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Serging raw edges

Guenevere | Posted in General Discussion on

I am currently working on a formal skirt. I work with a serger on almost everything and I don’t know whether or not I should serge the raw edges of the fabric. The pattern mentions nothing about finishing any raw edges but does say that I need to press open certain seams (does this mean if I should serge I need to serge two pieces seperately before they are sewn together so they can be pressed apart?). The pattern also calls for a lining that is sewn at the hem to the skirt. Because any raw edges are concealed inside does it matter either way. The garment will be dry clean only will this keep raw edges inside from unraveling? As you can see I have caused myself much confusion! Help!


  1. marijke | | #1

    If the fabric ravels very easily, it may be worth finishing the edges to keep the inside of the garment neat over time.

    I have noticed that in RTW edges are often serged, even when there is a (loose hanging) lining in a skirt.  Since you will be attaching the lining and will enclose the seams it may not be necessary to do this.



  2. suesew | | #2

    The nice thing about sewing for yourself is you can do it any way that works for you. If you think it will help to serge, serge. The serger police won't come after you. I believe most patterns don't assume too many of us have and regularly use sergers.

    1. Guenevere | | #3

      Oh no, not for me, are you kidding I can't remember when the last time I had a chance to sew for myself!! : )

      1. Kiley | | #4

        I would serger the raw edges to make it look more professional especially if sewing for someone else.

  3. FitnessNut | | #5

    I think that you have to consider the fabric you are using to make this decision. Is it likely to fray, even when friction is reduced due to the enclosed nature of the lining? If you think it will, then serge. You are unlikely to regret finishing the seams, as long as the tension is correctly set so it is invisible from the outside of the garment. Remember that the lining can't be pushed out of the way for pressing, so make up a sample and press from the outside to ensure that the serging won't leave an imprint on the right side of your skirt.

    1. Guenevere | | #6

      Thank you everyone for the help. I finished the skirt and it looks amazing. I did not serge because as FitnessNut mentioned, I was worried about the serged edges showing through when i ironed and the fabric wasn't likely to unravel to easily. Thank you again, everyone was really helpfull!

      1. solosmocker | | #8

        Inserting strips of brown paper bag or other heavy paper under the seam allowances will let you iron without the image tranfer to the front.

  4. mem | | #7

    well i think it depends on how much the serged edge will be seen after pressing on the right side . It may be better to use pinking shears particularly as it is not going to undergo any stress and is lined

  5. MaryinColorado | | #9

    Generally, if the seam is to be pressed open I serge a 3 thread overlock within the seam allowance.  But on curves that need to be clipped this would be a problem.   If the pattern does not say to press the seam open, I serge the seam with whatever stitch works best for the technique and fabric.  I have a high end serger that makes all the difference in the world.  Sergers can do allmost everything a sewing machine can do, even heirloom and artistic work!  I just could not understand all the settings, tensions, etc.  on my first serger and only used it to finish seams.  There are great books out there on basic and creative serging now. 

  6. freetosew | | #10

    I do serge most woven fabrics to prevent fraying. I first sew the seam, press it open,  and then serge each seam edge - removing only a hair's width of fabric. The reason I serge it after sewing the seam is to maintain the accuracy of the seam allowance.

    I even did this on my daughter's wedding dress and it turned out beautifully. Otherwise, the seams would have ravelled terribly.

    Hope this helps.

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