Sewing: The technique of making ruffles by bunching up a longer piece of fabric and sewing it to a shorter one.

Many sewing projects assume you already know how to gather, and give pretty cursory instructions. Below is a detailed, step by step description of the process.

To gather, you will need two pieces of fabric of different lengths. The longer one, which I will call piece A, will become the ruffle. The shorter one, piece B, is the thing you want to attach a ruffle to. Both are assumed to include a seam allowance.

  1. Find the midpoint and quarter points of both pieces. Make a small cut at each of those points - just enough that you'll be able to find them again.
  2. Reduce the thread tension on your sewing machine. Your stitches should look normal on top, but on the bottom they should be a set of loops with the bobbin thread running through them.
  3. Turn piece A right side up and sew two parallel lines of stitching along the edge to be gathered, keeping well within the seam allowance. Don't cross the lines of stitching, or the whole thing won't work. When you get to the end, don't backstitch. Leave long threads on each end of the stitching.
  4. Lay pieces A and B together, right sides together, so that the mid- and quarter-points match up. Pin them at the ends of the stitching and at the points you've just lined up. A will have lots of extra fabric between each pin.
  5. On one end of the stitching you've just done, wrap the bobbin threads around the end pin.
  6. Now for the tricky part. On the other end of the line of stitching, gently pull the bobbin threads. As piece A starts to pucker, feed the gathers through the pinned areas until the A and B are the same length.
  7. Wrap the bobbin threads you've just been pulling on around the pin at the end of the gather.
  8. Pin the gathers every inch or so, ensuring the puckering is evenly distributed.
  9. Re-adjust your thread tension to normal stitching.
  10. Keeping piece A up, carefully sew the two pieces together along the seam allowance. Before removing any pins, turn the whole thing over and look at piece B. If you've stitched down any extra folds or tucks by accident, unpick that area with your seam ripper and re-stitch.
  11. Unpin (make sure you get all the pins out...they hide really well in gathers!), pull out all the loose threads, and press. You'll want to iron both sides of the seam toward piece B, because the gathered bit doesn't fold that well.

Congratulations, you've just made a ruffle. You can use your new skills to make curtains, skirts, and foppish shirts.

Gath"er (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Gathered (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Gathering.] [OE. gaderen, AS. gaderian, gadrian, fr. gador, geador, together, fr. gaed fellowship; akin to E. good, D. gaderen to collect, G. gatte husband, MHG. gate, also companion, Goth. gadiliggs a sister's son. &root;29. See Good, and cf. Together.]


To bring together; to collect, as a number of separate things, into one place, or into one aggregate body; to assemble; to muster; to congregate.

And Belgium's capital had gathered them Her beauty and her chivalry. Byron.

When he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together. Matt. ii. 4.


To pick out and bring together from among what is of less value; to collect, as a harvest; to harvest; to cull; to pick off; to pluck.

A rose just gathered from the stalk. Dryden.

Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Matt. vii. 16.

Gather us from among the heathen. Ps. cvi. 47.


To accumulate by collecting and saving little by little; to amass; to gain; to heap up.

He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor. Prov. xxviii. 8.

To pay the creditor . . . he must gather up money by degrees. Locke.


To bring closely together the parts or particles of; to contract; to compress; to bring together in folds or plaits, as a garment; also, to draw together, as a piece of cloth by a thread; to pucker; to plait; as, to gather a ruffle.

Gathering his flowing robe, he seemed to stand In act to speak, and graceful stretched his hand. Pope.


To derive, or deduce, as an inference; to collect, as a conclusion, from circumstances that suggest, or arguments that prove; to infer; to conclude.

Let me say no more Gather the sequel by that went before. Shak.


To gain; to win.


He gathers ground upon her in the chase. Dryden.

7. Arch.

To bring together, or nearer together, in masonry, as where the width of a fireplace is rapidly diminished to the width of the flue, or the like.

8. Naut.

To haul in; to take up; as, to gather the slack of a rope.

To be gathered to one's people or to one's fathers to die. Gen. xxv. 8. -- To gather breath, to recover normal breathing after being out of breath; to get breath; to rest. Spenser. -- To gather one's self together, to collect and dispose one's powers for a great effort, as a beast crouches preparatory to a leap. -- To gather way Naut., to begin to move; to move with increasing speed.


© Webster 1913.

Gath"er (?), v. i.


To come together; to collect; to unite; to become assembled; to congregate.

When small humors gather to a gout. Pope.

Tears from the depth of some divine despair Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes. Tennyson.


To grow larger by accretion; to increase.

Their snowball did not gather as it went. Bacon.


To concentrate; to come to a head, as a sore, and generate pus; as, a boil has gathered.


To collect or bring things together.

Thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strewed. Matt. xxv. 26.


© Webster 1913.

Gath"er, n.


A plait or fold in cloth, made by drawing a thread through it; a pucker.

2. Carriage Making

The inclination forward of the axle journals to keep the wheels from working outward.

3. Arch.

The soffit or under surface of the masonry required in gathering. See Gather, v. t., 7.


© Webster 1913.

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