Last term in my clothes making class I found out why my gathers never really worked. Although I may be the only one who didn’t realise how to do them properly I thought I would share with you what I learnt!
I am using a sleeve from my Mum’s maternity top to demonstrate.
The three stars show where the tailors tacks are. To create a gather, you need to sew two lines (not one as I had previously thought) of long stitches, without reverse stitching the start or finish of each line. This is known as basting (another thing that I thought only applies to turkey’s at Christmas for quite a long time :-)).
These lines of stitching should be between the left and right tailors tacks. They should also be within the seam allowance (normally 1.5cm on commercial patterns).
To create the gathers, you take hold of the threads at one end of the stitching and gently pull them. You can spread the gathers evenly using your fingers or a pin. By sewing two lines of stitching, the gathers lie much flatter and therefore sit better when you join them with another piece of the garment, in this case the sleeve joining the sleeve hole (not sure that’s a technical term!).
I hope that’s helpful to anyone else who, like me, was only doing one line of gather stitches, and then finding it very difficult to make them look nice!