The Gathering

It is no mystery to me why the 2003 movie titled, The Gathering, was a horror movie. I do not enjoy horror movies and I do not enjoy gathering. Cartridge pleating is such a neat, orderly, precise process. But for some applications, and for most ruffles, it’s just too much.

Since I had hand sewn 6 feet of ruffles for the 42″ circumference slip for my Huret, I just had to break down and gather.

Here is where I should be giving you instructions and easy steps to perfect gathers. But, if there are any, I don’t know them.

Whether sewing machine gathers (my daughter was once a little girl) or sewing them by hand, I never truly feel that I’m in control of the process. I am very happy that SG is not into ruffles.

I always stitch 2 rows of gathering stitches, neatly divide the area to be gathered on both the ruffle and the base garment and copiously pin. But part of the gathered bit ALWAYS gets folded under or the gathers bunch up or any number of mishaps plague the process.

I just have to force myself to let go and sew. Gathers will NEVER be perfect. If anything really goes wrong, I know I’ll have to go back and fix certain parts.

The ruffle on my Huret’s slip is done.

I do, however, have some suggestions on how to finish the raw seam:


  • You can do like I did and press the seam allowances toward the slip and top stitch just above the fold.


I now need to clip away the excess fabric on the inside, just above the stitching line, with my appliqué scissors.


The flat blade helps prevent snipping into the main fabric when trimming. I’ve done it before and it truly sucks.

  • You can leave a large seam allowance (1/2″ or more) and fold under the excess fabric and stitch it flat.


  • You can cover the raw edges with twill tape, seam tape or ribbon. This requires two lines of stitching, one on top of your gathering stitches and one at the top edge of the tape/ribbon. It does give a very neat finish, though and the bulk helps make the bottom of the slip stand out. (You could even insert a wire under the tape to make into a hooped skirt.)
  • Or you can stitch the gathers to the flat fabric with a modified french seam. I’ve done it before, but it is tricky. And I don’t need gathering to get any trickier.

Now I get to cartridge pleat the top edge of the slip to the waistband. Nice, orderly, neat cartridge pleating. Aaah.

I’ll show you the finished slip when I’m done.

BTW, I wasn’t the winning bidder on the A. Marque doll in the beautiful, 17th-century inspired costume. I didn’t bid at all. She sold for $280,000, plus buyers’ premium. That’s more than we paid for our house.


The Gathering — 2 Comments

  1. Love your site, information that is down to earth and entertaining as well. I can identify with many of your experiences!
    susan dunham

    • Thank you for your kind comments. I’ve been AWOL most of the summer and am trying to motivate myself to get back to writing and creating. Soon…