At long last I get to talk at length about my new-found appreciation for my serger. I was sewing this summer when pieces literally started falling from my machine as I sewed, so I figured it was time to get my machine serviced. I brought it in to the Ottawa Sewing Centre where they took very good care of my machine. It now hums quietly instead of making you check out the windows to see if a drag race is raging down your street. As a result, I was without my machine for a little more than three weeks.
My original plan was to use the time to take part in the Seamwork Design Your Wardrobe Programme and maybe take a bit of a break to reset. That did not last and I found myself itching to create. I decided I would work on some knits and finish the hems on my machine when I got it back. Except I am a “finisher” and it’s almost physically painful to me to have multiple projects on the go without closing them up one at a time. So I started to do some research and then some testing. The following is a collection of links, tips and techniques to level up your serger skills.
- Learn how to unpick serger stitches. It’s actually way easier than you think and actually faster than taking out regular straight stitches. In fact, it’s kind of mesmerizing and satisfying when you get to unravel the looper threads.
- Learn how to flatlock a hem to get a faux-coverstitch look. This technique is super easy and your serger can 100 per cent do it. All you need to do is disengage your blade (or don’t. I have daredevil friends who leave it down!) To get your hem as flat as possible, it is important to leave a solid 1 mm of space between the edge of your fabric and the edge of your foot. You should have loops hanging over the right edge after you have serged.
- Flip over your flatlocked hem to get a decorative stripe look. My husband commented that my hem looked like it was inside out, so the next time, I did just that and had the small verticle stripes on the outside. I really like this as a more delicate and less athletic look. The key here is to have a really consistent distance between the edge of the fabric and the edge of your foot to ensure that your little stripes are all the same length.
- Sew a reversible garment with flatlocked seams. In this tutorial, Melly shows you how to flatlock seams instead of a hem. I used this technique to sew up some double gauze knit that I wanted to make into a reversible garment. I knew that any other seam would be awkward on the armscye and sleeve seams (flat-felled, for example) so this seemed the easiest option to have nicely finished seams on both sides. One piece of advice on fabric choice for this type of finishing: use something that won’t unravel (scuba, sweatshirt) so you don’t have to worry about your seams coming apart. My fabric had two layers which kept rolling away from each other, so I couldn’t let my looper threads hang over the edge as much as I would like resulting in less-than-flat seams. Similarly, if you are attaching some kind of a band creating extra bulk, make sure to serge with the bulky side up so that your flatlock seam allowance falls naturally the way that your bulky fabric wants to.
There you have it, folks! There’s so much more that your serger can do than finishing seam allowances. If you have any other tips or techniques for maximizing your serger usage, please send them my way!