kathy bagioni

Color outside the lines . . .

Easy curved serger hem

Written By: kathybagioni

Did you know your serger makes easy work of graceful, curved hems?  Letting the serger do the work makes sewing curved hems on slippery fabrics easy and almost foolproof.  A loose 3-thread overlock stitch trims the fabrics and prevents raveling at the same time.

  • Trace the actual curve  on a piece of paper or a pattern-making product, such as, Pellon’s Tru-Grid™.  Add 3/8 inch to the outside of this line.  This is the new cutting line for the hem.
  • Transfer this new line to the fabric.   (NOTE:  You will only be topstitching the hem and turning the actual hem allowance to the wrong side therefore you will need to mark the right side of the fabric.)

    Serged edge is trimmed and will not ravel.

  • Serge on the line with a 3-thread overlock stitch that is a bit longer than usual, about a stitch length 3 or 4.  I  serge just barely inside the line so that all the marking ink is cut away and nothing can mar the look of the finished fabric.
  • Take care to serge this line of stitching flat.  Adjust your differential feed if necessary.   Don’t gather the hem at this stage.  Keeping it flat is better.
  • Cut a length of heavy buttonhole thread or crochet thread 6 inches longer than the arc of the curved hem.  Using a blunt tapestry needle run the length of thread under the back of the 3-thread stitch.  Take care not to tangle the needle in the looper threads.
  • Working on a padded surface that can take the heat of an iron place the fabric with the back of the serger stitch facing you.  You can see the inserted thread under the looper threads.  The top of the serger stitch is face down on the ironing surface.

    Lower looper threads create handy channel for needle and thread.

  • Pin down one end of the hem curve.  Anchor the thread by wrapping it around the pin.
  • Pull on this thread and gently gather the hem.  Give it a minute and it will begin to turn up on  its own.  Keep pulling and adjusting the curve.
  • When you are satisfied with the hem anchor the end of the curve with a second pin and wrap the thread around it.
  • Press lightly.  (Natural fabrics will take a press better than polyester fabrics.)
  • Finish the hem by the method you have chosen.
  • Remove the heavy thread before the final pressing.
  • Press.

Turning the hem on an unlined, lightweight fabrics has been a stressful chore in the past but no more.  Those corner curves can twist and ruffle without help.  When they refuse to lay flat and the curve is uneven your work screams “homemade!”  This may be a good thing with strawberry jam but not with sewing.     Use your serger to try this method and enjoy beautiful results.

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