Monday, February 15, 2010

Serger Techniques

Advanced Serger Techniques

1. Inside Corner – Four thread sergers work best when serging in a straight line. It is suggested that when you want to serger an inside corner you cut a ¼” nip in the center of the corner so that you can more easily manipulate the fabric. Some books suggest that you make a small fold in the corner and then relax it once it has been serged. It is best if you try both techniques and see which one you find more comfortable.
2. Outside Corner – It is possible to turn the corner without sergering off. This technique takes a lot of practice but can be done. Serge to the end of the fabric, lift the presser foot, pivot the fabric, retract the thread, place the needles in the fabric by hand turning and then continue serging to the next corner. Problem – if you do not get it just right there will be loose stitches and/or dog ear corners. It is easier to serge off and hide thread tails whenever possible.

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3. For SHARP outside corners rotate the fabric CLOCKWISE after each side has been serged. That way you will start with a clean raw edge until the last raw edge. Note – at times when starting to serge over a previously serged seam the thread will stack (form stitches without advancing the fabric).
4. Sergin a circle or oval* - Notch to start is the best way to perform this technique. Notch to start means cut a section out of the fabric so it can easily be placed under the presser foot and beyond the upper knife. The section is usually about ¼” deep by 1” in length give or take. To stop you must stitch right on top of the beginning stitches for about 1” and then remove your foot from the foot pedal. Next you lift the presser foot, gently pull the fabric away from the needle, lower the presser foot and then serge a thread tail. Hide thread tails and dab with seam sealant. Tip – when the fabric starts to bunch up as you are turning, stop the serger with the needles in the fabric, gently lift the presser foot but not to its highest position, and the fabric will relax. This technique also works well with outside and inside curves.

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5. Pokies – to prevent pokies it is suggested that you move the upper knife a little to the right to bite more fabric. Always test on scrap fabric first. Another way to prevent pokies is to place water soluble stabilizer on top of the fabric. This acts like a sausage casing and encloses the fabric. Note – pokies are fine fibers of fabric poking out from the segerd edge.
6. Fixing skipped stitches – Use a hand sewing needle and clear nylon thread unknotted. Start from the back and go to the front and secure the skipped stitches. Once the threads are secure pass the needle to the back again and then hand tie a double knot. If possible hide the ends of the clear nylon thread under some stitches or under the fabric. Cut away excess clear nylon thread.
7. Serger Tucking – With wrong sides together you make an outside seam. This is a great way to encourage using embroidery thread to make a custom thread color. Make several rows on a long piece of fabric. On the sewing machine, stitch vertical lines so that the seams alternate direction. The threads used on the back will be featured when you change direction.
8. Serger Pintucks – Pintucks can easily be achieved by using either the rolled hem or picot edge. The Picot edge with 100% cotton Robison Anton thread makes a beautiful serger pintuck.


  1. Thank you! A couple of years ago I made some rolled hem napkins for our family's daily use. I had found a technique to turn the sharp corners without having to cut tails, and was trying to remember! I googled and found your blog and LOVE it! I wish I didn't have unfinished projects though...maybe when all the kids are out of the house that will change! Just wanted you to know you've helped at least one person out here in the interwebbertubesasphere!!!

  2. Thank you very much. i appreciate the input. I will be adding more helpful hints and techniques soon. If you are looking for projects - many of mine are on the Janome website.

  3. Ohh, this is PERFECT! I am just starting a project with a square neckline, so this will help me immensely!

  4. I am so excited to try your "serging in a circle" technique!! This page is wonderful!