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Tips & Techniques > Easy Gathers

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Posted by: GorgeousFabrics

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Member since: 8/12/02
Reviews written: 63
Sewing skills:Expert/Couture
Favored by: 254 people
tips added: 23
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Posted on: 4/29/03 12:04 PM
Last Updated: 5/30/14 9:39 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 4 people   Very Helpful by 27 people   
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comocosews said...
I agree, this works very well.
4/30/03 11:03 PM
Debspuncturedthumb said...
Ann, I just love to look at your lovely creations and this dental floss technique is a favorite-so many uses for dental floss, even sewing a chicken! LOL! Anyway, here's how ruffling was taught back in the 1920's: (the originating site is and this lesson is part of a 56 chapter dressmaking course from that time.) Enjoy!
4/30/03 11:24 PM
Diane Yaghoobian said...
Nancy Zieman uses a similar trick, pulling up the bobbin thread with a first stitch, then pulling top and bottom threads to length and zig-zagging over them, using the pulled out threads as you are using the floss. When you are running low on bobbin, and ruffling uses a lot anyway, this would be a much better option - if you keep a good bit of floss handy!
5/22/03 9:59 PM
Ann C said...
I learned this one a long time ago from Sandra Betzina's HGTV show and it works well. Cuts down on worries over the gathering threads breaking.
6/12/03 10:56 PM
Diana M said...
I just "learned" that this is way easier if you work with the wrong side of the fabric up -- different for me since I've usually pulled the bobbin threads for gathering. Great tip!
5/4/04 3:49 AM
alicia said...
Thank you, thank you, thank you!! This saved me when I was doing my daughters' flower girl dress (Vogue 7681) for my cousins' wedding - I had to gather the liner, underskirt and overskirt to attach to the bodice and was pulling my hair out trying to do it the "regular" way w/2 lines of stitching. I am so grateful for this forum. I used a heavy-duty thread I have for canvas and leatherwork since I didn't have tooth floss handy - worked nicely. THANKS!!
6/18/04 8:38 PM
Nancy Anne said...
Hey Ann- I had always heard of doing this over twine, and never had twine, so never tried it. Dental floss is a great idea! Why didn't I think of that?
1/8/05 10:26 AM
Quazeekat Designs - Barb said...
What a terrific idea. I am making some girls' dresses with a layers of ruffles. It's been sooooo long since I have done this, I needed a refresher course! Thank You! Barb
2/14/05 11:58 AM
Leslie in Austin said...
Genius idea, Ann, and one that I use every time my gathering foot lets me down!
5/31/05 5:53 PM
kellyhogaboom said...
I was going to post this tip myself, but did a search to see if it had been posted. It is a great tip and easier than it sounds - the floss kinda feeds itself right down the middle! I have found it saves time and yes, is easier on the fabric. Thanks for posting!
6/26/05 5:54 PM
Tailypo said...
Anne, I am planning on doing some gathers on a dress this evening and stumbled upon this tip quite by accident this morning -- thanks for saving me a big headache! (The pattern I am using is vintage and recommends using buttonhole twist in the bobbin, which I thought was clever -- but not as clever as this!)
8/12/06 12:46 PM
Shazza B said...
If you have a cording foot on your machine this is even easier. Just put the dental floss/cording through the centre guide and you don't have to worry about accidentally stitching through it.
1/16/07 9:06 AM
regine said...
I have just used your tip and it is brilliant, thank you very much.
4/26/07 12:46 PM
aniquecreatives said...
absolutely brilliant!! an eye-opener
8/30/07 9:16 AM
Klinkerpopper said...
I tried this out today and it worked like a charm! It was the easiest gathering I have ever done! Finally a use for the Costco size box dental floss I bought a year ago.
10/17/07 3:42 AM
tanroc75 said...
Thanks a bunch for this tip! Gathering has become not so favorite to me! The double row of stitching tends to break and I am left with sewing and resewing the double rows again and again! I am definately going to try this.
7/3/09 9:52 AM
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