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Using fishing line in rolled hems- Help!

sewman | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

Hi All,  I’m making skating costumes today, And it involves feeding the fishing line into the rolled hem as it it going through the serger.  I’m finding it to be quite a trick. Does anybody have a quick tip to share.  Maybe i’m just doing it wrong. Help!. 🙂



  1. alotofstitches | | #1

    I actually prefer using a tight zig-zag and a buttonhole foot rather than the serger!  The zig zag holds the fishing line tightly as it wraps the fabric around the f.line to the underside.  You'll work from the right side of the fabric.  Sometimes if the fabric frays you'll have to make 2 passes over the same area with 2nd pass don't use f. line.  It takes more time than the serger but the results are 100% better and the ruffles are divine!  If you're making ruffles and want them really wavy, use bias fabric.

  2. suesew | | #2

    Could you feed the fishing line through a short piece of drinking straw - perhaps taped to the blade or just in front of it? Somehow? You just need something to feed it into place.

  3. Betakin | | #3

    Bias cut fabric works best for fish line hems and using the correct weight of fishline is important too. Using a heavier weight of line and stretching as you serge helps it to curl.

    Place the fishline under the back and over the pressure foot or if your serger foot has a hole in the front you can bring the line through it. First serge over the wire about an inch or more then place the fabric underneath. Place the fishline or wire between the knife and the needle. When serging over the line and by leaving a long tail at the beginning you can then bend the line a bit over the fabric to use an an anchor while doing the rest and also leave a tail at the end.  One needs to serge slowly and accurately as to not cut the fish line or wire.

  4. KharminJ | | #4

    Hi, all!Basic non-serger-person questions here:What is the purpose of the fishing line in the hem? What effect are you looking for? I'm not trying to be snarky, just not familiar with the technique or the desired outcome... so the answers aren't fitting in my brain-file yet... ; ) Thanks!

    Keep Warm!


    1. sewman | | #5

      Hi,  The purpose of the fishing line in a surged, rolled hem is so that it creates a flared,exaggerated edge that stands out. It is something that is used for dance wear, pageant wear, and formals.  Often used on lightweight materials like organza and chiffon.  Works best for short bias cut layers of skirting or fancy cap sleeves. :)



      1. KharminJ | | #6

        Ah-Hah! It's all beginning to make sense now! Sort of like a "wide, very gentle lettuce edging", right? I can see where heavier line would make a big difference, too.Thanks for the quick, easy-to-grok answer!Kharmin

        1. Teaf5 | | #7

          Thank you for asking that question; I was too confused to compose a reasonable query, and I finally understood the technique once it was explained.  I don't have any immediate need for a flared, ruffly hem, but you never know....

    2. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #8

      The fishline can be zig zagged on with a narrow satin stitch with a regular sewing machine.  Unstretched, it makes a beautiful finish on bridal veils, adding a bit of weight so the tulle stands tall when ruffled tightly, or falls in a beautiful cascade that does not move so much in the outdoors.   Cathy

      1. Ocrafty1 | | #9

        I do the same thing with veils.  It is a 'painful' technique that is used a lot in ballroom dancing gowns.....painful you know where... but it looks nice.  I don't have a serger, so I do the zigzag...same as you.


        1. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #10

          My DH and I took ballroom dancing lessons for a couple of years. Not enough to get to the competition stages where we needed the wonderful dresses and suits. I got the chance to inspect some that were for sale tho. The work that goes into them is incredible! Very theatrical and have to stand up to the rigors of very hard handling and physical movement! Plus be able to be cleaned easily, as the dancers perspire heavily. Even 2nd and 4th hand, ballroom dresses still sell for thousands of dollars. If Brides are fussy, Dancers must be WORSE! Cathy

          1. Ocrafty1 | | #11

            LOL.  I have only got one client that is into ballroom; and she is just starting in competitions.  She contacted me about making her an outfit after I did alterations on some dresses she bought at a resale shop.  The dresses were nice, and she got them for a song, but were short...for dancing salsa. We discussed everything except price for the new dress....Oops!   She bought fabric and pattern, gave me some magazines with pix, and I checked out some websites that have tips on making ballroom clothing. 

            I phoned her per a first fitting and told her that I'd charge her $200 for the dress.  Very reasonable, I thought, considering how much work goes into one of them.  She was shocked!  I have the fabric, etc. here, but she told me that she isn't prepared to spend that much at this time.  Fine with me, but I don't want her stuff here....I have enough trouble trying to find a place for my own.  She goes to FL in the winter, so I don't know when she'll back...or if I'll ever see her again. 


