We’re celebrating the first-ever National Serger Month all throughout April by sharing tips, techniques and tutorials to help you get the most out of your serger.
A serger isn’t just for finishing raw edges. Learn about fun serger feet that will take your sewing to the next level.
Blind Hem Foot
Use a blind hem foot to create an invisible hem on any project.
Fold the fabric toward the wrong side to the desired hem width. Fold the fabric with right sides together, exposing a scant 1/2″ of the raw edge. Position the fabric wrong side up beneath the foot.
Select a 2- or 3-thread narrow hem stitch on the machine. Slowly lower the needle into the fabric to check the needle placement. The left needle should barely graze the hem, catching one or two fibers. The foot-edge guide should be flush with the fabric fold. With the knife blade up, serge the hem, making sure to only cut off the fabric raw edge, catching the fold within the stitching. Press open the seam.
The gathering foot finishes a seam and attaches a ruffle in one step. For best results, use lightweight fabric, such as cotton. Heavyweight fabric, such as denim, produces fewer ruffles. Cut the fabric to be gathered (lower fabric) longer than the upper fabric (2:1 ratio), as it requires more fabric to gather.
Select a 4-thread overlock stitch on the machine. Raise the presser foot. Position the lower fabric under the foot just below the needle. Position the upper fabric between the guide over the lower fabric. Lower the presser foot.
Slowly turn the hand wheel toward you to stitch the first three or four stitches to help the machine catch the fabric without jamming; stitch. While stitching, hold one fabric in each hand to evenly guide it through the machine. Don’t apply pressure to the lower fabric, as it prevents gathers from forming. Hold the upper fabric taut. Adjust the gather size by changing the stitch length between 2mm and 5mm.
Remove the fabric from the machine; press open the seam.
Belt Loop Foot
The belt loop binder automatically folds under bias strip edges as you stitch to create narrow straps. Use the straps for belt loops, button tabs, decorative accents and more. This foot may be called a bias binder.
From the desired fabric, cut 1 1/8″- to 1 1/4″-wide bias strips. Cut each end at a 45 degree angle. Select a wide triple-stitch on the machine. Gently feed one bias strip end right side up into the foot opening. Pull the strip toward the back of the foot. Because the foot toe is wider than the back, the strip is forced to fold toward the wrong side as you stitch.
Stitch the strip. If desired, position a piece of fabric beneath the foot and stitch the strip directly to the fabric. Or stitch the strip separately.
Use the beading foot to attach a strand of beads directly to fabric to create a decorative hemline or an easy embellishment. The stitch selection varies according to machine brand. Check the machine manual and foot instructions to select the proper stitch type.
Pull the string of beads along the foot guide toward the back. Extend the bead string at least 1/2″ past the fabric edge to ensure the machine catches both the beads and fabric.
The stitch length should be the size of the bead diameter. For example, if using 3mm beads, select a 3mm stitch length.
Some machines recommend folding the fabric with wrong sides together and aligning the beads along the folded edge before stitching. Position the folded edge along the foot edge; stitch. With this method, the raw edge won’t be finished.
Or keep the serger knife in the up position while stitching a 3-thread rolled hem to ensure that the edge is finished simultaneously as the beads are stitched.
Insert a professional-looking piped edge into a garment or accessory quickly and easily using a piping/cording foot.
Select a 3mm-long 3-thread overlock stitch. Sandwich the piping tape between two fabric pieces with right sides together, aligning the raw edges. Position the fabric sandwich under the presser foot, aligning the piping within the foot groove. Stitch, and then turn the fabric to the right side; press.
Or stitch piping to the center of fabric by disengaging the knife and selecting a chain stitch.
Easily stitch elastic to a fabric edge using an elastic foot. Adjust the pressure on the elastic as you stitch to create the desired amount of ruffles. The foot also slightly stretches the elastic as you stitch, preventing pulling and tugging on the needles.
Select a 3- or 4-thread overlock stitch on the machine. Adjust the foot tension by turning the dial at the foot toe. Tightening the screw adds pressure, causing the elastic to stretch more, increasing the gathering. Insert the elastic into the guide on the foot so that the elastic right-side edge aligns with the guide. Turn the guideknob so it abuts the elastic left-side edge.
Carefully turn the hand wheel toward you to take a few stitches. Once the elastic and fabric are feeding smoothly, stitch at medium speed.
To celebrate National Serger Month, enter to win a fabulous Baby Lock ExtraordinAir Threading Serger and one-year subscription to Sew News!
Photos courtesy of Baby Lock.