When I posted my how-to for my valentine wreath, I had a comment that some pictures of the gathering process I used would be helpful. There are a LOT of tutorials in the craft blogosphere for gathering fabric (in fact, Disney over at ~Ruffles and Stuff~ just posted about a fantastic one today!). But this is how I do gathers when I'm in a hurry AND it doesn't matter if they're not too consistent. If I'm gathering for aprons, for instance, or throw pillows or ANYTHING where I need the resulting length to be specific, I use a different method. Maybe I'll post a tute for that when I get around to making some throw pillow covers!
But when I'm gathering for something like my wreath project, where I can afford to just wing it, this is the fast-and-dirty method I use for gathering.
First, cut your fabric into strips. Lately I've been favoring this tutorial. Jona wrote it for binding, but I use it for anything that I'll need a long thin strip for. That way I don't have to sew a bunch of strips together. Her tutorial is specifically for a fat quarter, but I've used it for a fat quarter, a half yard, and a half cut vertically from a whole yard. Her instructions are very good with great illustrations, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask me. This is the nearly nine yards of 3-inch-wide fabric I got from my whole yard cut in half vertically (so, essentially a fat half?).
So, once you have your strip of material, pick an end to start with and do a few back stitches. I'm not sure why. My mom just taught me to always start and stop with back stitches. :)
Next, use your fingers on the material on either side of the presser foot to scrunch the fabric in front of the presser foot toward the needle:
Now you can sew three or four (or more) stitches to feed that gathered section through the presser foot.
Now do the next few inches:
This is what it looks like after just those two steps:
Rinse, wash, and repeat. This is what it looks like after you've done a few feet:
Once you get into a rhythm, this is a nice quick way to gather on the fly! Please ask if there's something here that's unclear. I'm new at writing these tutorials, but I want to get better!
Teaser: This is the material for my Valentine-to-St.-Patty's-Day wreath transformation which I will try to post about tomorrow.
*Edited to add that I'm linking to these parties: