Serged Hem Tricks and Tips

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If you own a serger or have access to one, it can be extremely useful to you in the hemming process. A serger creates a cleanly hemmed edge in one single step, so it’s faster than most traditional hems. There’s a bit of a learning curve with any serger, but once you get used to your machine you may be finding excuses to hem your sewing!

Serged hems can make garment finishing a breeze. Learn tips, tricks and how to's on The Sewing Loft

 Serged Hem Sewing


Uses for the serged hem:

  • A serged hem will sew two pieces of fabric together with a neat edge that won’t fray (it even trims as it sews), so it’s perfect for baby blankets, table linens, or handkerchiefs.
  • Use the serger as the first step in hemming any fabric – serge the raw edge of the fabric and then press it and hem it as normal; the serged edge means you only have to make one fold in the hem before sewing because the serger stitches will keep the fabric from fraying.
  • Use the rolled hem setting on your serger to create a neatly rolled hem on lightweight fabrics or table linens.
  • Apply a lace trim to the edge of your fabric (after making a basic rolled hem with your serger), then do a second set of rolled hem stitching to catch the lace with the fabric edge. Fold the fabric edge under for a lace trim and stitch it in place on your regular machine.
  • Use your serger’s differential feed settings to create a lettuce-style edging on stretch fabrics. This gives the edge of the hem a ruffled or wavy look.

Tips for serged hems:

  • The serger will trim your fabric as you sew, so don’t worry if the raw edge is a little bit uneven or wavy.
  • Use a coordinating thread to hide the serged hem or choose a contrasting thread to make the seam the star of the show. A texturized thread, such as the Wooly Nylon, provides a really lovely pop of color to items like cloth napkins or dish towels. You can even put a different color thread on each spool of the serger to create a variegated effect.
  • Refer to your Stitch Card for different seam options.

The MOST IMPORTANT TIP I can offer is: Never serge over pins! Not only will it break your needle but doing so can damage your machine.

How to make a serged hem:

  • Set your serger for an overlock stitch (basic hemming) or a rolled stitch (lighter fabrics or more polished hemming).
  • Trim the fabric so that it is mostly neat and at the length you want – if you don’t plan to fold it under, make sure your item measures within ¼ inch of your desired finished measurement.
  • Sew a few stitches on your serger without putting fabric into the machine yet – this will create a chain of stitches to start you off.
  • Slide the fabric into your serger so that the edge is neatly trimmed by the serger knife.
  • Serge down one whole side and then pull the fabric out but continue to stitch for an inch or two so you have another chain of stitches on the end.
  • If you’re sewing something with a corner, start a new seam for each edge.
  • Be sure to tuck those tails in! Use a darning needle to weave the thread chains back under the hem stitches and apply a small amount of seam sealant to the corners to keep the thread from unraveling.

Serged hems can make garment finishing a breeze. Learn tips, tricks and how to's on The Sewing Loft

Have you ever used a serger stitch to finish a hem? We love to see your handy work! Feel free to add a picture to our flickr group.

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  1. anneweaver1974 says

    Awesome post!! I’ve got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for this evening that links to your tips for making serged hems.

  2. Deby Coles says

    I need a serger, I just don’t know how I can live without one! Thanks for showing me what it can do and giving me some ideas Heather.

  3. How do you sew a lettuce hem in a pair on PJ’s made of stretch fabric that you are shortening?

  4. Bobbie J. Mattox says

    great information, thanks for sharing such a good article. useful tips and tricks of serged hem, thanks for sharing.