WHAT IS IT?
A serged or overlocked seam finish is an all-in-one seam finish that cuts, sews and finishes the edge. This seam finish requires a separate machine called a serger or overlocker. These machines use three or four spools of thread. One or two of these spools are threaded through needles sewing straight rows of stitching, and two loop over the cut edge to finish it off. As the serger sews, it cuts off the edge of the fabric, and threads interlock around the cut edge to stop it from unraveling.
Serged seam finish pressed open
Serged seam finish pressed to one side
WHEN DO YOU USE IT?
This is the type of seam finish you’ll see most often on ready-to-wear clothing, so it will give your sewing projects a store-bought appearance. People who own a serger likely use a serged seam finish on the majority of their projects. For knit fabrics, serging can be used to sew and finish seams in one step. Serging is very fast. You’ll need to have a serger if you want to use this seam finish, as well as three or four spools of matching thread for your project.
Tips + Notes
- Do not use pins near a serger! You’ll damage the blade and risk broken bits of pin flying at your face.
- Serging is fairly permanent, as it entails the trimming off of fabric. You can unpick serging if you must, but it is slow to do. If you do remove the serging, remember that the seam allowances are now much narrower than before.
- Your regular sewing machine may have a stitch setting that imitates the look of serging called an overlock stitch or overcast stitch. It doesn’t trim the edge like a serger would, but this does work as an edge finish!
HOW TO SEW A SERGED SEAM FINISH WITH THE SEAM PRESSED OPEN
Sew the seam with a regular 5⁄8″ (1.5cm) seam allowance. Press the seam open.
With the right side of the seam allowance up, separate one seam allowance from the rest of the garment so you are ready to sew through it as a single layer.
Serge this side of the seam allowance. Allow the serger to trim off a tiny amount of the seam allowance, about 1⁄8″ (3mm).
Repeat with the other side of the seam allowance. Press the seam open again to flatten the serging. Trim the serged thread tails.
HOW TO SEW A SERGED SEAM FINISH WITH THE SEAM PRESSED TO ONE SIDE
Sew the seam with a regular 5⁄8″ (1.5cm) seam allowance. Do not press open.
Serge the seam allowances together. Allow the serger to trim off a tiny amount of the seam allowance, about 1⁄8″ (3mm.) Press the seam to one side, and trim the serged thread tails.
Source : The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions
About the Author : Tasia ST. Germaine