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 (available at HomeSew.com or eBay.com; a similar product used in fly-tying, Hareline Scud Back, is available in several colors at AvidMax.com). 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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