Don't you hate running two gathering stitch lines to get nice gathers? Me too. I found an old class instruction sheet from years ago when I first learned to use my machine. Wanna know what was in the packet? Yep, an easier way to run gathers. I had totally forgotten it!
This has to be the easiest way ever to create perfect gathers. I thought I would share it with you. I'm working on this bag and used this method to get the gathers on the ruffle you see below. Notice I used a contrasting thread, so it also acts as decoration?
Okay, so here we go. First, determine how long/wide the piece is you want to gather. For my purposes, I wanted roughly 17". See below. This is my lining piece for my bag, and I'm gathering the bottom to attach to the bottom piece of the bag.
Next, grab your top and bobbin threads and pull them out about 2" more than your width. In my case, I pulled them out about 19".
Now slide your work under your presser foot and keep both threads pulled out in front as shown. Make certain you line up your stitches inside the seam allowance. You don't want them showing when you make your final stitches.
Now set your machine for a zigzag stitch. I have a Viking and set my stitch length at 1.5 and width at 4. You want to be sure your needle swings OVER the threads. If you catch them, it won't work. Don't catch the threads. Take a few stitches then make sure your threads sit right in the middle of your presser foot.
When you reach the end, pull the piece from under your presser foot and cut the threads you used to stitch with. DO NOT CUT THE THREADS YOU'VE PULLED IN FRONT. THOSE ARE YOUR GATHERING THREADS. You want to get those others out of the way though, because it gets confusing trying to figure out which ones to pull when they are all bunched up together.
And there you have it! Perfect gathers, and you didn't break any string. How easy was that??
Here is what it looks like from the back side after I basted my piece in place. I'm pointing to my gathering stitches. Notice they are in my seam allowance?
These are fantastic if you are doing puffing on sleeves for heirloom sewing.