over here, flat over there.  And then your thread breaks, and you toss the whole mess out of your line of sight.  Ask me how I know?

Everyone tells you gathers are so much easier than tucks or darts, but after a few more projects, darts are practically your BFF and tucks have saved a sleeve cap or two.  Gathers, however, still strike fear.

Confession time.  I have modified not a few patterns to avoid gathers.  But I decided that as a 1-year old seamstress, it was time to master this beast.  Of course, I took to my newest sewing guru to find tips.  Gertie never disappoints.

The Cord-Method basically eliminates the thread issue and gives way more control in the gathering process.  The whole method involves zig-zagging a wide stitch over a thicker piece of crochet cotton or cording.  You then pull on each end of the cording to gather the edge to the desired width.  You slide the fabric along the cording as necessary.  Everyone says it’s magical.  And it is, sort of.

The trouble I had my first go-round was keeping the crochet cotton in the right place.  It wanted to migrate, and so did the fabric underneath.  I didn’t pin it, so perhaps it was my own fault.  On 4-5 occasions, I sewing over the crochet cotton!  I was trying so hard to steer the cotton in the right direction, but it had a mind of its own.  So, I stopped sewing, pulled the errant threads from the cotton, and repositioned my edge.  It was annoying to say the least.  I had my machine on its widest setting.  I was also sewing really slowly, so I’m not sure what else I can do.  If I’d had two sections instead of 4, it probably would have been much more successful.  That said, it wasn’t half bad!

Stay tuned for pictures of the finished skirt!

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2 thoughts on “Confidence Gathering

  1. My gathering tip is coat thread in the bobbin. It’s a whole lot stronger than regular thread and I do think the zig zag over cording etc is a great idea, but this way you don’t end up with the needle in the stronger thread. I’ve even done that sewing a bathing suit with gathers up the front.

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