We Gather Here Today in Thanksgiving…a gathering tutorial

As we get ever-nearer to the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US, I am frantically trying to juggle all that has to get done, including my outfit. I have decided that I NEED to sew up a pattern that I own which requires gathering…a LOT of gathering, so I was thinking that maybe others would like to follow along as I give some hints and methods for gathering woven and knits.

Just so that everyone is on the same page, I am going to be demonstrating the techniques with a sewing machine, a serger, and explaining how one could even gather your fabric by hand sewing it. *gasp* Hand stitching isn’t everyone’s favorite method, but it works, if you are away from your machines or just prefer the analog life.

I am going to demonstrate these techniques with scrap fabric, so that the stitches can be clearly seen. With wovens and a home sewing machine, I recommend the two rows of parallel long straight stitches/basting stitches method. First, you sew 2 parallel rows of elongated (like a 4-5 length stitch) straight stitches (almost a basting stitch). **Don’t do a backstitch/locking stitch to start or end these rows of stitches.

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When you are done choose ONE ROW (I usually choose the top row) and make sure that you can gently pull the thread form BOTH ends. What you want to do is to gently pull from one side, predominantly, but will need to end pulling from the opposite side of the SAME thread/row (if you try to pull entirely from one side only, it could end with you pulling that thread completely out). Another choice that you have is to gather a little bit from the opposite side and tie a securing knot to keep it in place (or you could wait until the end, or live dangerously, if you know that you are going to sew over and secure both sides of the gather with your machine as it attaches to another pattern piece.

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Slowly inch from one side to the other, keeping in mind the gathering needs for that pattern (sometimes, it is only a few inches that have to be gathered at 50%, and sometimes it can be more or less of either of these measurements).

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When you are done gathering the entire piece, it can look as tightly gathered as this.

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This method can also be used on knits, but I recommend just gathering on your serger, if you have one, as it is a lot faster.

For gathering your fabric with a serger, there does exist a gathering foot for most sergers, but since a lot of people that I know do not own this, I am going to demonstrate this with a standard presser foot.

First, you want to adjust your serger settings. I choose to move my differential feed to 2.0 (from N) and stitch length to 4.0 (from 2). This allows for the machine to do all of the hard work for you.

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Next, I assist the gather by bunching up my fabric in an orderly manner so that it feeds through the serger at an enhanced gather rate. If you only need a 25% gather, you don’t need to do this.

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When it is done, it will look like this.

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Finally, I will demonstrate how easy it is to gather by hand. You have a lot more control with this method, but it can take longer, depending on the length of your gather (for the Emma, it is a very long gather, and about 3 tiers of it (meaning 3 different gathers around the entire circumference of the dress). Hand sewing is not going to be my go-to here for this project (but that’s a personal preference).

First, you will make sure that your thread is knotted and start your gathering stitch from the wrong side of the fabric.

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Next, you will sew your stitches and either stitch and pull gently to gather to your desired gathering percentage,

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…or gather the fabric on your needle to gather it as you go.

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When you are done, you just knot off the end on the wrong side, and you are done!

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If anyone has any questions about any of these techniques, please feel free to leave me a comment or find me on Facebook.com/JotDesigns and ask all the questions that you have. Thanks!! And I hope that your holiday gatherings are relaxing, peaceful, and filled with lots of love!

Falling in love with Rebecca Page, a stop on the Turning the Page: Sewing for the Seasons Blog Tour

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Welcome to one of the final stops on Rebecca Page’s Turning the Page: Sewing for the Seasons Blog Tour! Just because we are wrapping up our week of amazing fun, doesn’t mean that it stops here!! You, too, can enhance your wardrobe by being inspired by or recreating one of the many sophisticated, fun, flirty, and classic styles that you have seen along the way!!

When I was looking in my closet this past weekend, I realized just how low it was on comfortable and season-transitional pieces that I had. I have Plenty of summer looks, as I live in the southern US, but I needed to work on my fall transitional pieces and winter looks.

I immediately thought of Rebecca Page’s FANTASTIC outerwear, especially their cardigans. Cardies allow SO much freedom, as you can layer them on and remove them during the day, as temperatures fluctuate during our seasonal changes. I decided to sew up a The Circle Cardie – A Ladies Cardie Pattern (aff) for this exact reason!

The Circle Cardie allows for endless possibilities with regards to which knit to use. I chose a crushed velvet in Metal Crush (that I purchased from Mily Mae Fabrics), a sort of charcoal shade, which would drape me in softness and warmth and help ease my wardrobe’s transition into the colder months. It is just the first of many that I am going to sew up. I plan on at least 7: one for every day of the week! Since there are so many options on lengths, bands, ruffles, and sleeves, as well as the vast number of fabric options, my choices are nearly endless!

Next, I had to decide what should go under this cardigan. I decided on the The Emma Top and Dress – Ladies High Neck Dress Pattern (aff). Not only does the high neck on this top and dress block the cold winds of autumn, but also is stylish and a source of additional warmth, and it is currently in a sale bundle, the Summer Maxi Bundle. This pdf pattern really does allow for SO many options with the fabric choices and the lining options. Really, if it is super cold where you live, line it with a silk lining for a lightweight and VERY warm option. You could even opt for a superfine wool lining, as well. In the southern US, most of us just need cotton or maybe polyester, or as I chose: a gorgeous rayon (that I purchased from Mily Mae Fabrics), that has amazing drape and beautiful coverage, without being bulky or heavy.

I finally decided to sew up the top version of the Emma, and it was love!! It’s just long enough to cover everything that I want hidden, but also loose enough to keep me cool with a nice breeze! I paired it with capri leggings, so I know that leggings in late fall would also be perfection! One thing that I LOVE doing with stripes is to either cant them and wear them on the bias or create chevron patterns by having two angled stripes meet at a center point. This allows me to not have horizontal stripes which might not be the most flattering on my plus-sized figure, but also it is fresh, fun, and fashionable (and so easy to do!).

Please visit all the stops on the Turning the Page: Sewing for the Changing Seasons Blog Tour with Rebecca Page. Don’t forget to comment on the blogs each day and enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win some fantastic prizes from our fabric sponsors!

  1. August 20: Rebecca Page (Intro), Sewjourns, Soul fed on Thread
  2. August 21: Sarcastic Sewist, PatchWitch, Flaxfield Sewing by Anca
  3. August 22: Princesse et Tresors, Bellephant, The Scatty Sewer
  4. August 23: BigFlyNotions, Stitched by Jennie, Millie’s Place Handmade
  5. August 24: Sweet Sprocket, Australian Sewing, Advice & Inspiration, The Sewing Unicorn
  6. August 25: LIVIALITY, Diskordia’s Curvy Sewing, Simply Kyra
  7. August 26: Seams So Lo, Middle River Studio, Jot Designs

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