How To Sew a Gathering Stitch | Masterclass with Lisa Lam

Gathering stitches are used when you want to insert gathers into your fabric, which are often required for dressmaking projects. To find out how to sew a gathering stitch, we turned to the Dance With Me Dress sewing pattern by Lisa Lam for some advice…

You can set your machine to sew a long and loose stitch, which means you can easily pull on the bobbin threads to gather up your fabric. Using a thicker thread can also help. The results look great and it’s very simple and satisfying to do. If you’d like to learn how to sew a gathering stitch, follow these simple instructions taken from Lisa Lam’s Dance With Me Dress sewing pattern:

1. Set up your sewing machine – set your machine to the longest straight/normal stitch and set your bobbin thread to tension #1. These settings will provide a bobbin thread that is loose enough for you to pull easily so you can gather your fabric.

2. Sew the gathering stitches – leaving long thread tails at both ends, stitch along the item that you want to gather. Do not sew securing stitches at either end of your gathering stiches. Stitch a double row of gathering stitches. Your pattern should state the location and how far apart the two rows of gathering stitches should be sewn. When you stitch the second row of gathering stitches, be careful not to stitch over the first row.

Lisa’s top tip: A double row of gathering stitches is more stable than a single row because it is less likely to unravel (ping back) after you have gathered your fabric. However you sew your gathering stitches, be sure to stitch inside your seam allowance or your gathering stitches will show on the finished garment.

how to sew a gathering stitch3. Reset your machine – remember to reset your stitch length and bobbin tension before you continue sewing.

4. Creating the gathers – pull up the gathering threads to the required width. Pin the gathers to secure them in position and then machine straight stitch in place.

5. Discarding the gathering stitches – if possible, remove the gathering stitches by pulling out the bobbin thread. The top thread will also come away and you can discard both. Sometimes you’ll need to stitch over the gathering stitches so it’s not always be possible to remove them. Sew gathering stitches inside the seam allowance so they won’t show on the finished garment.

Buy your copy of Lisa Lam’s Dance With Me Dress or Happiness Halter Playsuit sewing patterns now to test out your skills straight away. If you love sewing or dressmaking, check out our fantastic selection of fabrics and don’t miss our great range of sewing books. Or why not treat yourself to a smart new sewing machine – get some advice with our handy sewing machine buyer’s guide, which includes specification details for all of the main Janome models and tips from sewing experts.

Has this masterclass helped you to learn how to sew a gathering stitch? Are you new to sewing or dressmaking? Leave a comment below or post on our Facebook page to tell us more!

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This ‘How To Sew a Gathering Stitch’ masterclass has been extracted from Lisa Lam’s Dance With Me Dress sewing pattern.

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