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The Secret to Couture Gathering

Threads, Issue #209 June/July 2020
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Whether in ruffles, at skirt waistlines, or in the caps of puffy sleeves, gathers are used in subtle or dramatic ways to add volume, shape, and interest. There’s nothing lovelier when they’re beautifully formed, and there’s nothing worse than poorly made gathers. They can spoil an otherwise carefully sewn garment. A properly made set of gathers has uniform fabric folds, evenly aligned and distributed along the attachment seam. There are no unwanted tucks or pleats, and no folds are noticeably wider or narrower than the others.

To create nice gathers, take the time to apply some extra steps. They are not difficult, but you’ll find they make all the difference in the quality of your results. Your garments will look better than professional—they’ll display the beauty of truly couture work.

Plan the desired effect

Bias-cut silk taffeta forms voluminous ruffles when gathered closely.


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