Stitch Selection Savvy – Basting Stitch Gathering

The ‘bubble’ on my granddaughter’s Bubble Skirt
was accomplished by gathering one larger fabric panel to a smaller fabric panel.

Gathering is a basic sewing technique that most of us learn early in our sewing journey.
There is, however, more than one way to gather.
The most common method is to stitch one row, or two parallel rows,
of a basting stitch without securing the ends of the row(s).
In this sample, I used just one row of basting.

Basting stitch runs along the bottom of this sample
Knot one end of the basting row.

Pull the bobbin thread from the unknotted end and you can manually gather the row of stitching.
Of course, you will have to adjust the gathers so they are evenly spaced.

That’s the tried and true, basic method to gather fabric, but let’s move on to other options.
This is a gathering foot.
The basting stitch is still the stitch of choice when using this presser foot.

So why, you ask, bother with a special foot such as this?
The difference is that the fabric gathers while you are stitching on your machine.
The amount of gather is dependent on the fabric,
whether or not you stitch with the grain line, or across the grain,
and on the length of your stitch.
The longer your stitch length, the more gathers you achieve.
The gathers are again manually adjusted so they are even.
This sample row was started with a basting stitch length of (6 mm) which I then shortened to 3 mm.
Notice there is more gathering at the start where I used 6mm length and less gathering with the 3 mm length.
Using a basting stitch to gather fabric is not limited to the sewing machine.
One final option that I would like to share
is how I achieved the gathering on the aforementioned bubble skirt.


This one was accomplished using my serger.
It is the same technique as when using the gathering foot for the sewing machine,
but simply use your standard serger presser foot,
increase the differential feed setting,
and increase the stitch length (again, the longer the stitch the more the gathers).
When you’re done serging, you can still manually adjust the amount
of gathering by pulling on the needle threads only.

If you have other methods of using the basting stitch to gather,
please share them in the comment section.
I love learning new techniques.

Happy sewing, my friends.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.