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Tips & Techniques > Lettuce edge using a sewing machine/zigzag stitch

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Posted by: Jackie M
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Posted on: 1/27/04 4:52 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 4 people   Very Helpful by 11 people   
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You don't need a serger to lettuce edge knits. All you need is a scrap of your fabric and a few minutes to practice. :)

I set my zigzag stitch to the widest width (6 on my machine) and almost the shortest length (about .5 on my machine; buttonhole length is 0). Then position your fabric so that the hem allowance is about 1.25 times the width of your zigzag. This ensures that the fabric will be forced to "fold over" when being lettuced -- you need this little fold of fabric to achieve a good lettuce edge. Then stitch, stretching the fabric both in front of and behind the presser foot. You may need to slightly angle the fabric a little to the right as it passes under the presser foot to achieve the "fold over." You'll probably need a second pass of zigzags. For the second pass, I narrow my stitch width to about 2/3 the width of the first pass. Then stitch again, this time stretching the fabric only from behind the presser foot.

This technique may need to be fine-tuned, depending on your fabric and machine -- you may need to stretch from both behind and in front of the presser foot on both passes, etc. The important thing is to test what techniques you need on a scrap.

I have tried using my rolled hem foot, then doing a zigzag pass, and it doesn't work. For me, anyway. I haven't tried decorative thread using this technique, so if you have, please post a comment and let us know how it worked!

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10 Comments
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Asa Hagstrom said...
Thanks for posting this, Jackie! I'll definitely give it a try when the opportunity arises.
1/28/04 6:09 AM
aneri_masi said...
Hi Jackie, I am a really new stitcher and am not familiar with a lot of terms. What does "hem allowance us about 1.25 times the width of the zigzag" mean? I know what the width of the zigzag is. Does this mean that the stitching will not be very close to the edge? Don't I need to roll the edge so that it doesn't fray? Or will the small stitch lenght itself prevent the fraying?
3/9/04 1:35 PM
Jackie M said...
Aneri, that means that the hem/edge you're trying to lettuce should actually be a little wider than the zigzag stitch. As you stretch the edge as it passes under the presser foot, the fabric is forced to fold over a little bit at the edge -- this little bit of fold over gives the fabric the extra body needed to support a lettuce edge. Sergers do this all in one step for you -- rolling the edge and finishing it. On a sewing machine, you have to manipulate the fabric yourself to get it positioned just right under the presser foot. I've found that by feeding the fabric at an angle to the presser foot forces the fabric to roll over a bit and give a better lettuce edge. Hope this helps.
3/10/04 9:22 AM
ChrisK said...
I don't have a serger (yet) but would like to give this technique a try, it sounds good.
3/11/04 2:00 AM
Diana M said...
I'm off to test and try this tip right now! Thank you SO much!
4/29/04 0:21 AM
pamici said...
So grateful for this tip and can't wait to try it! Until the budget fairy allows for a serger at my house I'm looking wistfully at serger techniques and wondering about zig zag - yes!
12/11/05 8:05 PM
cindy-lou said...
I just reatd this tip from 2004-- it's the best tip on lettuce-edge hemming I've found! I followed these directions on a scrap of my double-knit lacey fabric and it looked GREAT. I easily applied it to the top I just made, and it looked so good that I un-hemmed the sleeves and put it there too! For others to know: I didn't do any exact measuring of the hem allowance and width of the zig-zag; I just knew that my hem allowance was 1 inch and set my zigzag for a width of 6.0, and it worked great. The shirt hem and sleeve hems didn't need to be very exact anyway. Thanks for the great tip!
12/30/06 9:25 PM
Luckie Kay Locke said...
Playing with bias cut hem on silk creape,andexperimentiog with decorative stitching.thank you lkl
5/16/07 11:34 PM
Birdie757 said...
Thanks for posting this tip. I was trying to replicate some kids shorts from Gymboree and this worked great. I used my overcast foot and an overcast stitch with the stitch settings as you suggested. I stretched the fabric in front and behing the foot. I used a heavier ribbed knit...I am sure I will get even better results with a lighter knit.
7/27/07 11:28 AM
nancyzeh said...
thank you so much for this information.I have been looking at you tube for a sewing machine version and its just not there. I am so glad to find this on P,P,. I can.t wait to try it out.
6/20/12 9:10 AM
 
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