Gathering fabric is a technique that is useful for everything from providing needed give and stretch on a garment to adding a cute decoration to draperies. There are a number of ways this can be done by using sewing machines such as the Juki HZL-220. By following the easy directions that follow, almost anyone can learn to gather fabric simply and quickly and turn out great projects using their Juki sewing machines.

The Basics of Creating A Gather

Regardless of what method is used, creating a gather works the same way. Loose, temporary stitches are made at the edge of the fabric to be bunched. The fabric is then pulled in to "gather it up." Next, the gathered fabric is sewn into place so the folds hold. By using a simple sort of gathering process, one thread can be used to pull the fabric in; however, for a more substantial gather, it is better to use the proper method.

Three Different Methods for Making Easy Gathers

Following are three methods that can be used for making easy gathers and are suitable for many different projects:

  • Simple “Cheater” Method - This is the easiest way to create a gather, although it is probably most suitable for projects that do not require the preciseness of garments. By using either a gathering presser foot or ruffler attachment, both of which are available for use on Juki sewing machines, sew a single line of stitching along the fabric edge. Skip the backstitch at the start and end of the stitching. The foot pulls in the fabric as it’s sewn, simplifying the process. Adjust the fabric as necessary, leaving the stitches in place.
  • ZigZag Cord Method - Also useful for more simple needs, create a gather using a temporary zigzag stitch and a length of cord trim. Lay the cord on the back side of the fabric where the gather is desired, then zigzag over it to hold it in place. Once the cord is sewn down, push the fabric together and create the necessary bunching. Lay the project down again and stitch over the gathers to hold them in place. Slide the cord out and remove the zigzag stitching, leaving only the stitch that is now holding everything together.
  • Making A Proper Gather - For more formal and precise applications, this is the proper gathering method that should be used. This is accomplished by sewing multiple rows of loose basting stitches along the area to be bunched, then pulling the fabric in as needed. Backstitching should be skipped at the beginning and end of the piece so the threads are not affixed. The pulled-in area is then permanently stitched into place. When done on a Juki HZL-220 or any other sewing machines, this produces the most professional looking and sturdy result for use on clothing and finer sewing projects.

Adding gathers to children's clothing, blouses, skirts, and other garments is a great way to provide the needed give in a tidy and attractive way. Making gathers with sewing machines is also a very easy skill to learn, one that can come in handy whether making clothing, household items, or other projects that need a little style. By using Juki sewing machines like the Juki HZL-220, almost anyone can use this technique for professional sewing results on their handmade projects!

Juki HZL-G220 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine

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