Gathering Stitch

These are long stitches used to compress a length of fabric before sewing it to a shorter piece. To gather, set the machine for a long stitch length (3.0-4.0 mm; use the shorter length for lighter-weight fabrics) and loosen the tension slightly. With the fabric right side up, sew on the seamline and again 1⁄8" (3 mm) from the seamline, within the seam allowance. Sometimes you will be instructed to place the first line of stitches 1⁄8" (3 mm) from the seamline within the body of the garment so the stitches don't become tangled in the permanent seamline. Leave thread tails at each end and do not backtack. Pin the fabric to be gathered to the shorter piece right sides together, matching edges, centers, and pattern markings as directed in the pattern. Pin at each mark. Grasp the bobbin threads from both lines of stitching at one end and pull gently. Work the gathers along the thread until the entire piece is gathered and lies flat against the shorter fabric piece. Pull the bobbin threads from both ends to gather long pieces. Stitch the seam, then remove the gathering threads.

Other sewing topics you may enjoy:


Sew and Stitch Glossary

About StefanieB

I'm the Managing Editor of Stitch magazine. I live in Fort Collins, Colorado with one fat cat, one very active dog, and lots of books, crafting supplies, and video games.