Question of the Month

Q: I want to sew a few decortive pillows as gifts, what is an easy why to do gathers? Maryanne, Winnipeg


There are a number of ways to do gathers.

A standard way of doing gathers is to stich along the seamline once, then do a second seam 1/4" away in the seam allowance, using long machines stiches for both. Then pull threads ends and adjust the ruffles to fit your pillow (or project). However, when pulling the threads it is easy to have a thread break, so make sure to pull on the bobbin threads at the same time as the top threads (four threads to pull in in total). There are easier ways than this though. First, check if there is a gathering foot for your machine. This is a specail foot that makes it easier to do gathers on light to medium weight fabric. When using this foot, you alter the stitch lenght and the upper tension to alter the fullness of the gathers.  Another method to try (especially if there is no gathering foot available for your machine) if you are gathering a heaver weight fabric is doing a  wider ziz-zag stitch over a light weight cord.( gimp or string)  The width of the ziz-zag should be at 4mm and with a stitch lenght of 3. Pull on the string you have just sewen over to adjust the gathers. If you are going to be doing a fair number of projects you may want to check out the ruffler attachment that is available for most machines. With the ruffler attachment you can make closely or widely spaced pleats or ruffles automatically while sewing. The Clover company also has a gathering tape that you sew down then pull the built in cords.

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Bio: I started sewing when I was 4 years old and have been hooked ever since. My Father was a tailor and I inherited his talent.I when to Dressmaking and Design College in England. I own 5 pfaff machines that I can't live without. I teach quilting cllasses at Carellan and

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