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Learn how to serge the perfect hem with the blind hem foot! (plus grab a copy of my free shortie pattern)
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 free legging pattern to make these little shorties.
Of the three pairs of shorties I finished today, I left one the pattern recommended length (the dark blue pair) so she could wear them around as shorts and they wouldn’t be too short. For the other two pair, I took about an inch and a half off so they wouldn’t be seen under her shorter skirts.
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 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.
The Challenge of Hemming Knits
One of the challenges of working with knits is figuring out the best way to hem your garment.
Hemming 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 if the fabric stretches as you sew, your hem will turn out to be wonky and stretched out.
One option is to just leave the hem raw. Of course on a fancier item, you may not want a raw hem.
Another knit hemming option is using a twin needle with a regular sewing machine. Hems made with a twin needle do have a bit of stretch, but for me, I have not had a lot of luck having then hold up 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!
Serging a Hem with the Blind Hem Foot
Check out that stretch:
The inside view:
Use a coordinating needle thread and the outside stitch practically disappears!
Tips for Serging a Hem with the Blind Hem Foot
Are you ready to see how to make a blind hem with a serger? It’s actually really easy!
- You will need the blind hem settings for your individual serger. Your manual will most likely give you the appropriate settings for a blind hem. (So hunt it down or use google to find a copy.) I included the Brother 1034d settings below.
- 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:(Here are examples of the Singer Blind Hem foot, Janome foot and Juki foot.)
- Remove the right needle and adjust your settings. Set up the machine for 3 thread overlock stitch with one needle in the left position.
- Recommended settings for the brother serger: 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.
- For best results, press your hem and use spray starch.
How to Serge a Blind Hem:
1. Fold your hem over the desired amount. (3/4 to 1 inch works best.) Press.
2. 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.
3. If you have a blind hem foot, put it on your machine.
4. Line up the fabric so the folded edge is up against the blind hem foot guide.
5. 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 hold the fabric/folded hem 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 pull 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, (free legging pattern here) I have a couple of quick tips/suggestions.
- 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.
- 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… 🙂
That’s, good luck and let me know if you try this out!
Products used and recommended in this post
- Favorite knit fabric suppliers: Funkalicous Fabrics and Fabric.com Girl Charlee Cali Fabrics and Etsy
- Recommended Sewing Machine: SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist (600-Stitch Machine with Extension Table, Bonus Accessories and Hard Cover)
- Recommended Serger: Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger or you can just use Pinking Shears
- Brother Blind hem foot. Other serger brand feet: Singer Blind Hem foot, Janome foot and Juki foot
- 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
- Wonder clips (I didn’t use these in the post, but they are just awesome!
- Ball Point/stretch needles
- Ball point/stretch double needle