How to use Dental Floss for Gathering

Have you struggled trying to get nice, even gathers on a garment or pillow?

I have the best ‘cheat’ using something you wouldn’t usually have in your sewing box – dental floss!

dental floss gathering thread

It’s pretty easy. Dental floss is nice and strong, but not too thick.

1. Draw a line for seam allowance.

First, I like to draw a line on my fabric for my seam allowance, that way I stay within that line.

draw a line on your fabric for seam allowance


2. Lay the floss centered under the needle.

Take it to your machine and put your fabric under the needle within the seam allowance. Lay the floss centered under the needle. I set my zigzag to 5mm wide and 5mm long, that way it’s not too tight and it’s very visible.

Stitch, zig zagging over the floss without stitching through it. 


lay the floss centered under the needle and set your zigzag to 5mm wide and 5mm long


3. Back stitch both ends.

 Do a back stitch at both ends to secure. Take it back over to your table and it will look like this. 

do a back stitch at both ends to secure


4. Hold the floss and pull.

Then hold one end of the floss, and pull, gathering your fabric as loosely or as tightly as you prefer. 

hold one end of the floss and pull

5. Make it as even as you can.

Take your time and make them as even as you can. Then take it back to your machine, and run a stitch line just under your zigzag.

take it back to your sewing machine and run a stitch line under your zigzag

6. Remove the floss.

Snip the floss and remove! You’re ready to sew the neat gathered fabric into whatever you wish. Mine became a skirt!

snip the floss to remove it

So, tell me – will you add dental floss to your sewing kit now? 

Happy stitching everyone 🙂  


Michelle Brassens

Hi, I’m Michelle! I’ve never met a craft I didn’t like. Sewing however was where I really found my groove! So I left behind life as a pastry chef and concentrated on making things with fabric instead of food. I work at Dinkydoo Fabrics now and get to write about sewing and quilting for work. Stick with me and I’ll show you all kinds of tips and tricks, from beginner to expert maker level. Can’t wait!