I want to begin by saying that I learned to gather at young age from my mother, pattern instructions, and sewing books. They all suggested a scant 5/8 " line of long stitches followed by another 3/8" line of stitching. I could never understand why I was stitching next to the seamline. Then, it was always difficult to remove the gathering stitches that got caught in the seam.
Instead of the method just described, I use a 1/2 " line of large stitches from the edge and another 1/4" inch in from the first line. This way the seam stiched at 5/8" will be in between the two gathered lines of stiching. For beginning readers, you leave a nice long end to the thread after each line of stitching. Then you pull the two ends to tighten the stitchese which gathers the fabric together. I like to pull from both ends until I get the intended length and arrange my gathers evenly in between.
When I am finished, I can easily remove the gathering thread. In addition, I have been using this great tip.
It came from a tutorial I found on another blog. I wish could remember which one, so I could give proper credit where it is due. If I can find it, I will let you know. By anchoring the thread on your pin, you can distribute the gathers evenly without losing any on the end.
Finally, this pattern was wonderful in the fact that it was simple and had no zipper closing. However, I did make a change to the way that I attached the casings for the tie closure at the top. The pattern instructions suggested sewing the front to the gathers and spreading the seam to reveal the stitching, then stitching over the seamline. Next, you were to trim the excess edge close to the stitching. I assumed this was similar to stitching in the ditch. I understood that, but couldn't understand why I would trim close to the stitching and leave a raw edge. Thus, I chose to fold the casing in half, stitch it to the right side of the the gathers, and serge the edge. This is how it looked. I liked the way it laid, and it will not ravel.