Ruffles and gathers are really hot in fashion right now, not to mention very useful to know how to do for lots of Halloween costumes. Click on the image to enlarge and read these really great instructions on how to sew gathers.
This page is from the book:
This comprehensive “at your fingertips” reference is an essential for any sewer's library. With more than 1,000 detailed illustrations and an instructional DVD from SINGER®, this book covers all the basic sewing techniques for garment construction and home décor. An entire section on mending and repair helps sewers recycle and reuse their favorite items with quick and reliable fixes. This useful volume will help sewers of all levels find reliable shortcuts and better solutions to ensure success with all their sewing projects.
Beth Baumgartel (Madison, CT) has written for Vogue, Butterick, the Home Sewing Association, Family Craft Circle, and others. She is also the author of SINGER® Simple Decorative Machine Stitching.
I LOVE ruffles and I gather fabric a bunch (yup that was a pun!), so I use this technique all the time. Here is my latest recycled/upcycled little dress made from 2 Boy Scout shirts:
I used wider bias strips along the bottom and trimmed the front top edge with a tiny ruffle.
Here is how to sew a little dress from 2 men's shirts; in this case I used 2 Boy Scout shirts.
I cut one shirt into the dress shape and sewed two ties. They get placed into the dress when the side seams are stitched.
The final step after the dress is all sewn together is to stitch a bit of elastic along the back top edge.
The other shirt gets cut open so that the bias strips can be cut as long as possible -- as you can see I had to use 2 grid rulers for the first cut.
Then I could fold the shirt in half along the true bias and cut the bias strips out with one long grid ruler for the ruffles. I should point out that you really do need to cut the ruffles on the bias because they will shred apart if you are using a woven shirt.
I followed the directions for sewing a gather in Singer Simple Sewing. The only thing that I did differently was I sewed a single row of stitching down the center of each strip.
Then I top stitched 2 rows of ruffles along the bottom edge of the dress and one tiny one along the top front edge.
I removed the patches from the shirt and restitched them on in new places.
Here is the dress from the back. My dress form is a bit wider than me so when I wear the dress the elastic on the top back edge looks cute gathered not all stretched out like it is here on the dress form.
If you aren't up for making a whole dress, why not jazz up one you already have with some ruffles or lengthen one with a gathered section?