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Serged Narrow Hems

lomarieP | Posted in General Discussion on

When using a 3-thread narrow serged hem on bias silk charmeuse, is there good

technique for keeping the fabric from creaping away from the very narrow point

of contact for forming the stitches smoothly along the edge?  It looks great for a

distance,  then suddenly the stitches miss the edge of the fabric and an ugly loop

of serged stitches is formed.


  1. mem | | #1

    Try using some embroidery stabilizer under it . Maybe the iron away one as tear away might distort your hem as you tear it.

  2. SewTruTerry | | #2

    You might want to try a strip of water soluble stabilizer on the back side of the area which will give the serger something with a bit more body to grab onto.  Yes I know I said water soluble but even if it is a dry clean only fabric all you really need is a small amount of steam or even a cotton swab dipped in water run along the edge to soften it enough to pull it away without distorting the edge.  Even better if you plan on washing the garment anyway.

    1. user-142495 | | #3

      Does this method work well for a serged rolled hem as well? When doing a circular piece of chiffon or voile, I wanted to use a serged rolled hem, and sometimes the rolled hem rolled/pulled right off the fabric. I've been sewing for a real-l-l-ly long time, but I still can't seem to whip this one. :(

      1. SewTruTerry | | #4

        Yes this works really well with chiffon and other lightly woven fabrics.

        1. user-142495 | | #6

          Thanks for the info. I'll try it.

  3. olivia | | #5

    Have you tried playing around with the differential feed on you serger/overlocker? this is necessary particularly if you are sewing on the curve

    1. user-142495 | | #7

      I guess I never really "mess" with the differential too much as I've had some bad experiences with screwing it all up. However, I guess I could bite the bullet and try a few new things to get better results. Do you tighten or loosen the feed so it doesn't roll off the fabric? I don't want to gather it. Could use some input on this. Thanks!

      1. mem | | #8

        You know I suddenly remembered a way I did  a hem as you describe which worked very well. I actually folded over the fabric and sewed the rolled hem a little way above the fold and then used duckbill sissors to trim away the raw edge . This worked very well because the serger had some "body to "to sew into  and the fabric didnt run away and cause the nasty loops of thread to form . Try it!!

        1. user-142495 | | #9

          Thanks for th input. Other than doing a rolled hem by hand, that's the way it's done in bridal and many other applications. I was just wanting to accomplish it by serger.

          Thanks for thinking of me, though.


  4. Kiley | | #10

    Changing the width and length can help in many circumstances, also by changing the tension on your lower looper makes a big difference. By turning up the lower looper tension you will get a much tighter roll to the hem, where of course loosening the LL tension will flatten the hem to an overcast. If your serger can do a 2 thread you might wish to try it on lighter fabrics for a more delicate look. Don't be afraid of using your Diff. Feed..it is there to be used to gather and prevent puckers. I don't think the DF will help change these problems with rolled hems from what I see it seems to be a problem with having to change the bite. If stitches roll off the ends..widen the stitch. Using woolly nylon can also help. If stitches separate from the fabric edge..increase the stitch length or use a smaller needle. If your hem is stiff or stretched then set the DF a little towards the + above 0 or switch to the 2 thread rolled edge stitch. I hope this helps.


    Edited 4/29/2006 4:56 pm ET by Kiley

  5. lomarieP | | #11

    After writing my message and then thinking about the project more I decided to try strips of pattern tissue against the feed dogs.

    This method worked great.  The silk no longer crept away from under the foot.  The downside was I then needed to remove bits of paper from the rolled hem.

    The tear away stabilizer probably would have distorted the bias as it was torn away.

    Thanks for the advice.

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