‘Disposing of Fullness’ is the term used in sewing for the various techniques that are used to take out the fullness or excess fabric in your project. Disposing of fullness could be done to give shape to a garment, add design features or to make a garment fit.
Click on the links for more information about the main techniques:
Other techniques can be used for decorative and practical effect such as:
This is a form of gathering but where both edges are gathered on a panel to create a decorative finish.
Shirring is formed with multiple rows of gathering and is primarily a decorative way of controlling fullness. Although this can be done with regular thread to provide a decorative finish, it is most commonly done with elastic thread in the bobbin and regular thread in the needle (elasticised shirring). This creates a stretchy garment which fits the body, usually found in summer tops or dresses.
Smocking consists of fabric folds decoratively stitched together at regular intervals to create a patterned effect. The folds may be gathered after the pattern is stitched, or the fabric may be first gathered into folds and then smocked.
A ruffle is a strip of fabric cut, gathered or pleated in such a way as to produce fullness. Usually ruffles are decorative although they can serve as a practical option, such as lengthening a garment.