My sewing buddy and I have been been having issues with our sergers. So, this month we decided to revisit seam finishes. Let me tell you that I do feel extremely spoiled having had a serger for the last 25 years (wow! does that seem like a long time). I haven't had the need for the majority of seam finishes that I used in my younger sewing days. Here's the finishes that we practiced with:
1. Flat Fell - We kinda followed the basic directions for the Flat Fell Foot in the Husqvarna Accessories Book. The Husqvarna flat fell foot is 9mm foot and really intended for home dec. My sewing buddy had a generic 6mm flat fell foot. The 9mm foot stitched a beautiful seam without any additional manipulating of the machine. The generic 6mm foot stitched a beautiful seam but there was a fair amount of manipulating the machine due to the fact that the foot didn't line up with the needle. There are many tutorials available on the internet to create the flat fell seam with and without a foot.
2. French Seam - This is perhaps my favorite seam finish. All the raw edges are enclosed and it looks beautiful. Typically, this is used in heirloom sewing today. Children's clothing can benefit from this particular treatment. For a 5/8" seam, I would typically put wrong sides together stitch 1/4" seam, press seam open, then press flat with the right sides together, stitch a 3/8", and call it done, But this can be manipulated a little more. If you wanted a flat fell seam look, make sure that the finally seam stitching will be on the outside and then, you can top stitch this into place. Very easy. Please realize that the 5/8" seam is an example. The seam can be produced with smaller seams.
3. Bound or Hong Kong Finish - This is where things got a little funny. We both thought that we had binding feet to play with. I did finally find the 1/2" Husqvarna binding foot but I really thought that I had one in each available size. Using the foot wasn't very successful but using a clover bias binding maker and manually binding the seam edge was okay. I really think that the having the binding foot would have created a better edge. I did finally realize that all of my binding feet were attachments for my antique machines.
4. Edging Foot J - This foot is all about using overcasting stitches. On my machine, the right zigzag works very well with this. This is the stitch that I used to finish the remainder of the fabric edges this past weekend.
When we were done playing with these items, we turned our attention to the narrow hemmers. Are you successful with these feet? Amazingly, I couldn't find a hemmer that would work on my machine. My sewing buddy had one hemmer and had been unable to get it to work. So, I showed her how I used a hemmer. I always press the whole edge and then press the first couple of inches a second so I can get it started in the machine. Then, under the foot it goes and I anchor it with the needle and slide the edge into the machine. I also hold the the item being hemmed up just so the pressed edge is on the inside edge of the foot and the edge that needs to be turned under is hitting the inside of the hemmer. It stitched perfectly. My friend was able to repeat the process.
The final item that we played with was the Husqvarna instructions for The Hand-look Quilt Stitch. Here's my sample:
Typically with this type of stitching you would use a clear or smoke thread so that the bobbin thread would pop but my sewing buddy was using my spool of nylon and the thread holder, so I just used the thread that was on my machine and changed the bobbin to a dark thread. You do need a programmable machine to use these techniques. The first row on the left is the #3 stitch on the instructions. We were both amazed by this stitch. I'm not sure about it looking like hand quilting but it peeked my interest because it reminds me very much of the stitching on a hand picked zipper. The second row from the left is the #1 stitch in the instructions. I really liked the way this looks and it is amazing when using the clear nylon thread. The third row from the left is the #2 stitch on the instructions. The final row is a pre-programmed stitch on my machine. I just selected it and stitched. It looks okay. Definitely not my favorite.
Overall, we had a very successful stitching day. Practicing techniques and learning new techniques.
Do you have any seam finishes that you like use outside of the serger? I would love to hear about them.