Simply the Easiest Way to Gather Fabric

Gathering is a method used to control the fullness of the fabric.

We usually gather by sewing two rows of stitching side by side, using the longest machine stitch.

The difficulty we have is pulling both these threads up together, creating the same fullness, without one row of thread breaking. If this thread breaks, or the pin securing the end threads falls out, we often start all over again. What a waste of time!

If we have many yards or metres of fabric to gather, the above method can be a real nuisance, causing a lot of frustration and unnecessary work.

Here is Simply the Easiest Way to Gather Fabric.

It can be used to gather a short length or a very long length like a frill for your new bed valance.

Firstly divide the fabric to be gathered into 1/4’s or 1/8’s, (or into more sections if the fabric is very long) and mark with pins or very small safety pins. The latter will not fall out when gathering and lose that exact mark.

Replace the safety pins with pins before stitching as not to break the needle.

Evenly hand wind the bobbin with shirring or hat elastic and place in bobbin case.

Using good quality thread, thread your sewing machine, set to the longest stitch and bring up bobbin elastic.


Commence stitching the fabric overlapping the seam at the end. Just stitch one seam and the fabric will gather as you stitch.

Once gathered, match up the pin markings with the other section (bodice, waistband, etc,) and secure with pins.

Lay the gathered fabric uppermost and slightly stretch the fabric as you stitch inside the row of elastic.

Check to see if you have the perfect gathered seam before removing the shirring elastic.

I find this method “Simply the Easiest Way to Gather Fabric”, so purchase some shirring elastic and have a go.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *