Thursday, July 19, 2012

Good Morning Serger Friends

Flatlocking has always been a favorite stitch among serger embellishers. I love it. It is a great way to add character to an old t-shirt that has stains or whatever.  This has made you not want to wear it to go shopping or out to lunch.  BUT, if you use Candlelight thread in the upper looper and disengage the knife then you can add beautiful decorative stitching to that shirt. One of my students left long thread tails and added beads to the ends of the flatlock seam.  It was really sporty and cute. If you don't want to do that, then knot the ends and using a double eye needle hide the thread tails. Another options is to feed 1/8" ribbon under the seam - has a beautiful effect.
Aug 3 my sister is coming for a visit and most likely we will be going through all my samples...again. Then I will put aside some and take pics so I can post for you to see.
Well, hope your summer is going well, it is really hot here!

Til next time....

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hello again

I know it has been a long time since I posted, but I have been traveling around the country lately. I have visited many quilt shows and so impressed with what I have seen.  It is so wonderful to be able to see all the many talented sewers and their amazing creations.
Of course there are always many options for our delightful SERGERS and we must never abandon them. 
They are thought of mostly for garment construction, but this time of year I put on my thinking cap and use my serger for  craft projects. I love making baskets, aprons, placemats, purses, tote bags and so on.

Please let me know what projects you would like on this blog and I will post a few.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Balancing the Serger Stitches

Four thread Overlock
1. For testing the balance use 4 different color threads.
2. If the lower looper is coming to the front then it is too loose.
3. But most times if you tighten the lower looper thread then you may need to loosen the upper looper thread. Hence - balance. The same applies if the upper looper thread is going to the back, tighten the upper looper thread and loosen the lower looper thread.

Three Thread Rolled Hem
1. The needle tension should be normal or one number higher because it is the security of the stitch.
2. Upper looper (depending on the thread used) should be at a normal setting.This is the thread that encases the raw edge of the fabric - a lot like sausage casing. :-)
a. Wooly nylon - normal
b. Regular serger thread the tension will need to be a little tighter or a higher number.
c. Jeans stitch or a heavier weight thread then the tension needs to be a little looser.
3. Three Thread Decorative Edge
1. In most cases all normal settings will work.
2. If needed loosen both the upper and lower looper tensions to accommodate the weight of the thread.

To practice some of these techniques - go to and look at "Projects" and select "Square Dance Purse" or "Crazy Quilt Bag". There are several serger projects on the site that you can chose from for learning how to bond with your serger.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sergers - DIfferent/Same

Not all sergers are the same! It is important to review the manual for guidance. But some do a beautiful rolled hem while others just chew up the fabric.
It is important to do research and see what other people have experienced using the serger brand you are thinking of buying.
I have heard several "Bad Comments" about some of the brands and how they can't achieve some of the basic stitches.

Again, ask around and see what other people are experiencing. IT SHOULD BE USER FRIENDLY - first and foremost and easy to thread.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

More Serger Fun

This picture is not a true sample but just a look at how to weave.

I was at Steve's Sew & Vac in King of Prussia, PA. last week and they were doing a serger project that I had done many many years ago. The class loved it and it brought back such beautiful memories of when I lived in Florida and taught serger club.

The technique was - taking strips of fabric (about 3" x 16") and doing a 3 thread overlock stitch of the long sides using heavy decorative thread. (Pearl Crown Rayon, Candlelight, etc.) You could put wrong sides together and make two strips into one for more weight.
After all the strips have been edged, just weave them like a basket weave. They did something a little different than I did..but

I laid them flat and with right sides together laid a flange back on top of the weaved strips (secured them with washable glue stick). I serged all four sides and had a super duper pillow cover.

Today I was thinking wouldn't that make a sensational front for a purse or totebag???
Of course you could adhere the strips to fusible batting or fusible interfacing. Oh the possibilities!!!!

I just love my serger and am anxious to make something today!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Summer is coming!

Years ago I used to make custom bathing suits using my serger and my sewing machine. I used cotton/lycra elastic because it launders well and holds up nicely. With the serger it made it quick and easy to get several done in one day. Mostly I made 2 piece bathing suits and occasionally a whole piece (yuck). There are several pattern books and individual patterns for making active wear garments. It is a matter of what you like best.

In order for the elastic to be evenly applied you do need an elastic gathering attachment or foot. Though you can apply the elastic manually the gathering ratio may not be even and therefore the garment may not fit properly.

In addition to swimwear, you can make "summer tops". It is done by making a tube of fabric that will fit the bust size plus 4" for wear ease and be able to drape over the waist (if desired) and to the top of the hips. Simply add elastic to the top of the tube of fabric, turn it and then zigzag in place. Of course when zigzagging, you must stretch the elastic to make it lay flat. It will recover when released. For a finishing touch you could add straps. See spaghetti straps in a previous post.

For a quick hem, you could rolled hem or picot edge the bottom. From start to finish it should take about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Recycle old Knit T-shirts

This is a photo of My son, me and my great nephew on New Years Eve.

A long time ago we all made t-shirt dresses by adding a gathered bottom to a t-shirt. That was fun and pretty easy using the gathering foot. Here are a couple of more ideas.

1. To make a nightgown - use an old knit turtle neck and add a gathered bottom for the skirt. It is warm and quite comfortable. (You can always embellish with embroidery or applique.)
2. Cut a knit t-shirt about 3" down from the sleeve seam and add a slightly gathered bottom for the skirt, this will result in a prairie dress. (Seen a lot of them on Project Runway.)
3. Same goes for a knit tank top, add a gathered bottom for the skirt.

Test the gathering ratio of the fabric you will be using for the bottom. I usually take a 10" strip and see what is left after gathering. There will be different results if you are just using gathering settings instead of a gathering foot. Remember for gathering it is suggested that you use both needles or 4 threads.
The amount of fabric suggested for the bottom of the shirts is 2 - 2 1/2 times the circumference of the bottom of the shirt. This will also depend on the gathering ratio.

If you want to be daring, you could even use a button down blouse - this would really be neat.

Spring is coming soon, so start making your warm weather garments.

Oh, another idea - add ruffles to the bottom of shorts. Cute and quick.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Blind Hem - part 2

I tried to repond to the comment - no luck, so new post.

First image is cloth guide (seam guide), second image is blind hem foot.

In order to achieve a blind hem with the serger - the RIGHT needle (no left needle) must just penetrate the fold of the fabric less than 1/8" in from the fold. It will most likely trim away the excess of the raw edge of the flat edge of the fabric.

To do this - most people use a blind hem foot or a seam guide. For some sergers the blind hem foot requires that you lower the cutting blade. Whatever one works best for you or feels more comfortable - is the one to use.

Be back to post real soon!!!

I have been thinking alot about new serger projects and some of the accessory feet that make my serger life so much easier.

There have been inquiries about doing a blind hem on a serger. I may have addressed this before, but if you ask I will revisit.

It is done using the blind hem foot or seam guide. And you need to use either a 2 or 3 thread flatlock stitch. It does take practice - a lot of practice but once you get the hang of it - you will love the results.

Years ago before I had a 5 thread serger I used to use the above technique to hem knits all the time.

Hope this helps.