There is the usual way to gather – sew a row, pull a thread – but there are easier ways.

The first way is to give yourself a very definate thread that is very easy to pull. To do this you just use the zigzag stitch and a piece of something like crochet cotton. You can use a bright colour to make it easier to see as you will probably get rid of it when you sew the gathered part to the band or whatever it is you are going to attach it to. Here is a video to demonstrate. Click here (will open in a new window)

Another, even easier way is to use a piece of elastic. For example, if you are attaching a skirt to a band and you want the top of the skirt gathered evenly, cut a piece of elastic UNSTRETCHED the length of the band. Then spread the elastic evenly along the bit to be gathered, using pins to hold at 4 places and stretch the elastic as you sew to take up the material. Here is another demonstration Click here (will open in a new window)

The finished dress (nothing special, just made to test my pattern)
cross front dress test

Sewing Tips (in a bundle)

In no particular order, and I’ll add to them when I think of it.

* In woodworking there is a saying “measure twice, cut once”. That goes for sewing too. I’d even expand on it – “the cost of the material is in direct proportion to the number of times you measure”.

* If your material is very expensive and the event is very important take the time to make the whole outfit in a cheap cotton first – to make sure it’s perfect.

* Buy cheap material for tests from second hand shops – cheap sheets do the trick!

* If you don’t have an overlockers (serger to some) people always say “never mind, you can use your sewing machine”. I’m going to say “save up and buy one. You will see why when you use it.” If you are in Australia Spotlight often has 30% off everything in the store – wait until then and go buy one. BUT if you can afford it go to a specialist sewing shop and pay as much as you can for the best brand. But any overlocker is better then none.

* Buy the best cotton you can afford. Cheap cotton breaks – as does old cotton (yes, it has a use by date!)

* Same with scissors. Treat yourself and buy a pair that isn’t disposable. You can have them sharpened at your local sewing repair shop.

* Make friends with your local sewing machine shop!

* Change your needles every 8 hours of sewing! If your machine starts jumping stitches – change your needle. Don’t just change them when they break.

The trouble with tips…

The trouble with tips is
A. working out what order to put them in
B. finding the time to write them.

I’m usually either sewing, cutting out or out buying sewing supplies. When I am on the computer I’m usually distracted by a new pattern I just HAVE to make RIGHT THAT SECOND!

So I’ve decided I better make a start on my sewing tips – even if it’s just for me to look back on when I forget something.

I’m not going to worry too much about what order to put them in. As long as they are here somewhere!