How To Gather Knit Fabric

Gathering knit is possible using different techniques, which we have explained here. It is so easy that you would not like to go ahead with the traditional method anymore.

Some people use the traditional method, but it does not stretch the seam, making it hard to get on. In this guide, we will discuss various ways to gather knit fabric.

After reading through it, you can follow any process and start with the technique.

How To Gather Knit Fabric?

People who are finding it difficult to gather cloth using the usual method should read this guide. We have tried to introduce the steps most simply so our readers can understand them.

Be with us throughout the guide; otherwise, you cannot understand the entire procedure. Take a look!

Method 1: The Basic Method

Step 1: Take out a piece of elastic to the finished length that you want to gather. If you want to add a ruffle to a bodice, you will cut it to the bodice’s circumference.

Step 2: Several times, stretch the cloth and verify the length twice and cut if required.

Step 3: Divide the fabric into quarters and mark them and match the mark on fabric to elastic.

Step 4: The cloth gathers in between, which you must pin using safety pins. Use a straight or zigzag stitch to secure the first end.

Step 6: Complete the task by backstitching quite a few times and before doing a check if the elastic is within the seam allowance.

Step 7: In that case, there is no need to unpick or remove after the process is over.

Step 8: You must stitch the elastic by stretching between the marks. After that, leave 6 mm in the end and try to overlap the ends.

Step 9: While stitching over, you will find the elastic will stretch out. Thus, you have to adjust the length by overlapping, so it looks great.

Step 10: It is how the knit fabric is gathered, and if you do not find this to be an easy one, you can check the next method.

Method 2: The Easiest And Fastest Way By Machine

Step 1: On the fabric’s right side, you can stitch two rows inside the seam allowance. While doing this, do not forget to leave a long tail of 10 cm at both ends.

Step 2: Do not backstitch at any of the ends and get the bobbin thread on the fabric’s wrong side.

Step 3: Pull gently by gathering it towards the center from both ends. After it has gathered to the correct length, you must tie and cut the extra thread by using a scissor.

Step 4: Adjust the gathers so that they are spaced uniformly and by using an iron, press the gathers.

Step 5: You will find that it flattens faster and gives a finer look. While stitching a flat fabric with the gathered fabric, you must keep it the wrong side up.

Step 6: After that, pin it around the edge while backstitching at the ends. Stitch using the normal seam and ensure it does not get caught in the presser foot.

Step 7: With that, you have completed the entire process, and it is the easiest and fastest method by the machine.

Method 3: The Professional Way

Step 1: Here, three rows of gatherings are taken to offer finer gathers and extra control.

Step 2: The first layer will start from the inner side of the sea, allowance, and the second is on it.

Step 3: The third one is on the outer part of the seam allowance, and after the entire process is done, you can remove it.

Step 4: While joining the straight fabric piece with the ruffle, stitch from the outer side of the center gathering row.

Step 5: As you open the ruffle, you will find the third row of gathering is not there. While doing so, you must ensure to use a long stitch, and at the end, you can pull them out.

Method 4: Gathering By Hand

Step 1: To use together, you must thread two needles and use these to create two parallel rows for stitching.

Step 2: Considering the length of gather, the thread length should be more. It is done to create a room to adjust gathers by pulling the thread.

Step 3: Pick up the fabric and use a thinner one. For ultimate accuracy, try using dots as it helps to guide the needle. It also helps in stitching across the length.

Step 4: Two rows need to be stitched using a running stitch, and it is the basic one. Being coordinated, you can thread two needles, but it may not be possible for the first time.

Step 5: So, the easiest way would be to stitch one row, and after that, the second one.

Step 6: Take the thread out gently without creating any damage to the fabric.

Step 7: After pulling the thread, you are done if you are happy with the effect. Try to finish it using a double back stitch securing gathers.

Step 8: After that, complete it and attach it to the garment by gathering it to the correct length.

Step 9: Fit the fabric to the particular area and keep it loose or tight according to the needs.

Method 5: Gathering With Cord

Step 1: If gathering thicker fabrics, you must use this method. Here pulling the bobbin cases and two long rows of stitches will not work.

Step 2: Even if you try to do so, the threads will break, so go with this choice. Cut the cord of 10 cm length to gather your knit fabric.

Step 3: Set the machine to zigzag stitch with a width of 3, 5, or 6. Start zigzagging, leaving a tail of 5 cm over the floss.

Step 4: The stitches need to be at the inner side of the seam allowance and ensure you do not catch the cord.

Step 5: By winding the cord, you must use the cord around a pin and pull the cord slowly.

Step 6: After that, you must knot the other end and cut the extra thread while distributing uniformly.

Step 7: Using a straight stitch, you must sew the entire thing that will help to hold gathers in place. Take out the cord after backstitching on both ends.

Step 8: While doing so, if some stitches get caught up, you do not have to worry. It will get under the seam allowance, so nothing will be visible.

Method 6: Gathering With A Serger

Step 1: Are you new to serger and want to know how the process is done? It is a perfect method for medium-weight fabric.

Step 2: It can be done on flat ruffles also where there is no need to maintain any precision in length.

Step 3: Here, you can work with a specific gathering ratio and cut the test strip of 25 cm.

Step 4: Do it using a serger by measuring the new length, and if it is 5 inches now, it should have a 1:2 gathers ratio.

Step 5: To maintain the desired ratio, make the necessary adjustments. After you complete gathering using a serger, adjusting the stitches is difficult.

Step 6: Test rigorously to find the correct amount of gathering first. You must fix the serger to a four-thread machine, and for that, you will require four cones of thread to complete the gathering.

Step 7: By using two needles, start gathering using a serger and tighten the tension of the needle.

Step 8: It is for tightening the tension of the needle and not looper one. The increased tension will allow the cloth to gather.

Step 9: Tighten the tension to a high number by turning the needle. In some machines, the wheel can be at the front, while others at the back.

Step 10: After that, tighten the differential feed by setting it to a higher number. It can be from 0.5 to 2.5, and 1 is fine for normal serging.

Step 11: It is generally present on the right side of the machine, and if you do not find one, you must check the manual.

Step 12: Along the edge, you have to guide the serger, and with that, the machine will continue with the work.

Step 13: After sewing, remember to trim the edges and avoid exceeding the seam allowance.

Hopefully, by following one of the methods explained above, you can gather knit fabric. But make sure to check the fabric you are using while gathering.

Is Gathering By Hand Effective Or the Stitches Will Come Out?

Gathering by hand is effective, provided you do the stitches by following the above procedure. It might take a little longer time but will give a finer look.

What Are The Methods Available For Gathering Knit Fabric?

The methods available are gathering with elastic, gathering with cord, gathering with a serger, etc. The processes are explained here, so you can go with anyone.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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