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Message Board > Sewing Techniques and Tips > Edge-finishing without a serger ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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Edge-finishing without a serger
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Vintage Joan
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Vintage Joan
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Date: 10/4/12 1:01 PM

I'm terrible at making neatly finished edges on hems, facings, etc. -- the only ways I know that look decent are sewing on pretty edge-finishing tape OR folding the raw edge over maybe 1/8" and stitching it down. But I don't want to necessarily have to buy edge-finishing tapes, and folding the edge over adds a bit of thickness that I might not want. I DON'T have a serger. What non-serger techniques do you use? When I do an "imitation" serger edge (zigzag near the edge and sew a straight stitch next to it), it always makes the fabric pull together slightly under the zigzag... not pretty.


-- Edited on 10/4/12 1:02 PM --

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my shield and my very great reward ~ Gen. 15:1

Photo: A long time ago

justgail

justgail
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thumbsup 1 member likes this.
Date: 10/4/12 2:07 PM

several ideas -

1. overcast by hand - not hard, just timeconsuming, although good task for mindless tv watching. has been used for ages in the workrooms of traditional couture houses.

2. pinking shears - good for tightly woven fabrics, might be hard to find a good pinking shears based of threads about them. I don't know that I'd want to try a pinking blade on the rotary cutter, unless I used it *before* doing the work of sewing the garment.

3. straight stitch in the seam allowance

4. zigzag, but use an over cast foot, which has a little finger to keep the stitch from pulling.

5. 3 step zigzag or serpentine - the smaller stitches lay much flatter

those are ones that come to mind, I'm sure I've forgotten a few.

CM_Sews
CM_Sews
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Date: 10/4/12 2:22 PM

For seam finishes in general, this Sew, Mama, Sew tutorial has many non-serger options.

If you are willing to use bias tape, then this bias tape facing technique is a good way to finish edges. The tape is turned to the back (of whatever) on the seam line, not folded over and around the edge of the fabric, so this is a less bulky bias-tape-type finish. You can make your own bias tape, but for this application, store-bought (Wrights) actually has less bulk (in my experience). The advantage to this method is that the bias tape will "bend" easily around convex and concave curves, and will lay very flat. Per the tutorial, you want single-fold bias tape.

CMC

Nancy K
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Nancy K
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In reply to Vintage Joan <<


Date: 10/4/12 2:32 PM

Before I got a serger I finished hems with either rayon tape or lace. This is a tradtional finish for hems. If they are really light weight hand overcasting was done. Light weight fabric or a hem that you are going to be topstiching in place can be turned and pressed before stitching. If you need to finish seams you can hand overcast light fabrics, turn to the wrong side and stitch or use a Hong Kong finish. You can also do a flat fell seam, a method used in men's shirts. A Hong Kong finish can be done with chiffon or georgette for a really light weight finish. I like to finish waist band seams with lining in a Hong Kong finish. It's a beautiful high end finish.
Facings can be clean finished quite easily. Either using sew in interfacing or fusible, sew 1/4" sas right sides together at the outer edges, ie not the edges that are sewn to the garment. For either you turn the interfacing and if fusible, carefully fuse in place letting the fabric roll slightly to the underside. I will use a pinking sheers to trim the edges especially if they are curved. If using sew in interfacing turn , press and baste at the open edges.

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beauturbo
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In reply to Vintage Joan <<


Date: 10/4/12 3:43 PM

A three step zig zag, (three separate smaller stitches in each zig and zag part of the stitch sequence) if done over the cut edge of something, lies flatter and less tunneling and just way less push and pull factors going on - that can even cause tunneling under a zig zag) rather than a regular zig zag stitch. I think that might be part of the reason that kind of stitch got invented a long time ago- that and I think it works better for sewing on elastic sometimes.

I used to (pre serger wise) also combine hand stitching with sewing machine stitching a lot more, and still even do that if I actually want something to look really nice sometimes. In that case if it's a woven fabric and the seam is pretty much on the straight grain of it like side seam of a blouse or a skirt, I would straight stitch it, press it as sewn, then press it open, fold in both cut edges of the pressed open seam, press again, then fold back together, press again to one side and then just hand slip stitch it closed, while doing something else, like watching a movie or such. And that is even while having something like probably at least 30 sewing machines.

So what they do in some factory someplace, is not always conductive, to having the best looking seam finish either. Even if they have a ton of special purpose overlockers there, each one set up for something different even. I feel it's just conductive to them, to get that garment done and finished and sold for whatever price point, they wish to sell it at too. So, some of the best and most expensive clothes, at least on wovens, you would not even catch with having in them, or see any serger stitches in them even. Even if you looked inside of them. So you always have a choice. Would I do that to everything, no, but if something was going to get lots of wear, and washing and drying, and worn a lot over a long period of time, and have the insides show on it someplace, I might.

Vintage Joan
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Vintage Joan
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Date: 10/4/12 3:58 PM

Wow -- so many fantastic replies already. I'm bookmarking this thread! Thank you all!




-- Edited on 10/4/12 3:59 PM --

------
my shield and my very great reward ~ Gen. 15:1

Photo: A long time ago

marymary86
marymary86
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GA USA
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Date: 10/4/12 7:17 PM

I remember a product called "Seams Great" which was a sheer nylon (I think) tricot tape. You put it around the edge of a seam (like bias tape) and stitched it down.

That might give you another option.

------
Mary


Vintage Joan
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Vintage Joan
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In reply to marymary86 <<


Date: 10/4/12 10:49 PM

Thanks, Mary! I'm sure getting lots of great ideas here.

------
my shield and my very great reward ~ Gen. 15:1

Photo: A long time ago

PattyE
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Date: 10/4/12 11:14 PM

Before I owned a serger I did a zig zag to finish seams...very close to the seam stitching and then trimmed close to the zig zag.

NhiHuynh
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Date: 10/5/12 1:41 AM

Pre-serger, I used a zigzag stitch with an overcast foot. The foot was a wide open center area with a metal bar down the middle (attached to the front, not attached at tje back) to hold the stitch at the edge. This prevents the tunneling or pulling effect at the fabric edge.

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I finally have a blog. www.detectivehoundstooth.com :)

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