What fun! Worked with the serger gathering foot today. After tons of practice (and scraps on the floor), now have a ruffle at the bottom of a granddaughter's summer dress. Just have to finish the rest of the dress. First though, I will work with the beading foot and add some to the top of the ruffle. Being able to gather, sew it on, and have a nice serged edge is fabulous!
The Juki gathering foot was really very easy, once the various tensions were correct for my fabric. I found that I could adjust the amount of gathers through the tensions. Watch you don't get the threads too loose. I used a 4 thread overlock and set my differential feed to #2. I am able to adjust my knife distance and moved it to #1 (less cutting amount). Remember, your machine may be a tad different in the initial adjustments. There should be some instructions that came with your gathering foot. My tensions were:
left needle - 5.5
right needle - 6
upper looper - 5.5
lower looper - 8
My gathering foot looks very similar to a ruffler I use on the sewing machine, having a lower plate that grabs the fabric for each gather. I was able to make the gather and also sew it onto my base fabric in one sewing pass.
I cut about a 1.5 inch slit in my ruffle fabric. This allowed me to get the fabric all the way to the needle, making it easier to begin sewing.
- Cut the 1.5 inch slit (long enough so the edge of the fabric reaches the needle)
- Slide the fabric up to the needle, aligning the edge to be gathered against the upper knife. Any fabric to be gathered goes underneath the entire foot.
- Place the second fabric in the slit (above the blade shown in middle photo).
- Lower the presser foot and begin the first stitches slowly. Having both fabrics up close to the needle prevent either from sliding.
- Keep both fabrics lined up with the blade as you sew. Hold both fabrics loosely as the bottom will draw up faster than the top fabric.
To gather just one piece of fabric, simply place it under the gathering foot and begin sewing. I still cut my initial 1.5 inch slit and slid the fabric up to the needle.
Practice with different fabrics as they can have varying fullness of gathers. Also play around with the tension. Lots of scraps to practice on!