I have been experimenting with various ways to create custom fabrics. You might have seen photos on my Facebook page with a few of my favorites by embellishing with:
- needle felting
- thread art with the Dream Frame
One that you might be surprised about is using the serger with a simple 3-thread overlock stitch and the blind hem foot. This purple bad is a perfect example. We made that bag in my Craftsy Class Sew with your Serger – Quick & Easy Gifts and most recently at the American Sewing Expo. I could see using this fabric as a collar or cuffs, color blocking – what about the flap on my back jean pockets!
Supplies from WAWAK sewing:
PREPARE THE FABRIC
1.Cut your fabric larger than you need for the pattern piece, the serged line takes out a minimum ¼” of fabric. Chalk mark lines parallel to the grainline. Choose any width you want, these are 2” apart.
2. Chalk mark lines perpendicular to the previous chalk lines.
SET UP SERGER
3. Set up the serger for a 3-thread wide overlock stitch. Dis-engage the knife and attach the blind-hem foot (your blind hem foot might look different, check your manual)
4.Test your stitch: fold a piece of fabric and (more…)
A little creative serging! I wanted to share a quick serging stitch that you might find useful for restyling or adding embellishment to one of your outfits.
This is a 3-thread flatlock stitch with a decorative crochet thread in the upper looper. The left needle and lower looper have a similar color polyester thread. The photo above shows the front of the flatlock stitch and the backside. The backside looks like a ladder stitch. (the peach thread is just the serged edge of the seam).
I started with a basic gored skirt. The front has 2 seams and after I finished flatlocking those two seams I decided to add embellishment to the center front. So the center front really does not have a seam. Instead I drew a line with tailors chalk down the center front, folded the fabric in half along the chalk line, and ran through the serger. What a great way to create unique fabric!
Here is the back view. Again there are 2 seams on each side back and this time there is a seam down the center back with a hidden zip. In order for this stitching to look even (with the zipper), I stitched the flat-felled embellishment down the edge of each center back seam, then added the zipper and closed the seam. That part got a little tricky and you can see the stitches are not perfectly even. I haven’t decided if I am going to rip it out and start again or hope nobody is looking at my tush that closely to notice 🙂
Setting up the Serger:
- Set your serger up for a 3-thread overlock: I am using a serger from Brother and the standard setting for the needle and looper tensions are 4. When I give you new tension numbers you can compare this with your serger, if your serger has manual tension dials. If you are serging with an air-threading serger, like this Babylock, set up your serger for the 2-thread flatlock – wide.
- Thread the upper looper (or the only looper for the 2-thread flatlock) with a decorative thread. Use standard poly serging thread in the needle and lower looper.
Decorative Thread Ideas:
Get the idea – be creative!
Next, there are a few changes to the serger settings:
Stitch Width: 5mm
Stitch Length: 2-4mm
Needle Tension: Decrease to 0 -3 (remember my standard setting is 4 so adjust for your serger)
Upper Looper Tension: Decrease to 2 – 3
Lower Looper Tension: Increase to 6 – 9
Disengage the knife
These setting serve as a guide. It will depend on the fabric and thread you end up serging with.
See if you have a Blind Hem Foot, if not you can use a standard foot.
There is a setting on the foot that moves to the right and left, allowing the needle to pierce more or less of the fabric. Test the stitch on your fabric to determine the setting.
Fold the fabric in half or if you are embellishing a seam, fold along the seam line. Align the fabric along the shield on the blind hem foot (if using a standard foot, mark a spot to align with).
The idea is for the needle to pierce the fabric – half the stitch is on the fabric and half is off the fabric. In fact the stitches look really messy coming out of the serger!
Stretch out the folded fabric to lie flat and press.
Pretty simple, but so fun! Have you ever tried this before? I would love some more ideas for decorative threads or yarns to use with this stitch.
I am having so much fun finding ways to use my serger, more than simply finishing the edges in my garments! With over 5,000 students in the Craftsy class Creative Serging – Beyond the Basics , many of you are already expanding your serger use. I was thrilled to see Craftsy posted a few of my videos on YouTube … below you will see how to add pintucking. A great embellishment on home dec and apparel. The video shows you how to change the settings on the Brother Project Runway Serger 5234PRW (although it doesn’t show you how to remove the stitch finger, so check your manual and don’t forget that part!) In fact, no matter what serger you use, pull out the manual and set the serger to a rolled or narrow hem. I am showing you how to do the pintucking using a blindhem foot. If you don’t have that foot, a standard foot works fine. Just serge straight 🙂
Speaking of manuals, lets take a vote … how many of you have read through your entire serger manual? I must confess, until last year I only scanned the pages referring to threading 🙂 Enjoy xoxo Angela
Ruching with Elastic Thread on a Serger / Coverstitch Machine
Loose flowing tops are right on trend right now, here is a quick way to add a little flair and fit with one of my favorite serging techniques; ruching with elastic thread. Add the ruching to the sleeve edge, hem or neckline. This is so cute and really easy! This ruching can be done on a sewing machine by winding the elastic thread in the bobbin, threading the machine with any silk, cotton, or polyester thread, and stitch with a narrow zigzag. What about serging with the chainstitch? The chainstitch is found on coverstitch machines or sergers with the added coverstitch function.
SET UP THE SERGER / COVERSTITCH MACHINE For this sample I am using my Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger with Easy Lay In Threading with Differential Feed
. Thread the machine like you would for a chainstitch: use thread in the needle and elastic thread in the looper. Be patient with the elastic thread, but it will go through the machine just fine 🙂
Adjust the tension:
- Loosen the needle tension (loosen by 2 notches)
- Tighten the looper tension (start by tightening 1 notch)
When adjusting the tensions, my coverstitch has a standard setting at 4 – so adjust the tension on your machine accordingly. Then simply run the edge of the fabric through the serger. The photo’s below show you the front and back side of the first row of stitching.
Put the fabric back in the machine, line up the previous row of stitching with the edge of the presser foot and stitch.
That it! I usually ruch 2 – 6 rows depending on the design. Another idea is to ruch the waist on a skirt – the elastic ruching makes a great waistband and then you wear the waist high or low. I will dig up a photo of my silk bathing suit cover up that is sewn like this.
FREE SERGING CLASS GIVEAWAY!
Speaking of using a coverstitch and overlock machine – I have a class on Craftsy called Creative Serging – Beyond the basics. I am giving away a FREE CLASS to one lucky reader. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me why you would like to take the free class. Click over and “‘like” my facebook page and you will get 2 entries. If you leave a comment on the facebook page you get an extra entry as well (that’s 3 entries total :)). One name will be drawn randomly on August 1st. I know many of you are already in my class as we are just under 5,000 students, awesome! For those of you that are already enjoying the class, leave a comment as to what you like most about the class and I will include you in the next giveaway (trust me, it will be good :))
If you don’t want to wait for the drawing, here is a coupon for big savings on the class. Good luck!!!!!! Cheers 🙂 Angela