Yea, I can mark another back to school project off the list! (Gotta get through all these before I can officially start thinking Fall and Halloween.) Not all of my daughter’s skirts come with shorts underneath and she definitely needs them! I used my legging pattern to make these little shorties.
I left the dark blue pair the recommended length, so she could wear them around as shorts and they wouldn’t be too short. I took about an inch/inch and a half off the other two pairs so you wouldn’t see them under her shorter skirts.
If you would like to make a couple of these shorties, here is the free pattern/tutorial link: Basic legging pattern w/capri and shortie cut line.
I really like sewing with knits and most of my everyday wardrobe is knitwear. (Not including bottoms, though even my denim has a high percentage of stretch.) As knits become more popular, the selection is getting so much better.
I do use a serger for most of my garment construction. (The Brother 1034d.) If you have the room and the means, I really recommend a serger. I’ll admit, my serger sat in the box for the first 3 months, but once I got it out and started using it, I never looked back.
If you watch the dvd that comes with your machine, it probably shows off all sorts of fancy things you can do with a serger. (So you should definitely go back and watch it…)
One of the challenges of working with knits is figuring out the best way to hem your garment. It can tricky because the hem needs to stretch so the threads don’t “pop” when wearing the garment. You also need to be careful when hemming, because the if fabric stretches as you sew, your hem will turn out to be wonky and stretched out.
Leaving the hem raw is not always an option on a fancier item and a double needle on a regular sewing machine does stretch a little, but never seems to hold up. (For me anyway on a frequently washed item.)
It’s a shame you can’t actually hem with a serger…
Wait a minute… YOU CAN HEM WITH A SERGER! You can serge a blind hem and it will make the perfect, stretchy hem!
Check out that stretch:
And the inside view:
If you use a coordinating needle thread, the outside stitch practically disappears!
Are you ready to see how to make a blind hem with a serger? It’s actually really easy!
#1: Get out the manual to your serger or Google it. Your manual will probably give you the appropriate settings for a blind hem.
#2 Figure out if you have a blind hem foot. (If you have 1034d brother serger, it probably came with one.) You do not need the blind hem foot, but it is much easier and will help you serge a more even hem. (I made the dark blue and striped shorts without the foot.)
This is what the blind hem foot for the brother serger looks like:
#3: Remove the right needle and adjust your settings. Set up the machine for 3 thread overlock stitch with one needle in the left position.
(For the brother serger, the recommended settings are: Left needle thread tension 0 – 2. (I used 0.) Upper looper thread tension 5 – 7. (I used 7.) Lower Looper Thread tension 2 – 4. (I used 3.) These settings worked on a Juki serger as well.
#4 For best results, press your hem and use spray starch.
Fold your hem over the desired amount. (3/4 to 1 inch works best.) Press.
Fold the pressed hem over towards the front of the fabric, until the raw edge of the fabric is sticking out. (as shown below.) Press again.
#5: If you have a blind hem foot, put it on your machine.
Line up the fabric so the folded edge is up against the blind hem foot guide.
Start serging, making sure the needle is just barely piercing the fold of the fabric.
You can do this with the all purpose serger foot as well. You just have to go very slow, as it is more difficult to keep the fold of the fabric straight.
The guide of the blind hem foot holds it perfectly in place, so if you don’t have a blind hem foot, I recommend picking one up. (I found the Singer Blind Hem foot, Janome foot and Juki foot all on Amazon.)
#6: Once done, flatten out the hem and give it a little press. (Don’t jerk on the fabric too much when spreading the fabric open, you should be able to gently flatten it with your fingers. If not, you may need to loosen the thread or lower looper tension.)
Have fun trying this out!
If you are using my legging/short pattern, I have a couple of quick tips/suggestions.
1. The hem allowance on the pattern is 1/2 inch. You can do the blind hem with only 1/2 inch, but its a bit more tricky, So if you are thinking ahead, I recommend adding an extra 1/2 inch to the length for easier use of this technique.
2. I also suggest serging the blind hem on the leggings/shorts before sewing the legs together. It’s much easier to hem something flat than a circle… 🙂
There it is, good luck and let me know if you try this out!
- My Sewing Machine: SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist
- My Serger: Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger or you can just use Pinking Shears
- Rotary Cutter
- I love my large ruler and large cutting mat, but you may prefer to start off with a smaller Cutting set
- Dritz Dual Purpose Marking Pen and Fray Check
- Ball Point needles
- Singer walking foot or universal walking foot
- Blind hem foot.
- Wonder clips (I didn’t use these in the post, but they are just awesome!
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