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Help with gathering, please

 
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Help with gathering, please - 3/10/2017 11:59:36 AM   
MoDo


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Hello Ladies! It wasn't too long ago that one of you had a recommendation for a way to gather fabric, but I can't remember who made it or under which thread it was . It involved using steam from the iron to help set the gathers. I could really use that advice right now and have tried searching for the thread under "basting" and "gathers", but to no avail. I'm hoping whoever gave the advice wouldn't mind either giving it again or point me to the proper thread so I can re-read it. Thank you!!
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RE: Help with gathering, please - 3/10/2017 12:11:07 PM   
Linda S.

 

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I don't recall the "steaming" part, although I always iron the gathers flat inside the seam
allowance.

All depends on what and where you are gathering. If for example I am gathering for a skirt,
which needs to be a certain amount of fabric gathered to specific width, I do it the old fashioned
way.....run gathering threads just inside and outside the seam allowance stitching line, using
about a 3.5 machine stitch length. Pull to desired fullness to fit, then remove the basting/gathering
stitches after the seam is sewn.

Some people zig-zag over heavy thread...buttonhole thread, dental floss, etc., then pull the
thread. But doing this causes bigger gathers (more like pleats than gathers). By using the
shorter stitch length, your gathers are finer (I think nicer), and by having one row of the
gathering stitches outside the seam allowance, the gathers are held down nice and neat
while sewn in place. The other way (zig-zagging over cord) makes bigger individual gathers,
which can get pulled up and stitched down uneven. Clear as mud? LOL!!!

(in reply to MoDo)
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RE: Help with gathering, please - 3/10/2017 12:46:07 PM   
Penny Hal

 

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The treads do not seem to go back as far as they used to. I can't find any of the old threads I've looked for either.

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RE: Help with gathering, please - 3/10/2017 3:37:59 PM   
mizzlilly


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Don't forget if you're searching to make sure you've selected the longest date range at the top. Not sure how long it is...might just be 365 days. But some of my forums initially show just 30 or 60 days.

There are so many different ways to gather, and some methods work best in certain circumstances. For instance, generally, the heavier the fabric, the larger stitch length if doing the traditional way with the two threads, as Linda describes. Which is my usual...however, the zigzagging over heavier thread is one I basically use sometimes too, though my Bernina's have a special gathering stitch which works just a bit better than a regular zigzag. If using the two thread method, just make sure if stitching outside the seam allowance that the fabric will not show the needle holes!

You can also gather by stitching through or "over" clear elastic...you can "gather" with a smocking pleater. For lightweight fabrics I vote for the two threads, for heavier or very long runs I might use the "zigzag" over cord with the special stitch.

Whether or not you press or steam the gathered area outside of the seam allowance is simply a preference based on the look you're after...I don't generally though. BTW to control the bulk of the gathered area in the seam allowance, either trim and zigzag/overcast or serge, and I leave the gathering thread in place in that case to keep things aligned nicely while I serge.

Then you get into gathering feet, and pleaters for the regular machine, and there is a difference! And methods for gathering using a serger and the differential and tension adjustments, or special feet or attachments. I tend to go with either the gathering foot or pleater on my regular machine rather than my serger for the most part, but it just depends!

Maybe tell us more about the application and we'll have some better ideas! Is it a skirt you're gathering to a bodice, so very specific amounts, or are you making yards of ruffle for example.



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RE: Help with gathering, please - 3/10/2017 5:00:32 PM   
gillie

 

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Remember when you stitch your gathered piece to your fabric, to stitch with the gathered piece on top. Stitch between the two rows of gathering and your gathers will be even and not fall to the side. Hard to explain but you will see what I mean. I always use a different color thread in the bobbin and always pull that thread to gather. I prefer the old fashioned way.

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RE: Help with gathering, please - 3/10/2017 5:09:12 PM   
MoDo


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I am making the Heirloom Party Dress, which I have made about five times now, so you'd think I'd have it down pat . The last couple of times I used the painter's tape method--gather the fabric using two rows of basting threads, keep the edge straight by pinning it all down to my ironing board, then place painter's tape across the gathers to keep them all neat, then use the pins from the fabric to pin the entredeux on top of the gathers just above the painter's tape, then sew the entredeux in place. Easy peasy, right ?

I thought the post about using the steam from the iron had instructions for a better way to do the gathers, but perhaps I'm imagining things (I have been under a lot of stress lately).

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RE: Help with gathering, please - 3/11/2017 3:42:39 PM   
Fancy Stitches

 

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I can't remember anything about setting gathers with steam, but there's lots I don't remember these days. I do set my smocking pleats with steam when I block the smocking before inserting it into the garment. But I seem to have the best luck with gathers when I put in 3 rows of gathering stitches, each about 1/4-inch apart. I use a "regular-size" stitch (a 3 length for light weight, heirloom fabrics and a 3.5 length for "quilt weight" fabric). The extra row gives more control over the distribution of the gathers. It takes a bit longer to pull up the gathers using a smaller stitch length but I think you will like the results.

Barbara

(in reply to MoDo)
Post #: 7
RE: Help with gathering, please - 3/11/2017 5:13:11 PM   
MoDo


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Thank you, Barbara--I actually just read an article in one of the Sew Beautiful issues that recommends three rows of gathering stitches, so I think I'll give it a try.

Right now the front bodice consists of vertical pin tucks with a row of beading lace at the bottom of the yoke. I'm not really happy with it, so I might be redesigning it. I believe this is one of the reasons it takes me so long to make these dresses--I'm always thinking of something different to do .