          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #12

            The dresses I looked at for resale at the ballroom dancing place I took lessons at were almost thread bare, and the fanciest one, with all the crystals and beading, for waltz, foxtrot etc, was still $1200.
            The ones for latin started at $800 (they were glitzy and fancy). They would all still have to be altered to custom fit for either length or width. The point I am making is that often the dancers do not understand the stresses the dress must undergo and the extra work above and beyond that of a regular dress, thus the extra cost. I think your client was just lucky to get those earlier dresses that were suitable, so darn cheap. As she is just a beginner, wait until she finds out they do not last. Wait until she finds out what the real competition dresses cost. In the meantime, you should find out more yourself. You may find out that you are undercharging my friend. A simple dress may be worth $200. Add on the fancy stuff, and your charges are going to skyrocket. You and your client need to both be prepared. Those dresses would be a lot of fun to work on, even if they would be more work. Cathy

          3. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #13

            I forgot to mention the left behind stuff. If you think she is in Florida for the winter, she probably forwards her mail. Call her and leave a message on her machine. Then, Send her a postcard or note, thanking her for her business, and asking her to collect her stuff, as you need to make space for current clients. Indicate that you will be happy to sew for her in the future, but as this is a tentative future project, you unfortunately do not have the storage space at this time. Give her a date to make arrangements by. If she does not respond in that time, send another note, indicating you sent the previous note. Tell her that her non response indicates that the project has been abandoned and will be disposed of by a certain date. A final notice shall we say. Then do what you will with it. Give it to charity or whatever. Cathy

          4. Palady | | #14

            To ThreadKoe's suggestion might I add, consider using a Reply Request form or a Confirmation of Delivery from USPS. 

            It will cost you some money, but the verification of your efforts to be in touch will likely prove of value to you should the woman challenge your decision as to stopping the storing of her stuff.


          5. Ocrafty1 | | #15

            This client is the daughter (age 54) of one of my favorite clients. She is really ditzy, and I know she doesn't mean to be rude...she's just forgetful. She paid less than $5 for each of the dresses she bought and didn't blink at the alteration charges, which included me reinforcing the seams that I thought might end up being stressed...for no extra charge..I might add.  I think she was really in shock at the charge I quoted to her.  Like many have noted, people don't realize how much work and time goes into making anything that is custom.

            I think I will just phone her mother and ask her to take the stuff. I have some alterations that I've done for her that are ready to be picked up. But she's not getting the last 3 dresses I've altered until I get paid for them. I was really looking forward to doing this dress. Something different....learning new techniques.  Oh, well...another lesson learned.

            I DO know that my charges are increasing.  I checked with a local alterations business, and though my charges are comprable, I do mine more thoroughly...not just taking the seams in and leaving the old ones in....Yuck!...so I am going to charge more in the future.  I've already let some of my more regular clients know that I am raising my charges.  If they want shoddy workmanship, they can pay less and wait longer to have it done.  I'm sick of being taken advantage of and "I'm not gonna take it anymore!"  LOL  Either they pay me what I'm worth, or I don't do it.   I have 3 clients who are always so appreciative that they tip me every time.  Older ladies know that good workwomanship is worth what they pay for it!



          6. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #17

            Just a point to ponder, but if your client expects you do your work in a timely manner, then you should expect them to pick up the finished work in a timely manner also. Do you have a stated policy on this? Dry Cleaners have a sign that states that garments left for over a certain time are donated or sold. Perhaps you should consider a similar policy. I do not mean to sound mean or nasty here. Unless arrangements are made beforehand, someone having a garment fitted and finished before taking off for several months holidays, and not completing the transaction is being very unfair. CYA, (Cover your Assetts) Darling! You still have bills to pay, and you could have done other work for other paying clients first. Cathy

          7. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #16

            Excellent point Palady. As much as we would like to be nice, we have to draw a line sometimes, and we have to protect ourselves. Better safe than sorry. Cathy

          8. MaryinColorado | | #18

            He dances too?  What a gem your dear hubby is!

          9. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #19

            Yeah, he is a keeper. Keeps me on my toes. We will have been married 25 yrs this summer. Every one of them an adventure, tee hee.
            There is a favorite joke that circulates around here: A couple is celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. The local priest asks the husband if he has ever considered getting a divorce. The Old man ponders for a few moments, then replies "Divorce, No. Murder, Yes."
            DH and I had a deal when we got married. I had to learn farming. He had to learn about sewing and fashion. Works for us. Cathy

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