Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Gathering and Easing Fabric

Gathering and easing are used to control fullness along a seam line.
Gathers: soft folds of fabrics formed by pulling up basting stitches to make the fabric fit into a smaller space.

An area to be gathered is marked on the pattern with "gather" or "gathering line" on the seam line. Notches or dots mark the beginning and end of the area to be gathered. Usually gathers are 1/2 or 1/3 of the original width. It takes more yardage to create full gathers in sheer or lightweight fabrics than in heavier ones.

How to Gather
1. Adjust stitch length to basting stitch (6-8 stitches per inch)

2. Stitch the first row of basting next to the seam line in the seam allowance. DO NOT BACKSTITCH. Leave long thread ends. For gathering long areas, start and stop stitching at the seams.

3. Stitch the second row of basting 1/4 inch away in the seam allowance. DO NOT BACKSTITCH. Leave long thread ends.

HELPFUL HINT: Tie each set of threads together to make it easier to pull the right ones at the right time.

4. Pin the fabric edges, right sides together, matching all pattern markings and seams.

5. Pull up both bobbin threads from one end. Gently slide the fabric along the threads to gather half the section. Repeat from the other end until the gathered section is the proper length.

6. Wrap the threads in a figure 8 around a pin to secure.

7. Distribute the gathers evenly. Pin in place about every 1/2 inch.

8. Stitch with standard stitching along the seam line, gathered side up. Make sure the gathers are even on both sides of the needle to keep folds from catching in the seam.

For heavy fabrics, you can zigzag over a narrow cord held 1/4 inch inside the seam line. Pull cord together. Stitch along seam line. Remove the cord.

Easing: most often used at shoulder seams, sleeves, yokes, and waistbands. The most common eased seam is a set-in sleeve. The finished seam should be smooth, without any gathers or tucks.

Pin Basting: if there is only a slight difference in the fabric lengths, pin baste the right sides of the fabric together with the longer side on top. Place pins every 1/2". This keeps the fabric from shifting. Stitch with the longer side on top, gently easing in extra fullness as you stitch.

How to Ease Stitch

To ease in fullness, use one or two rows of ease stitching. Use the same technique as for gathering.

1. Stitch close to the seam line with long machine stitches extending stitching slightly beyond markings, leaving long thread tails.

2. Stitch a second row 1/4" away in the seam allowance for set-in sleeves.

3. Pin fabric with right sides together and eased side up.

4. Pull up thread between markings and distribute fullness evenly.

5. Stitch with standard stitching along seam line, leaving a smooth seam.

1 comment:

Peggy said...

thanks for the help I needed to know how much fabric to start with
your blog was all I needed