To gather fabric, there are several options. The most well-known are one of the following two methods:
- Bast one or two threads parallel to each other through the fabric to be gathered, pull tight to the desired size, and secure the threads
- Same principle but using a large stitch on the sewing machine (at least 5 mm) where you do not start or end your stitching, so you can again pull the threads tight to the desired length
The use of two parallel threads allows the gathering to be more beautifully distributed and less likely to ‘pull’.
The above two ways to gather fabric work great when you need an exact length. But …. Imagine making a strip skirt with many layers of gathered fabric … these methods are time consuming. And one more drawback: because you can pull the thread apart with longer gathering strips, it is advisable to divide the length into several parts and gather part by part.
Fabric gathering: it can be done differently
Especially in the latter case of long strips, there is another way. I have known this way for a long time, but as I pulled the tool for this out of a drawer today in front of Sanne, my intern, I suddenly realized that this is a fun tool to share with you.
It is all about the gathering foot or ruffler. An enormous device that attaches to your machine as a presser foot. You need a little time to get to know the device, but then a world really opens up to you.
What can you do with this device?
- gathering fabric
- make small folds
- gathering or pleating while stitching to a smooth fabric
It is a matter of practice and trial and error. In my experience, it works especially well with thin, smooth and woven fabrics.
In this video, you can see how Sanne makes a sample with it for the first time herself. Really: this is so simple and easy to use!
Are there any drawbacks? Yes! This is because it is not easy to very precisely give an already cut out pattern piece the exact size. Ideally, make generous stitches that you then cut and stitch together.
Let me know what you think of this tip! I enjoy hearing from you.