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Tips & Techniques > Gathers with clear elastic

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Posted by: Debbie Lancaster
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About Debbie Lancaster star
CA United States
Member since: 9/18/02
Reviews written: 69
Sewing skills:Intermediate
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tips added: 26
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Posted on: 2/15/04 9:09 AM
Review Rating: Very Helpful by 11 people   
IIRC, I read this in a Nancy Zieman book. This produces perfectly even gathers. Cut a piece of clear elastic exactly the length you desire for the gathers (for example, the exact width of a bodice, front and back) plus two inches. Mark the one inch point on each end with indelible ink (the tails will be your holding points when you start to sew). Then, using the one-inch marks on the ends as the starting points, mark fourths, eights, or sixteenths (or even thirty-seconds) with indelible ink. Pin mark the skirt in the same increments. Pin the elastic to the skirt using the marks, with the one-inch marks as the starting and ending points. Secure them by sewing them down at the marks. Stretch the elastic from point to point and sew down around the skirt using a short zigzag stitch. The elastic will shrink to its original length. Then pin the skirt to the bodice and stitch together.

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Hilary said...
hmm I may have to try this. I always have a time getting even gathers~ this sounds fast and easy. Thanks for the tip!
2/16/04 4:22 PM
SewingSusan said...
great tip!, what kind of clear elastic? what width?
2/17/04 8:47 AM
Debbie Lancaster said...
I've used both 1/4" and 3/8", depending on what's available. They work about equally well.
2/17/04 1:46 PM
Lisa Laree said...
Debbie, this is one of my favorite techniques for little girls knit dresses -- the waistline seams never pop! Thanks for posting it!
2/17/04 5:59 PM
J_J said...
This tip sounds too easy to be true. I'll have to try it with my next project that needs gathers.
2/25/04 11:51 AM
alyssa said...
Before sewing the clear elastic on, make sure to stretch it on your hands a few times. It will become somewhat longer then it's original length, but after that it will not "grow" anymore.this tip also comes from Nancy.
2/25/04 8:39 PM
SewVeryTall said...
Great tip, I use it too. The clear elastic is handy for so many things, and adds no bulk to projects.
3/2/04 12:02 PM
RubyRose said...
thankyou so much! this is indeed helpful! would it still work with normal elastic? i am using a heavy-ish fabric do may need to use a slightly more heavy duty elastic
5/29/09 12:00 PM
Debbie Lancaster said...
RubyRose, regular elastic won't return to its original length, while clear elastic does pretty much. Sew-through woven or knitted elastic stretches out and doesn't return to its original length, so you'd have to experiment.
5/30/09 11:35 AM
PureJoy said...
Thank you this will be helpful for many of my projects
1/11/14 12:18 PM
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