How to Easily Gather Fabric: Sewing Tutorial


This is a tutorial from the March issue of my newsletter, "Homestead Happenings".  If you are not familiar with my newsletter you can get more info and sign up for it if you would like (it is free):  


How to Easily Gather Fabric
The traditional method of gather fabric has you sew a large strait basting stitch across the fabric and then pull the bobbin side to gather in the fabric. What would always happen to me is the bobbin threads would break or the task was just painfully time consuming.

I learned this trick a few years ago from a friend of mine.

You will need some cotton crochet thread:

Set your sewing machine to a large size zig-zag setting with a long stitch length.

Set your presser food on the very edge of the fabric and put the crochet thread between the feet of the presser foot.

Now slowly begin to sew a zig-zag stitch with the cotton crochet thread in the center of the stitch. This is what it will look like:

If you are gathering something large then it will be helpful to do the gathering in 2 places. For the skirts we have used the side seams as the start and stop points.

Then pin your fabric to the piece that you are attaching the gathered edge to. I like to pin side seams together and then center seams together.

Now carefully begin to pull the crochet thread and gather the fabric up to the correct size.

Secure the end of the crochet thread to a pin in a figure 8 to hold it.

Continue to do pull the crochet thread and gather the whole piece of fabric.

Now pin everything in place.

Now smooth out the fabric and sew a 5/8" seam all the way around.

Remove your pins. You can easily now remove the crochet thread by finding the end and pulling it out. The only evidence left behind is the zig-zag stitching which you can also remove with a seam ripper if you would like, but I rarely do this.

Turn right side out, iron and Voila!! You are done!


  1. Once again you have given me a WONDERFUL tip. I have spent the last year or so teaching myself to sew. I have made 2 skirts for my daughter that look the same as the ones you used as your example. The difference is I was one of the ones breaking the thread trying to gather the layers. I would end up folding each little pleat!--This is the best tip yet. Thank you so much!

  2. Crystal, this is a TERRIFIC tip. I am making skirts like this for myself and my daughters for Easter. I was not looking forward to doing all the gathering because like we both know, the conventional way is a PAIN, but this is wonderful!!! Thank you so much for a great tip



  3. What a great tip! I'm so glad I stopped by - I found your blog through a friend. Glad to be here!

    Thanks again~


  4. Thank you for sharing.. Good timing for me.. I'm making dresses/aprons..

    I came to your blog looking for Choc crinkle cookies but I can't remember who posted it... LOL

    If it was you could you please send a message..

    Thanks haflinger

  5. I don't know if you will even see this comment, but I wanted to thank you. I have sewn so many dresses and such....zippers and gathering of skirts are my least favorite things to do. I have a lot of crochet this will be easy! Thank you.


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