I have discovered an easy way to gather. I bought a new serger (Juki MO654-DE). I bought a foot for it to use for fish line hems, and decided it would work for gathering. I have a cone of upholstery weight thread I use for gathering. I ran this tread thru the hole in the cording foot. I swung the cutting blade away and serged with long stitches over the upholstery thread. Be sure to secure one end of pull-thread and start pulling to gather at opposite end. It gathers very smoothly and quickly with this method.
I figured out this method just in time for all these gathers. It saves a lot of time!