Gathering is a stitch used to compress by the use of plaits or even wrinkles a portion of the material which requires to be drawn into a smaller space; this is necessary to give ease and looseness to certain parts of garments.

Double thread is used in gathering, in case one thread should break while the gathers are being placed. A double thread also helps to keep the gathers in place.

The material to be gathered should be divided into halves, quarters, or eighths, according to its width.

Materials. - The materials required in learning to gather are: Sharp needles; cotton; scissors; pins; a practice piece twelve inches across the material; tape measure.

1.   Find the middle of the edge to be gathered and mark the place by cutting a small notch.

2.   Use double thread (the length of the thread to be regulated by the material to be gathered).

3.   Begin the gathering with a knot and several backstitches.

4.  Hold the wrong side of the material towards you.

5.   Take up two threads on the needle and go over four; or, in other words, the material taken up on the needle should be one-half the quantity of that passed over. Threads


ILL. 45.-Gathering Stitches. Centre of Material Marked by Notch.

should not be counted after you become familiar with the length of the stitch.

6. Take up as many stitches on the needle as possible and press them up against the thimble before drawing it through; this helps to place the gathers. See Illustration No. 45.

1. When the gathering is finished remove the needle from the thread and make a knot on the end of the thread.

8.   Place a pin vertically close to the last stitch.

9.   Draw the gathering thread up and wind it around the pin.

10.   Pull the gathers into place by holding the top edge with the left hand, and drawing the material down with the right, making a rotary movement while doing so. This will do away with the bunched appearance of gathers and will make them look like plaits; it is good preparation for stroking. See Illustration No. 46.

11.   In stroking the gathers, use a rather coarse needle.

12.   Hold the work between the thumb and forefinger of the left hand, keeping the thumb below the gathering thread.

13.   Put the point of the needle under each stitch, holding it obliquely. Make a short, quick stroke. See Illustration No. 47.

14.   Press the needle towards the thumb, bringing the little plait under the thumb and drawing the needle downwards.

15.   Do not allow the needle to make a scratching sound when stroking, as there is danger of tearing the fabric.

16.   Stroke the material on the right side, as well as the wrong side, when necessary.

The gathering is now ready to be sewed to the band.


ILL. 46. - Gathering Drawn Up with Pin in Position.

Mistakes Likely to Occur in Gathering.

1.   Material for gathering not properly prepared, so that the stitches run with the warp instead of the woof.

2.   Gathering stitches irregular.

3.   Materials scratched in stroking.


ILL. 47. - Stroking the Gathers.

French or Dress Gathering.

French gathering is generally used in drawing up the fullness at the back of skirts, when a large quantity of heavy material has to be gathered into a small compass.

The stitch and space may be increased according to fullness, but care should be taken to retain correct proportions.

This gathering, when drawn up, will form small plaits and does not require to be stroked.


ILL. 48. - French or Dress Gathers.

Materials. - The materials required are: A practice piece arranged so that there will be fifteen inches across the muslin; needles, "sharps"; cotton; scissors; pins; tape measure.

1.  Hem the sides of the material.

2.   Fold down the top edge one-half inch on the wrong side.

3.   Mark the centre by a cross-stitch.

4.  Use double thread a little longer than the material to be gathered.

5.   Make a knot on the end of the thread.

6.  Hold the right side towards you.

7.   Insert the needle through the edge turned down so as to bring the knot in between the fold and hide it.

8.   Make two overseaming stitches.

9.   Take up on the needle one-sixteenth and go over one-fourth of an inch.

10.   Gather as close as possible to the top edge.

11.   Remove the needle, but do not draw up the thread.

12.   Make the second row of gathering one-fourth of an inch below the first, taking each stitch directly beloiw the one above it. See Illustration No. 48.

13.   Remove this needle also.

14.   Take hold of both threads near the muslin, and gradually draw the gathers up to the required length; they will now form distinct plaits or flutes, and will not require any placing or stroking.

The gathering is now ready to sew to the band.

Gathering for Ruffles, Frills, Flounces, etc.

In making ruffles, care should be taken in sewing the various widths together, as the fullness causes the ruffle to flare and show the seams.

In fine cotton goods, the seams should be made with running stitches. In woolen material or silk, they should be sewed and then pressed open, and where they have cut or torn edges, and are disposed to fray, the edges should be overcast.

The piece to be gathered should be taken from the width of the material, as the fullness is easier to arrange and the stroking has more effect upon the width than the length. Ruffles are frequently cut on the bias.

Once and a half is generally considered a sufficient amount of fullness for a ruffle.

In turning a corner, put more fullness into the ruffle at that point to prevent it hooping at the edge. The rule is to allow twice the width of the ruffle. For instance, if the ruffle is four inches wide, put eight inches in fullness at the corner.

When putting on a gathered flounce, never guess at the uniformity of the fullness. Measure the work off in sections, pinning the gathered piece at each section. By so doing you will avoid ruffles that are too full in one place and too skimpy in another.

In many laces, such as Valenciennes, Torchon, etc., there will be found a thread close to the top which takes the place of a gathering thread, and by which the fullness can be arranged with great exactness.

As it is important that the pattern in lace should show, it should be borne in mind that it requires very little fullness, except at the corners.

Materials. - The materials required are: A piece of muslin one-half yard long and five inches wide; needles, "sharps"; cotton; scissors; tape measure.

1.   Mark with cross-stitches the half and quarter of your material the same as in other gathering.

2.   Hold the right or wrong side towards you, according as you will sew the ruffle when finished, to the right or wrong side of your cloth.

3.   Gather with ordinary running stitches, taking as many stitches on the needle as possible, and if the material is such as would require placing or stroking, press them up against the thimble before drawing it through.

4.   When doing practical work, never gather more than one-fourth of the entire ruffle on one thread.

5.   Place the gathers, if necessary, and arrange them to suit the place they are to occupy.