Serger School: Serging Sheers

Serging shears can be intimidating for beginner and even advanced sewists.  Some of our favorite summer-weight fabrics can be problematic to serge. From silk-feel to rayons and gauze, to linen, lawn and voile, we love them all but those lovely fabrics can be tricky to sew and serger with. Use these tips for maximum serging success.Screen Shot 2019 06 10 at 3.31.53 PM Serger School: Serging Sheers

Screen Shot 2019 06 10 at 3.32.38 PM Serger School: Serging SheersSilk & Rayon

To avoid slippage issues and puckered seams, try the following:

Loosen your presser foot’s screw adjustment, allowing the fabric to feed through without any drag.

Dial down your differential feed to a minus setting, causing the rear feed dogs to pull the fabric through faster than the front feed dogs allow it to proceed. If your machine doesn’t feature differential feed, hold your fabric taut in front of and behind the presser foot while feeding it into the machine. If needed, try a combination of these techniques for best results.

To avoid puckered seams, select the smallest needle size suitable for your serger, depending on your fabric weight.

Some fabrics are too soft to lie flat in a wide tunnel of thread. Seam widths of 2 or narrower will help avoid the rippling effect.

Loosen tensions slightly to avoid puckering on rolled-edge seams.

To avoid serged seams from showing through after pressing, avoid pressing directly on seams or try lighter-weight threads, such as rayon and wooly stretch nylon.

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To avoid skipped stitches on sheer fabrics such as georgette, chiffon and organza, pretreat the fabric or dampen the fabric edges (washable fabrics only) with a light mist of water before construction. For added stabilization, apply a liquid fabric stabilizer and allow it to dry before serging.

Use new, small needles to avoid snagging.

Ensure that the serger knives are sharp and clean to avoid uneven cutting, which is crucial on lightweight fabrics.

Test seams and seam finishes on garment fabric scraps before beginning construction.

To prevent puckering, set your serger’s differential feed to 0.7 and/or use taut sewing (by holding the fabric in front of and behind the presser foot) while serging.

Prevent the fabric from slipping by holding the thread chain securely when beginning to serge.

If the serging pulls off the fabric edge, widen and/or lengthen the stitch.

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Begin your project with a new needle , size 9/65 or 11/80. A dull needle will leave holes along the needle line.

If a ballpoint needle is available for your machine, consider that option.

Opt for serger, all-purpose or wooly stretch nylon thread. Woolly stretch nylon thread in the needle will allow for additional stretch in the serged stitch; loosen any tensions where this thread is used.

Use a medium- to wide-width and medium- to long-length balanced 3- or 3/4-thread stitch for seaming and finishing.

Test-stretch a serged sample to determine the correct tensions. If the thread breaks when the seam is stretched significantly, loosen the needle thread tension slightly or stretch slightly while serging.

Screen Shot 2019 06 10 at 3.32.54 PM Serger School: Serging SheersLace

Do not press lace until after fitting, then press lightly as needed.

Trim darts by serge-finishing next to the stitching line, from the widest to narrowest point, knotting the thread chain at the point (1).

Use a new size 11 (70 or 75) needle with a short stitch length and differential feed at a minus-setting to prevent puckering. For the least visibility, use a lightweight (No. 80) monofilament-nylon thread in the upper looper for a 3-thread serger stitch and in the needle for conventional topstitching.

Seaming options include a narrow, balanced, serged French or rolled edge, placing right or wrong sides together (try widening a rolled edge stitch width to allow the lace to roll completely).

Janome of America provided the AT2000D serger.

 Serger School: Serging Sheers

About Jill

I write for the Sew News and Creative Machine Embroidery blogs. I love sewing, vintage and would love to get a comment from you!
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