The Gathering Foot

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A Gathering Foot (Bernina #16) allows you to gather your fabric quickly and
easily in a one step-process. Gathering feet can be used for many different purposes, and are fairly simple to use.

There are two main techniques with everyday applications:
1) Standard Gathering which can be used for stand-alone trims (which can be sewn on at a later time to a project)
2) Gathering Fabric and Sewing it to a flat piece of fabric in one step. With this second technique you can add flouncy edging to a skirt or apron.

Here is how to accomplish standard gathering:
1) Press and Starch Fabric
2) Align the first edge of the fabric with the right-hand edge of the gathering foot as shown (however, depending on where you would like your gathers to be for your trim you can place it on either side or in the center):

3) Set your machine to straight stitch and, depending on the frequency of gathers desired, increase or decrease stitch length (be sure not to adjust width for this technique!) (Stitch length smaller – less frequent gathers; Stitch Length Longer – more frequent gathers)
4) Lower Presser Foot, and begin sewing until you reach the end of the strip. When finished, your strip should look something like this: (this example shows the maximum amount of gathers you can accomplish with the gathering foot (Bernina #16), so don’t worry if yours does not look like this, it just depends on what you set your stitch length to.)

To attach a flat strip to a gathered strip of fabric follow these steps:

1) Press and Starch both strips of fabric that you are using
2) Place the strip of fabric you would like to be gathered underneath the foot “pretty side up”, and lined up with the right side of the foot so it looks like this:

3) Using the hand-wheel on the right side of your sewing machine, turn the knob towards you until the needle takes two stitches. By the time you do that it will look like this:

4) Slide the strip of fabric you want to be flat “pretty side down” and place it inside the slot in the left side of the gathering foot. Lean it up against the needle and ease the strip in with the hand-wheel taking stitches until it looks like this:

5) Carefully begin stitching taking the end of the top strip and lifting it to the ceiling, and leaning it towards the right so it stays butted up against the inside of the foot. It will look like this:

6) Sew until the end of both strips, making sure that each strip stays lined up with each other. The finished project will look like this!:

At first the gathering foot can seem a little tricky, but after following these pictures and tips gathering techniques will be a snap! Thank you so much for letting me share my knowledge about the gathering foot with you! Until next week!

2 Responses to “The Gathering Foot”

  1. DawnNo Gravatar says:

    Mine attempts don’t work…keeps going astray. The bottom and top separate and the stitching creeps away …help!

  2. going batty!No Gravatar says:

    Just like with many sewing techniques, you “have to be the boss”:) It takes some practice to be able to hold the two layers apart from each other and allow them to feed at different rates. Sewing too slowly will make it even harder. Try starting the bottom gathered layer first and stop with the needle in the down position. Next, add the top flat layer and hand walk the needle into the fabric by turning the hand wheel toward you for a few stitches to catch the two layers together. Sew at at moderate speed while guiding the bottom fabric with one hand (don’t pull on it, it needs to be able to feed fabric into the gathers), and holding the top layer up in the other hand. If you need more help let us know and we will post a video:)

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