How to Hand Gather

By Georgina Raudino
Hand gathering is a simple way for creating an aesthetic design feature just like, gathers at the waist to give more volume in the fabric, ruffles/gathers for embellishment or appliqué, gathers added to a particular point of a garment eg; shoulders, bust and/or belly is to create extra fabric for movement within the garment.
I use hand gathering on medium to heavy fabric, as it is easier to control with a wider stitch (longer than the usual machine stitch). I must admit that hand gathering can take some time to achieve, especially if the piece your gathering is long. But the end product is defiantly worth it. There is always something in sewing by hand, whether its a sense of relief or satisfaction, or somewhere in between. The result is always worth it.



STEP 1. Thread your needle with contrasting thread and make sure to double it up. The length of the thread needs be significantly longer than the piece your gathering.

HOT TIP - Choose a larger size household needle. It is much easier to work with.

STEP 2. Tie a knot in the end of your thread. The knot doesn't need to be perfect, it is just in place so that the thread doesn't slip through the fabric when you are gathering.

 STEP 3. Time to get stitching. You need to make sure that your stitch length is at least 1 cm or 5/8th of an inch. This makes it easy to slide the fabric along the thread when you are gathering. Once you get to the end do not knot the thread cut your thread with some to spare, enough to hold onto.

STEP 4. Choose one side to start to gather. Stabilise the thread by separating the top thread from the bottom and start sliding the fabric across the thread. You want to do this gently, as you do not want to break the thread or you'll have start again.

STEP 5. Once you have finished gathering take the time to spread out the gathering evenly so that it is ready for you to pin onto your other pattern piece. 


Want to watch how to 'Hand Gather' for an easy to follow step-by-step tutorial. 
Click on the video below and I will take you through it.