Easing and gathering are two such techniques that can reduce fullness and add a more tailored fit to garments. Although they are similar in nature, easing and gathering are done differently on Janome sewing machines with gathering producing a vastly unique result.
What Is Easing?
Easing is the process of reducing undesired fullness where there is extra fabric by "easing" it into a seam and is often done when setting a sleeve into a garment. It is done by using a sewing machine to make two lines of stitches along the area of easement. The fabric is then gently pulled closer together with the bottom thread. By using this technique, the fabric compresses very slightly, shortening its length in the eased-in area without causing bunching or folds in the fabric.
Eased fabric remains loose on the easing threads until a final seam is sewn. From the finished side of the project, the fabric at the seam is slightly full yet evenly spread within the seam. Since easing does not create visible bunches or layers, it should look natural.
This technique is useful for fitting sleeves and around curved areas where the curve creates an excess of fabric that should be gently eased into the seam.
What Is Gathering?
Gathering is similar to easing; however, it involves taking in more fabric for an intentionally even-spaced gathered appearance. The process begins the same as easing with two lines of stitching following the seam line of the area to be gathered.
Using these stitches, the fabric is pulled in and allowed to bunch and fold over itself. Once evenly spaced, it is sewn into the seam following the lower gathering stitch with Janome sewing machines like the Janome 7318. Gathering can be used to create ruffles and fabric embellishments on garments or other items.
Which Should You Use?
Even though easing and gathering are done in a similar fashion, they are used in completely different ways. Easing is more suitable when you have a small amount of fabric to take in, such as the excess that results with curved seams.
On the other hand, gathers are used in many functional and decorative ways on garments, curtains and drapes. It is often used to create very full skirts, sleeves, and ruffles that can be added to create an attractive style.
Don't allow yourself to become frustrated if you reach a point where your pattern is just not fitting right. Chances are that all you need to do is take your fabric in by using easing or gathering. When done appropriately, the simple techniques discussed above can be done with all sewing machines, giving you the means to create a well-fitted garment or attractive ruffles.