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Forum > Sergers, Coverstitch and Blindhemmers > seaming ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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solveg
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Date: 2/27/13 1:27 AM

OK, seriously... I've looked for hours! I am ready to use my new serger for the first time, and I just want to finish the edges of a woven top.

Now, I've heard that some people serge all the edges right off the bat. This was my plan, too. However, now that I'm actually threading the serger, I don't see how this can possibly be done unless you transfer all your seam lines. Some people say that they don't trim off anything, but I don't know how you hit the exact edge. I mean, the point of this is that your inside construction looks clean, right?

Other people say they trim off just a little bit. Now this seems problematic, too, if you use the edges to make your seams. Unless you transfer your seam lines. Which I could do, but don't want to.

So in my mind, serging before construction is impossible. What about during construction? Since I am just learning, I really don't want to do anything on a serger that I would have to rip out. Plus, I don't have the knowledge to know when I can violate KwikSew's directions to press all seams open unless otherwise notified.

So what about sewing the seams and then serging? In this scenario, I don't know why the overcast stitch on my sewing machine wouldn't work just as well. If you serge open seams, you just get extra edge bulk, although it is a bit cleaner. But what do you do for tightly curved seams, or where seams intersect? Or a dozen other difficult areas that I assume exist but I haven't discovered yet? Really, this seems to be the same procedure as finishing on my sewing machine, only more difficult.

So... how do you guys deal with these issues?

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Date: 2/27/13 3:46 AM

I sew my seams, then finish them on the overlocker, then press them. Yes, you could just use an over-edge stitch on your machine, but an overlocker (serger) is quicker. Also my machine doesn't have an over-edge stitch.

Having said that, some very frayey fabrics I do overlock before sewing the seam. I'm just more careful then about how much I trim off.

For crossing seams, I do one seam, finish it, then do the other. It's not a problem.

I should also mention that for some seams I overlock the seam allowances together for a sort of mock french seam. For an edge-stitched or top-stitched seam I also overlock the seam allowances together. It really depends on the effect you want.


-- Edited on 2/27/13 3:57 AM --

Nonette
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In reply to solveg <<
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Date: 2/27/13 4:38 AM

How to serge seam allowances

Just got this from Threads! Hope it helps.

solveg
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In reply to Nonette <<


Date: 2/27/13 11:47 AM

I saw that, but it was about serging the seams together....

Another problem I saw with the Serging first concept is that I imagine the serging will unravel when you clip seams?

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Date: 2/27/13 12:28 PM

Don't worry about extra weight on the serged seams. If you are using serger thread, it is a lighter weight than all purpose sewing machine thread. You can still use all purpose thread, but if you are working on something that is made out of lightweight fabric, it's best to stick with serger thread.

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MartiP
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Date: 2/27/13 12:56 PM

I just use a three thread stitch and serge off 1/8 ", then sew together with a 1/2 seam allowance. For me, it's too easy to accidentally cut your project if you sew then serge. This works well for seams you want to press open for one reason or another.

If it's something that will look well with the seam towards one side, like a simple top or PJ bottoms, just line up the fabric with the marking corresponing with your seam allowance width and serge. Most times I use four threads, but on something that needs to stretch a lot like a lycra garment, or a more delicate I use three threads.
-- Edited on 2/28/13 10:53 PM --

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Date: 2/27/13 2:01 PM

If you serge the garment together at the seam line (if the serger does not have markings place a strip of painter's tape on the door near the knife to mark the seam allowance) you should not have to do any clipping.

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Date: 2/27/13 6:57 PM

When I first got my serger, I always used my sm first. Now I have a few patterns that I can just serge. Wovens usually use a different size seam width than knits (Kwik Sew uses 1/4 on knits) so you have to adjust for that. As to pressing all seams open, I have often ignored that rule even when I only had a sm as I would sometimes zigzag close to the seam and trim off the rest of the fabric. There are a few times when pressing open is critical but take a look at RTW. The RTW seams are never pressed open but sewn together. Pressing is critical. As to curves, it takes practice. Finishing seams and serging over intersecting seams is just like a sm seam. I have not had a problem. I tie off serger seams but may not need to do that really; it is like sewing backwards a stitch or two, it makes me feel better but probably isn't necessary most of the time. HTH

Miss Fairchild
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Date: 2/27/13 8:01 PM

When I first bought my serger and used it, I didn't sew the seams first; I serged them with a four thread stitch. That being said, the pants I serged are still holding together strong.

Tightly curved seams are pulled straight in front of the needles, or you can manipulate them around (like you're tossing a frisbee) And where the seams intersect (as in the crotch line of pants, I sew over the cross seams. You can also clip the opposing seam allowance but I'm too lazy.

As to trimming off, I use 5/8" seams but if I have a Kwik Sew pattern, I put that 1/4'' seam allowance right on the marking line of my serger and let the rest take care of itself. The fourth thread is about 1/4" away from the edge anyway.

And as to not being able to rip out serged seams, not true! I can't tell you how many I have ripped out (you clip the lower looper threads); a little time consuming, but it can be done.

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In reply to solveg <<


Date: 2/27/13 10:13 PM

Yes, it is possible to serge first then sew. You are basically finishing the edge similar to an overlock stitch on the sewing machine. When you do this you shouldn't be cutting off any of the fabric edge unless you're doing it consistently and then adjusting your seam allowances accordingly. If your cutting is jagged you can trim the jagged edge. But as you've figured out, if you trim and use the fabric edge you're messing up your seam allowance. Then you would proceed as normal.

As for clipped edges, if you're using a smaller seam allowance (1/4" or 3/8") you don't need to clip or trim. For 5/8" you should be clipping on the bias so the fraying would be minimal depending on the fabric.

For tight curves you have to go slowly and lift the foot and readjust like on a sewing machine. For seam intersections, my serger powers through layers with no problem. If you're worried about heavier fabrics being bulky, a little hammering flattens most seams.

If you like finishing on your machine vs a serger you should do that. I would say that my serger does this much faster than an overlock stitch and much more securely. Also if you're seaming on the serger it's much faster on a serger because it's one pass.

And to pick a serger seam is quite easy especially on a 3 thread serge. You pull the straight stitch and other 2 threads will come off.

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