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Topic: Gathering on Sergers & Sewing Machines Tutorial!  (Read 9238 times)
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« on: March 03, 2008 06:56:39 PM »

I had a few people ask about this the last few days... so here it is.  For the full photo tutorial click here.  It has 13 photos that go with the step by step instructions.  This is what the finished product looks like.

Well I had heard about this for a long time, but I finally decided to give it a try. & I have found my new love!!!! I HATE gathering as much as one person possibly can. In all honesty that is what kept me from sewing for a very long time. Silly I know, but gathering & zippers are just no fun! I had learned how to gather with clear elastic better then doing it by hand, but not super easy either unless it is just light gathering.

Anyways I have had a few people ask me about this so I figured I would make a photo tutorial! I have seen a few descriptions on the web, but never a photo tute. Its pretty simple & if you machine doesnt have a differential thats fine, you dont need it to gather. This process is a little bit of trial & error every machine is different as well as fabric. Here are the basic instructions!

STEP 1: Loosen your pressure foot!

This allows for it to gather more. To do this simply locate the pressure foot adjuster directly above the pressure foot on your machine. Then using a coin or tool you want to loosen it remember, lefty loosy, righty tighty! I normally do 3-5 turns, but every machine is different.

STEP 2: Adjust differential (if you machine has it) & Stitch Length

You want to turn it all the way up to the highest number. It is important you do this FIRST because when you set the stitch length it will adjust it on most machines.

Now that your differential is set you want to adjust your stitch length to the longest possible this is 5 on most machines. This may change the differential, thats okay, just leave it alone.

Step 3: Adjusting Tension & Looper Threads

I turn both my loopers up one number they are normally set at 3, so I turn them up to 4. Then turn your needle thread tension up to 9 or the highest number available.

Step 4: SEW!

Put your fabric in the machine, put the presser foot down & sew! DONT Pull or push the fabric, just let the serger pull it through, just keep it lined up straight. It should look something like this

Step 5: Attach it to the rest of the project!

Make sure to first put ALL your settings back to where they were!!!! That can cause some headaches if not. Then go for it!

Remember this is trial & error, I ALWAYS test it first to see how it gathers, & to figure out how much I need. If you serged it & its to long you can simply gather it a little by hand or try running it through the machine a second time. If you gathered it TO much you can break a few strings & carefully ungather it a bit until it fits.

If your needle thread(s) break turn your tension down by .5 & try again. some machines dont like it that high! The lower your tension # the less gathers.

Well I hope that this tutorial will help someone! This is a technique I dont think I can live with out!!!!

THIS CAN BE DONE ON SEWING MACHINES AS WELL! The gather is not as nice, but it is is very easy to adjust because you have the traditional pull strings. Just loosen the pressure foot, turn the tension all the way up & set the stitch length to the highest on your machine, you want a basting stitch. These are some quick pics I snapped. It will look better if you pin your gathered peice to the other peice first I did not do this as I was in a hurry. The serger gather is a lot easier to handle then the sewing machine one cause it is more secure, which is why I prefer it, it holds its gathers in place better until you get them attached. BUT if you dont have one this is the next best thing!
« Last Edit: March 04, 2008 03:32:34 PM by Kymy - Reason: Fixing Picture » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2008 06:11:09 AM »

i wish i had something like presser foot or a serger, i really have a tough time gathering in my singer mars model machine...lucky ones out there

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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2008 06:11:35 AM »

Thank you so much for sharing this!!  I just got a nice little brother 1034d off of craigslist and gathering was one of the things I was hoping the serger would help me do better.  

I am going to try this out this morning  Wink


« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2008 06:59:21 AM »

So glad you did this!  I found a tute on the net about gathering tulle on a serger as well.  This is very helpful cause I'm visual.  I will be printing this out and putting in my reference binder!!

« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2008 11:20:18 AM »

Thank you so much for doing this!  I had someone tell me how to gather on the Serger with the diff feed,  but it could have been in Greek.  It made no sense to me.  I am a visual learner so I really appreciate this!!

« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2008 11:45:14 AM »

Nylaskye please share the tut, will be much appreciated
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2008 03:30:56 PM »

Nylaskye please share the tut, will be much appreciated

I'm not Nylaskye, but I believe this is it....  http://thedomesticdiva.wordpress.com/2008/02/04/free-sewing-book-giveaway-and-a-quick-serger-gathering-tutorial-because-the-ny-giants-rock/

its half way down the page.

This works for tulle, but not well on other fabric, plus I DON'T suggest messing that much with your looper tension... cause if it breaks cause its too tight, its a lot more work to re-thread.

Check out my blog!
My Crafty Blog ~ Hundreds of Free Tutorials/Patterns for Babylegs, Crib Sheets & more!
Open for personal swaps!
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2008 11:24:16 PM »

Have you heard about the gathering foot? I have it and it makes gathering super fast and easy and you can adjust the depth and the density of the pleats.

I bought mine in Poland, but I'm sure it's possible to find it everywhere else Wink
You can see it here:
or here:

Click on the photo on the right to enlarge it.

« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2008 12:52:59 AM »

Kymy sorry about that... Thanks for the tut...was busy reading your blog last night... great blog ! ....you have so much info for the beginner sewer.  Thanks so much.  I'm learning so much from you guys.
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2008 01:13:48 PM »

Have you heard about the gathering foot? I have it and it makes gathering super fast and easy and you can adjust the depth and the density of the pleats.

I have one, but its a pain to switch it back & forth while working on multiple projects, plus they are $$.

Check out my blog!
My Crafty Blog ~ Hundreds of Free Tutorials/Patterns for Babylegs, Crib Sheets & more!
Open for personal swaps!
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2008 06:06:34 PM »

Thank you!
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2008 02:24:18 PM »

Holy COW!! How lucky am i to have found this...i was trying to figure this out TODAY!!! 

Thanks so much Kymy.



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« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2008 06:24:14 AM »

I have never tried to gather on my serger--it's old and I try not to change any settings or anything on it becuase it will never work again if I do!!!  And I also have a gathering foot and a ruffler for my sewing machine, but I prefer to tighten the tension all the way and set it to the longest stitch and gather away--less fiddling with stuff!!!

I may venture to try in on the serger...!  (I so want a new serger for Mother's Day, Christmas, Birthday, Anniversary--whatever day!!!)
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2008 02:50:22 PM »

Thanks for posting this. I am in the middle of making some maternity halter tops for me (please get here summer!!!) and this was a life saver!!!! I read that other online tut, but don't they say to NOT adjust the needle tension? Um, that doesn't work.

Anyway, thanks again for posting this!!!!!

« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2008 05:06:28 PM »

I know this is on serger ruffles or gathers but I can give you tip for regular machines.

1). Pull long piece of thread still attach to spool/cone.....this has to be the lenght of your fabric.  Your long thread can even be thin crochet thread or quilting thread, which even make you comfortable.

2).  Set your machine on wide zig zag......now hold the long thread is in the center of presser foot and zig zag over it.

-/\-/\-/\-/\-/\-/\-/\-/\-------------- (this is suppose to be straight line and zig zag without breaks.)

3). Pull the long thread and you will have a gather. This is easier then the two thread thing I learned in sewing class year ago.

 I know this is not exact.....not sure how to do on computer.  I will try to post a picture later.  I hope this makes it easier for you folks.

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