OAL2017: Pintucks & Gathers

16 Jun

What up y’all, welcome back. Let’s get into this!

Short week here – we are basically assembling the skirt and attaching it to the bodice. I don’t think any of this warrants a full-fledged tutorial, but as always – I have some tips!

The first step is sewing the pintucks to the bottom of the skirt. You may have transferred those markings when you cut your fabric and marked your pattern pieces – if you didn’t (guilty!), it’s easy to draw those in now. I just measured the distance from the bottom to the lowest pintuck, and then the distance between pintucks, and used those to draw my lines on with a ruler and a chalk pen.

OAL2017- Marking pintucks

Since I wanted to see my lines from both sides of the fabric – and also because chalk tends to rub off – I thread-traced those same markings with a needle and thread. I just made giant basting stitches and went across the width of each piece. This makes is easier to see the pintucks when you are sewing them.

OAL2017 - Finished pintucks

To sew the pintucks, simply bring the two lines together and sew along the markings. Remove your markings (whether they are basting threads or just drawn on with chalk or a tailor’s pencil) and give the pintucks a good press to encourage a sharp crease.

Now you’ll want to sew your skirt pieces together at the side seams (you can also do this before you sew the pintucks, but I found that the skirt pieces are HUGE before they are gathered and that’s just too much for me haha). Finish your seams however you desire – I used French seams for mine (here is a link to the post last week about sewing French seams). Don’t worry about the center back seam just yet.

OAL2017 - Sewing gathers

There are several ways to gather the skirt before attaching it to the bodice – you can baste with a hand sewing needle as the instructions suggest, or sew 2 lines of basting stitches on your machine – but this is my preferred method as I think it’s the fastest and you don’t risk snapping your basting threads. Get a long piece of cotton crochet thread or very thick thread (such as buttonhole twist) – or even unflavored dental floss. Whatever it is, it needs to be a bit longer than the entire width of your un-gathered skirt. Take it to the machine and lay it over your seam allowance where you are gathering, then use a zigzag stitch to attach it to the fabric. Your zigzag should just straddle the string – not actually pierce it – so you may need to adjust the width of your zigzag if it’s too tight. Leave long string tails on either end.

OAL2017 - Sewing gathers

Here is what the string looks like after it’s been zigzagged. You are basically making a zigzag tunnel that the string feeds through.

OAL2017 - Sewing gathers

Now pull your string tails, which will cause the fabric to gather. Keep gathering until the skirt fits the circumference of the bodice (this is a super gathered skirt, so be patient!), match the side seams and center back/center front, then adjust the gathers so they are even all the way around the skirt. Sew into place with a straight stitch, remove your gathering string, and finish the seam allowance. Real talk: I serged this one. I am not even going to try French seaming that mess lol

OAL2017 - Gathers

My gathers!

OAL2017 - Dress

And now it looks like a dress!

All that’s left now is inserting the zipper and sewing the hem 🙂 FYI – I am going on vacation next week (to BELIZE), so the blog will be quiet! I will not have access to my computer at this time, but will be back in business after I get home on the 27th. If you have burning questions, ask them now – or wait a few days 🙂

Happy Friday, everyone!

9 Responses to “OAL2017: Pintucks & Gathers”

  1. bethnegrey June 16, 2017 at 10:17 am #

    This is such a gorgeous little dress! And as for the hints on the tucks and gathering — whether people are sewing up this pattern or not, these are true keepers. I need me a Best of Lladybird binder in my sewing room (that’s going to be one big binder 🙂 ). Have an awesome time in Belize!

    • LLADYBIRD June 30, 2017 at 10:10 am #

      haha perfect, my first book! 😛 thank you!!!

  2. thesewingjourneycom June 16, 2017 at 12:08 pm #

    Wow, cut dress. I like it. I have 6 projects lined up, but this might have to go on my list.
    I think pleats are so cute. They look like they might be hard, but they are so easy to make. Thanks for sharing this tutorial!

    • LLADYBIRD June 30, 2017 at 10:11 am #

      That’s my favorite part about the pleats – they look more difficult than they actually are! My kind of sewing 🙂

  3. happyechos June 17, 2017 at 3:57 pm #

    i love that zig zag way to gather!!! I would have never thought of something like that!!!! 🙂

    • LLADYBIRD June 30, 2017 at 10:11 am #

      It is pretty much the ONLY way I gather now! Much more fool-proof than other methods I’ve used 🙂

  4. Katie June 18, 2017 at 4:39 am #

    Amazing on the gathering. I’m totally trying that.

    • LLADYBIRD June 30, 2017 at 10:11 am #

      Yay! Lemme know what you think of it!


  1. OAL2017: My Completed Kim Dress | LLADYBIRD - July 31, 2017

    […] Sewing pintucks and gathers […]

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