Quick and Easy
1. Elizabeth writes: For children and messes:
Sew baby bibs by cutting a terry cloth hand towel or kitchen towel in half horizontally. Gather the cut edge, and sew on bias tape, extending the tape 6 inches past the end. These bibs are inexpensive and large. They also conveniently double as a wash cloth after the meal, so that one can also lighten the laundry load.
[HMC Editor's Note: Be sure to measure the baby's neck first and add room for comfort and for the ties so that you know about how much bias tape you will need. The kind of bias tape you will want for this project is the double fold type. In making the tie extensions, tuck the raw ends in before sewing along the length of the ties so that they will be closed properly.]
2. An extra quick way to gather waists, sleeves, etc.:
Using your widest zigzag stitch, sew over a piece of string or crochet cotton just above where you seam allowance will be. Use the string to gather the skirt, sleeve or whatever you're gathering. Secure at ends as usual and then sew your seam below the gathering trying to make enough seam allowance to not sew over the string. Check your work to make sure that it is all fine before pulling out the string. Proceed with the pattern instructions.
If the zigzag stitches show in places, pick them out carefully from the front where they show. Save the string for future use till it starts to look somewhat worn. You don't want it to break while you're using it.
This works easier and quicker than gathering with basting stitches, and the thread is less likely to break when working with heavy fabric. Kite string might also work for this. Mary Stephens
Note: Jayna D. says that instead of using yarn or string and zigzagging over it, she has found fishing line works best. The thread slides very easily over it [and it lasts much longer].
and background by Mary Stephens