Guest Blogger: Jenn’s Gorgeous Gathers Tutorial

I know I always say that I’m really excited about things, but I really am so excited! I’ve been wanting to have a guest blogger for a while, and I am so thrilled to welcome Jenn to Sew Much Ado for the day. I have to say that Jenn is one of those people who I really wish I lived closer to. We became friends while our husbands worked together one summer, and both happened to be pregnant with our first babies, who were both boys. You can understand my excitement when I learned she also loved to sew, and even majored in Family and Consumer Science Education (home ec ed) at BYU.  I knew she would be perfect for a guest blogger. She’s got a brain full of sewing knowledge, and now we are lucky enough to share some of it!  Oh, and I have to mention that she recently was the Tennessee Senior Division winner for the Make it With Wool contest.  You have to read about her crazy and rewarding experience here.  Now she gets to compete in the national competition!  One last thing, although I often fight the urge to beg for comments on my own blog, I’ll take one for the team and encourage you to visit Jenn’s blog, Compulsively Creative, and leave her a comment instead!  With ALL that being said, thanks so much Jenn, and take it away!

When I was younger my sister and I would go school clothes shopping in my mom’s fabric stash.  We’d pick patterns and fabric for all our new clothes for the school year and my mom would sew them.  That is how I learned to sew. I was only 7 or 8, but I would watch my mom and help her. She was always so patient and usually unpicked my mistakes so I wouldn’t become too discouraged and give up.  I also remember when I was very little getting a sewing machine for Christmas. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it was mine and I could do whatever I wanted with it!  That is when I really started to experiment and develop a love for sewing.

I am now the mother of two sweet little boys. I absolutely love spending time with them and teaching them.  They bring so much joy into my life.  I do, however, need a mental break from being a mommy and that is why I cherish their nap time.  I use that time each day to focus on myself.  I take time to read, write, nap, sew, craft, blog, etc.  My blog, compulsively creative, is an outlet and a motivation for me to rejuvenate myself so I can be the wife and mother my family needs me to be.

The Secret to Gorgeous Gathers

Gathering is a really simple and stylish technique that can either make a project scream homemade or be the finishing touch that makes it look professional.  So, what’s the secret? How do you get it to look professional rather than homemade?  It’s easy!  When gathering (assuming 5/8″ seam allowance and fabric that doesn’t pin mark) baste 3 rows of basting at 1/4″, 1/2″ and 3/4″ leaving long threads on each end of basting. Pull each of the bobbin threads, gathering the fabric to the desired amount. Put a pin perpendicular to basting rows at both ends of basting. Wrap pulled bobbin threads in a figure 8 around the pin to keep the thread from moving. Sew along the 5/8″ seam line.  Pull out the 3/4″ basting that is showing. It’s really that easy! Here is a mini tutorial with pictures to help you get your gathers looking professional!

This is going to make 2:1 ratio gathers. The band is 7″ and the piece being gathered to it is 14″. For more full gathers do 3:1.

Baste at 1/4″, 1/2″, and 3/4″ from raw edge. Be sure to leave long threads on each end.

Mark the middle of both pieces. If it is a long piece, mark quarters.

Pull bobbin threads to gather.  It’s easiest if you pull all three at the same time.

To get the right amount of gather in the right spot, match the centers and the ends. Spread the gathers so they are evenly spaced. Wrap excess thread in a figure 8 around a pin on each end. This will keep the gathers from changing while you are sewing.

Sew on the 5/8″ seam allowance from the band side (or the side that is NOT gathered) this helps eliminate tucks and keeps the gathers evenly spaced.  Hold the gathered piece out straight as you sew so you don’t get it caught accidentally. 

This is after it’s sewn. You will be able to see your 3/4″ basting and maybe your 1/2″. Just unpick those. It’s easy to remove since you basted =).

Hooray! You have beautiful gathers the first time you sewed them!

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  1. I saw this on CraftGossip and originally passed over it, then decided to read it. I’m so glad I did! This looks like a much easier way to do gathers than the method I’m using. Thanks for posting this!

  2. What a story when I read that made me cry, besides the baby is so cute and the tutorial is perfect to make special stuffs for my baby.

  3. What a story when I read that made me cry, besides the baby is so cute and the tutorial is perfect to make special stuffs for my baby.

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