How to Create Gentle Gathers

I am a quilter, but garment sewing is my first love in the sewing world. You probably know that I have a little grandson, Bear, who is expecting a baby sister in about 4 weeks! I love sewing for Bear. In fact, I made a pillow case for him today, from a print filled with elephants and monkeys. He loves it. But sewing for a girl is different, and I'm very used to that because I had two daughters! So gather 'round, everyone! Today we are gathering!

How to sew a sleeve into a garment.
Setting a sleeve into an arm opening.

So, here's what that sleeve and armhole opening look like before they are sewn together. You can see that the sleeve's curved edge is larger than the arm opening edge (above left). What to do about that? The sleeve cap (the upper curved edge) must be gathered to fit. This allows the sleeve cap to curve over the bend of the shoulder at the top of the arm. It's easy to do, and all this little sleeve will need are gentle gathers, not puffy, full gathers. I accomplish this easily by stitching along the curved edge and, at the same time, holding my index finger firmly behind the presser foot, pushing the fabric that feeds through into the back of the presser foot. This creates gentle gathers, as shown below in the video:

After gathering, place the sleeve cap edge, right sides together, against the arm opening. Match any dots or notches transferred from your pattern and pin in place, (as shown in the photo, above right). If you still need to gather a bit more, pull gently on the bobbin thread and distribute the fullness. Stitch in place. Easy as pie!

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing and God bless! Maxie