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How to Sew Your Own Clothes: Garment Construction

Gathering Seam...How to gather fabric by a machine baste stitch.

How to gather fabric by machine baste stitch.

A garment showing gathering at the bodice top area.

Learn how to gather fabric by a machine baste stitch.

Learn how to gather fabric by a machine baste stitch.

     There are several ways to gather fabric. Machine basting is a quick and easy method. It is done much faster than hand sewing. This method can be used on light to medium weight fabrics. The down fall to this method is the thread can easily break while pulling it to gather. The upside is it does not create a thick zigzag stitch like the machine zigzag gather method does. Here are two other methods of gathering fabric:

How to gather fabric by machine zigzag.

How to hand baste to gather fabric.

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

Place your machine setting at the longest stitch length possible. Leave your thread long.

Do not back-stitch at the beginning or when you are done sewing the seam. Stitch down the seam. Since this is practice, we are stitching down the middle of the fabric. You will want to stitch using the pressure foot as your guide when you are gathering for making a garment.

This is what your machine basting seam should look like when you are done. Remember DO NOT cut the threads at either end.

Gently pull one thread. It does not matter which one. Pull the fabric with your fingers as you pull the thread to gather.

It's that easy.

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

How to gather fabric by machine zigzag. (For stronger fabrics.)

How to hand 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.


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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