Tuesday, September 11, 2012

G is for Gathers

 Illustration from my 1954 Singer Sewing Book

Gathering is without a doubt one of my favourite sewing techniques.  It's super easy and can be used in so many ways!

Here's some eye candy examples of gathering (all of these vintage pattern cover images are from the Vintage Pattern Wiki).

I love both of these patterns.  You can see the subtle yoke gathering in Hollywood 1930 but I really love Advance 1892 that has gathering along the centre seam but also on the waist sides. Super elegant!

Vogue 7999 shows gathered sleeves and a gathered bodice to skirt and Simplicity 2484 is a 1940s staple, the peasant blouse.

The 1950s is definitely the decade that inspired gathering to become an artform.  Just look at Advance 8270 (LOVE this silhouette) and Simplicity 3135 has such lovely sleeve and neckline gathers.

Here's some more gathering goodness from my 1954 Singer Sewing Book:
Some great examples of shirring (which is just two or more rows of gathers to achieve a decorative effect).  I love all of these but perhaps my favourite is the evening coat with the shirred sleeves.

I use gathers a lot in my own sewing, here's a few examples from different vintage sewing patterns:

My 1939 'Royal Wedding' dress from McCall 3554; My 1940 McCall 3638 dress

 My 'Midcentury Madness' dress from Style Print 1283; My 'Tiptoe through the Tulips' dress from Simplicity 4209

Here are some of my favourite gathering technique resources:

  • Gertie put together a great 2-part tutorial on adding shirring to a bodice back (part 1 and part 2)
Are you a fan of gathers?


  1. Your 1954 Singer Sewing book certainly has gorgeous and inspirational illustrations! I was wondering what the difference is between gathering and ruching.  Is ruching more when gathering is done toward a focal point?  I love a gathered skirt or shoulder gathers in a pattern. Your dresses are so beautiful!

  2. I do love gathering because it seems so simple, but now that I've seen your amazing examples, I have to rethink that assumption.
    Honestly, this series is just incredible in its scope. It is so inspiring and so full of good instructions, I will be referring back again and again.

  3. Agree with both Katrina & Shari - this series of posts is incredible, as are your creations.  Thank you!
    (Thanks also to Husband for being the technical genius behind the scene, so to speak, and looking so smashing in his fashions.  Congratulations on his degree, also!)

  4. Thanks for posting these great links! I am completely in love with both of the 50s dresses you posted above, just gorgeous!

  5. Thank you, D'ellis.

  6. ~ * ♥ * ~

    Ack!  I am just drooling over the first patterns in the 30s and 40s section ~ you always dig up some gorgeous examples Debi.  And I also want say a huge thank you for doing this post series!  It's sooo inspiring and I can't wait to use some of the techniques I've learned about in my own sewing.  :D

    bonita of Depict This!
    ~ * ♥ * ~

  7. Debi_myhappysewingplaceSeptember 20, 2012 11:38 PM

    Thanks so much!!!  I absolutely love looking at 30s and 40s patterns too!!

  8. Debi_myhappysewingplaceSeptember 20, 2012 11:39 PM

    Thanks Jen!

  9. Debi_myhappysewingplaceSeptember 20, 2012 11:39 PM

    What a wonderful comment! Thanks so much Katrina!

  10. Debi_myhappysewingplaceSeptember 20, 2012 11:43 PM

    The 1954 Singer Sewing book is amazing...I highly recommend it.  Gertie did a great post on the differences between gathering, ruching and shirring: http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/2011/04/style-dictionary-gathers-ruching-and.html

  11. Thanks Debi!  Now I understand :)

  12. 1892 and 8270 are the most stunning patterns ever. And it has to be said, you suit ever era of vintage ever invented! :-)


I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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