Saturday, February 13, 2010

Gathering on your Serger!

I have a busy day ahead (how many times can I use that excuse?) so this was a bit rushed.  I want to practice it some more.  I *need* to practice it some more.  But here is the jist...

Serger Saturday:  Gathering

You can actually gather on your serger with our without a gathering foot, so long as you have a differential feed.  There's probably a trick if your serger isn't a differential feed, but I don't know anything about that.  I mean, really, I barely know anything about what I'm about to show you. 

And with that boost to your confidence in what I'm about to show you....

Start by cutting your fabric.  The general idea is that you want the piece to be ruffled to be twice the length you'll need at the end, plus five inches or so.  You'll most likely have to trim at the end to acheive the desired length, but better than having too little. 
Set your differential to it's highest setting (the dial on my machine is shown on the left).
Set your stitch length to the highest setting (dial on the right in the picture)

I didn't get a picture of it, but you want your right and left needles to also be at the highest tension settings.  On my machine it's a nine.  Your loopers should be set to an average setting, somewhere around a 4-5.  You may have to do some resetting, so practice on a piece of similar scrap fabric first.

Now, if you DON'T have a gathering foot, turn your presser foot tension to the left, loosening it.  A couple of turns should do it. 
If you DO have a gathering foot, replace your standard foot with it.
There's a button in the back of my ankle to release the presser foot.

Did you know the thing that holds the foot is called an ankle?  For some reason that just makes me happy.  Kind of like how the fact that the end of a flight of stairs is called a landing.  It's the little things in life.

and then simply replace with the gathering foot

Okay? Okay.
If you are NOT using a gathering foot, simply put your fabric under the presser foot and sew.

Now, if you are using a gathering foot, your piece to be ruffled goes under the presser foot, as normal (the upper section of the foot is for the piece NOT to be ruffled, when joining two pieces)
Sew

I didn't take two pictures, but both times I did this (with and without the gathering foot) the end result looked like this.

So why use a gathering foot?  Well, I'm sure there are many good reasons.  What most appeals to me is the idea that you can add the other, non-ruffled/non-gathered, piece to the gathered piece as you go.

Run the piece you don't want gathered through the top secion of the gathering foot

Blogger keeps rotating this pic on me. Sorry.

The idea is that the piece under the presser foot gets run through the feed dogs, gathering it with the differential feed.  At the same time, the top piece gets run along free from the feed dogs, so stays ungathered.

Pretty cool.

However

I could not get this to work.

This is as good as it got for me:

The top piece is kinda not so much gatheredy, right?  Kinda?
Yeah.
So I have some resetting and playing around to do.  But at least I have the basics down.

You can also gather using elastic.  The recommended type of elastic is clear elastic, of which I cannot track down in my small town so easily.  But I plan on trying it, as it's kind of a cool little trick for both adding gathering and for finishing an elastic edge.  But it will have to wait for another day.  Maybe by the time I buy some clear elastic I'll have the gathering foot on my serger mastered?  Maybe.

Happy Saturday.

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