In this blog, we’ve talked about the technique of gathering fabric in a number of ways, but what if gathering the fabric is just too much for what you want as an end result in your project? What if you want a hint of gathering without the tucks that go along with that technique? What if you just want to make sure the fabric in your quilt, garment or home décor item fits in and lies flat with the surrounding fabric in the project? This is where the “art” in the art of sewing comes in. The art is not only the creative possibilities that are open to the sewer; it’s knowing how to achieve the desired results using the correct technique. Let me give you an example.
I am making an open-front cardigan made from knit fabric for my oldest niece’s birthday next week and the sleeves fit into openings that have no side seam underneath them. This is a very simple pattern that has only one seam; in the center back, so the sleeves must be put into the garment as a circle of fabric that fits into a circular opening. I don’t want any tucks in the sleeves from traditional gathering and the pattern does not call for gathering, but the sleeve is larger than the opening. What to do? Use the machine’s feed teeth to ease the sleeve fabric into the sleeve opening. This is done by sewing with the sleeve against the feed teeth without any IDT System or walking foot system engaged. It usually doesn’t take anything but this change in which fabric is against the feed teeth to achieve this type of easing of fabric. The rule for easing is: the fabric that is the largest, that is meant to fit into the smaller space, must be against the feed teeth with no other fabric moving technology employed while sewing. Let me show you what I mean.
Remember, this easing technique can be used for any type of sewing, not just for making garments. It is a go-to technique anytime one fabric is larger than another and they both need to fit together as if they were the same size. Happy Sewing!