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How to Sew Your Own Clothes: Garment Construction

Gathering Seam...How to gather fabric by hand sewing a running stitch.

A garment showing gathering at the bodice top area.

A garment showing gathering at the bodice top area.

Learn how to gather by the hand stitching method.

Learn how to gather fabric by the hand baste stitching method.

     There are several ways to gather fabric. Below is the oldest method which is an easy hand basting technique. It is also known as a running stitch. This is a quick and easy way to gather fabric by hand. Here are two other methods of gathering fabric:

How to gather fabric by machine zigzag.

How to machine baste to gather fabric.

Cut a 4" X 8" piece of fabric to practice on.

Learn how to gather by hand stitching.

Thread your needle and tie a knot at the end. Make sure the thread is long enough.

With the point of the needle take a small or short stitch forward and then carry the needle back and forth in an up and down motion traveling to the left. 

Learn the gathering stitch.

Make 3 or 4 steps before you bring up the needle and thread. The stitches should be small but not too small as you want them to gather.

Repeat until you are at the end of the fabric.

The running stitch made by hand can also be the gathering stitch.

This what your row of hand gathering will look like. This is also called hand basting.

Learn to gather fabric by hand stitching.

Here is what your fabric will look like when it is gathered. Keep in mind when sewing your gathered piece for garment making to keep your gathering as even as possible for the most professional look. This does take some practice and time.

See other methods of gathering fabric to compare which method works best for you:

How to gather fabric by machine zigzag.

How to machine baste to gather fabric.


    Gathering plays an important part in garment shaping and making. Many handmade clothes include gathering.  With this method, your gathering can be smooth and even.  You control where the gathers go.  Your goal should be that your gathering looks even.  This give the most professional look.


Two Favorite Sewing & Dress Making Books We Use Here at Love to Sew Studio Are:

Love to Sew Studio Loves Chic & Simple Sewing book.

Christine Haynes book "Chic & Simple Sewing." This is our all-time favorite sewing book to use for beginners to intermediate students in our studio, and full size patterns are included. This book is filled with adorable easy to sew dresses, skirts, and more for the modern hip girl!


Love to Sew Studio Loves "Twinkle Sews" book.

We also have Wenlan Chia's  "Twinkle Sews" in our studio. It's definitely for the more advance student though! The patterns are on a disk and you can print them right on your own computer. We love her designs and youthful spirit in her collection of 25 pieces of clothing to make in this book.


Click here for Photos of Handmade Garments using a Gathering seam


Methods on How to Sew Your Own Clothes - Garment Construction

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