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RE: Help with gathering, please - 3/12/2017 1:49:59 PM   
gillie

 

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Are you sewing the entredeux to the gathered fabric and then trimming the fabric and then whipping the entredeux back over the gathering? Not sure how to help as I'm not quite understanding the problem.

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RE: Help with gathering, please - 3/12/2017 3:52:11 PM   
KathyD

 

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I do a minimum of 3 rows of gathers and up to 5 - depending on the fabric and application. You always want the smallest gathers that will work for your fabric. For Swiss batiste, I use no longer than a 3.0 stitch length and will use 2.5 if that works. Check it out on a scrap of fabric. I cannot imagine needing to use tape to hold the pleats in place. I think that if you use a shorter stitch and more rows of gathers, the problem of unruly gathers will be eliminated!

Can't wait to see your finished dress. That's such a beautiful pattern!

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RE: Help with gathering, please - 3/12/2017 8:48:00 PM   
MoDo


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Hi Gillie--Yes, I will be sewing the entredeux to the gathered fabric, for both the yoke to the skirt and beading lace to the sleeves.

Hi KathyD--Thank you for your input . I will test the shorter stitches on a piece of scrap fabric to see if I can get it to work for me.

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Post #: 11
RE: Help with gathering, please - 3/13/2017 8:16:20 AM   
gillie

 

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With my Bernina, I use my #10 edgefoot. Stitch one row along the entredeux, then move the needle one place to left and sew second row of stitches. I then trim. If the fabric is a little heavier or very full gathers, you may have to grade the fabrics. You want about 1/8" left of the entredeux Press and then switch, entredeux on the bottom and gathers on the top, I then use my #3 foot, it has three toes. Needle 1 place to the left, length 1.5 by 2 It should roll the entredeux over the gathered fabric. Press the fabric back against the dress fabric and do a very tiny zig zag along the edge on the right side. Hard to explain but gives a nice strong fnish.

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RE: Help with gathering, please - 3/13/2017 8:51:17 AM   
MoDo


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Thank you, Gillie . I recently purchased an edge foot, but have yet to try it out. Since I started heirloom sewing five years ago, I've pretty much followed Martha Pullen's instructions in her French Hand Sewing by Machine, Book Two, as well as Fine Machine Sewing by Carol Ahles and articles in Sew Beautiful magazine. But I always appreciate extra tips from those of you who have been doing this much longer than I have because I know most of you, through experience, have come up with solutions for situations that may not appear in any publication !

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Post #: 13
RE: Help with gathering, please - 3/13/2017 1:09:36 PM   
Linda S.

 

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MoDo, I liked how Kathy D. points out stitch length (for gathering) depends on the fabric you're using.
Did you mention what kind of fabric you're using for this dress?

We can always learn something new here....isn't it great? I never thought of using so many rows of
gathering stitches until Kathy shared how she does it...makes sense, now that I think of it! And of
course every single garment Kathy makes is wonderful!!!

Do you think the entredeaux might be why you're second guessing this? I thought it was a little
tricky when I first used it with gathers....maybe a little practice piece might give you
encouragement. It's been a while, but attaching entredeaux to gathered fabric wasn't nearly as
hard as I thought it was going to be. I tend to "borrow trouble" ; ).

Would you care to share a pic of the bodice you've done (the one you might be reconsidering)?
I had to chuckle, thinking of all the unused, heirloom sewn bodices I have laying around here
somewhere LOL! We might be a little alike that way ; ).

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Post #: 14
RE: Help with gathering, please - 3/13/2017 1:49:31 PM   
MoDo


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Hi Linda! I guess I shouldn't be second-guessing the entredeux-to-gathered-fabric instructions, as I have applied it to the sleeves so often. However, this will be the first time I'm using it to attach the front yoke to the skirt. The fabric is 100% cotton batiste in lavender, which I recently found out is my DGD's new favorite color .

As to changing the bodice, allow me to tell you what I did just the other day: My sewing room was used as a music room by the previous homeowners' children. One of the walls in the room is covered with cork board. I was having difficulty picturing how this dress was going to look, when I realized I could pin the piece up on said wall. After pinning the front bodice to the wall, I hand-gathered the top of one of the skirt pieces and pinned it over the entredeux edge. I then pinned the lace fancy band from last year's unfinished Easter dress to the skirt piece above the pin tucks, then added edging lace to the bottom . What a difference being able to "see" the "finished" dress in this way! I think it is going to end up just fine (prayers always welcomed ).

And BTW--Regarding that Easter dress I never finished last year: Turns out it wouldn't have fit my DGD anyway! I was making a 4T and my DGD is still in a 3T . Of course, that means, if I can get past how very PINK that fabric is, I can still make it and it will fit her later on .

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RE: Help with gathering, please - 3/16/2017 11:57:58 PM   
MoDo


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OMGosh!! I did the three rows of basting threads at a 3.5 stitch length and what a difference it made! The fabric gathered much easier and it looks wonderful!! Why didn't I know about this years ago??!! Thanks to all who recommended this technique!!

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RE: Help with gathering, please - 3/17/2017 5:02:09 PM   
Linda S.

 

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MoDo, You have a wall of cork board? How COOL is that!!! This is going to be so nice to have, to
pin things together and see how they will look...or auditioning different prints together. Perfect for your
sewing room.

And you are one dress ahead with the unfinished size 4....you already have that size covered : ). In
the meanwhile, you could even tweek it a little, if you wanted to.

Seems to me attaching gathered fabric to entredeax (on big pieces) is fiddly work. Am trying to
remember if I taped those little gathers down out of the way, to tame them while stitching. At any rate,
you've got that covered since you've done it before. It's "all stations go!" for this year's easter
dress! It sounds so pretty.

(in reply to MoDo)
Post #: 17
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