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Reader Tip: Gather with Clear Elastic

Photo: Mike Yamin

This reader-submitted tip was originally featured in Threads #190 (April/May 2017).

I devised a gathering technique that produces the most even results I've ever gotten. With a wide and long zigzag, I stitch within the seam allowance. I let the stitch's left swing land on the seamline.

Then I thread a blunt, large-eyed sewing or tapestry needle with 1⁄8-inch-wide clear elastic (by Lastin/Mobilon, sold at or; a similar product used in fly-tying, Hareline Scud Back, is available in several colors at I run the elastic under the zigzag stitching. When I reach the end, I remove the needle, leaving a 1-inch tail of elastic, and machine-stitch it down. Then I pull the other end until the fabric is sufficiently gathered. I machine-stitch the elastic end and cut off the excess (there's often enough left for another project). The gathers are perfectly distributed without bulk.

-Claudia Utley, Little Rock, Arkansas

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Comments (2)

Dominikafanya Dominikafanya writes: I live stitching & I will try this technique next time!
Posted: 1:12 am on May 25th

Degarots Degarots writes: Good Work!
This is exactly what I needed. This technique is good for designer clothing

Posted: 2:27 am on March 17th

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