Gathering fabric is a very useful sewing skill that sewists need to learn when sewing garments. This is a special skill that is necessary when adding ruffles, cuffs, sleeves and many other pieces of a garment.
What is the best stitch for gathering fabric?
There are several ways to gather fabric when sewing. One way is hand basting at the top seam that needs to be gathered and will be sewn to the garment. This is a tedious and time consuming method, and it is not necessary when a sewing machine is available.
Another gathering method, done on a sewing machine and a basic gathering method good for beginners, is created by sewing long basting stitches in two parallel lines.
With this method, the thread is pulled and the fabric gathered into the thread until it is the size necessary for sewing onto the other piece of fabric.
At times the basting thread will break and it will be necessary to start over.
Check out our page explaining gathering on a sewing machine.
Using the sewing machine zig-zag gathering technique done on a sewing machine is the focus of this tutorial. With this gathering method, a zig-zag stitch is sewn across the lengths of the pulled bobbin and top thread.
When gathering fabric on a sewing machine in this way, the pieces of unsewn thread are then pulled as the fabric is slid along the thread until it gathers.
This zig-zag stitching around the unsewn thread makes for a much stronger gathered fabric. This stitch used for gathering fabric is the strongest method of gathering. It is a very useful way to gather heavy fabrics like denim and wool.
Learn more about the zig-zag gathering stitch by watching our video or keep reading this post.
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WHAT YOU NEED:
- Threaded sewing machine
INSTRUCTIONS for zig-zag method of gathering with a sewing machine
STEP 1: Bring the Bobbin thread to the top of the fabric
Hold the top thread and using the wheel on the side of the sewing machine, turn the wheel until the needle goes down into the fabric then back up. Gently pull up on the top thread until the loop of the bobbin thread is visible.
Pull the loop on the bobbin thread up through to the top of the fabric so that both the top thread and bobbin thread are on top of the fabric.
STEP 2: Prepare thread and sew with the zig-zag stitch
Hold both the bobbin and top thread together and pull the threads down the full length of the piece of fabric that will be gathered.
Set the machine to the zig-zag stitch and then begin to sew over both threads that were pulled to the bottom.
Make sure the pulled threads are in the middle of the zig-zag gathering stitch.
It may be necessary to twist and move the long threads and hold them in the center of the foot so that the zig-zag stitch is sewn over of the threads. Do not hit the threads with the needle.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT hit the threads with the zig-zag stitches while sewing along or it will be impossible to gather.
step 3: clip the threads
When the zig-zag stitch has come to the end of the fabric, do not backstitch. Remove the fabric from the machine and clip only the threads from the zig-zag stitch, leaving the center threads as they are.
step 4: gather the fabric
Holding the two threads and begin to gently pull the center threads through the zig-zag stitches.
The fabric will gather as the threads are pulled. Gather the fabric until it is the length needed.
Now your fabric is gathered using a simple and effective gathering method!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to gather fabric using the zig-zag stitch.
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