Discoveries of a novice: overlocking foot

Ooh, that’s an exciting title. But this is a short n sweet post about seam finishing. No matter what you’re making with sewing, one thing you have to do on every project right from the beginning and that isn’t always entirely clear is finish seam edges. There are tons of ways to do this: with a serger/overlocker is popular, but most beginners won’t own one of these (I don’t). On a normal sewing machine, the finishes I read most about are: pinking, zigzag, zigzag variation, French seam and overlocking stitch.

SONY DSC

On top of that though are all sorts of ways to use these finishes. I was reading through the pattern instructions for the latest pattern I bought and was surprised that the instructions told me to finish the edges of the garment before I even sewed the seam. Huh? Why? Wha? %$@&%$&@$&!!! (No. 2 below)

20160204_230825.jpg

Of course, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I’ve found it quite tricky sometimes to finish seam edges after sewing. My zigzag goes everywhere, my pinking is erratic. So why not do the edges first? I am using a slippery rayon challis for this project (already giving me major headaches, but I’ll save that for another time) and it frays quite a bit, so I decided definitely no pinking, but I also figured the zigzag would be a nightmare. What to do? Well, I did what no self-respecting bohemian creative type would do: I checked the machine manual.

20160130_185031

And …….. I found that I had an overlocking foot. I knew I had a few random ones I hadn’t used yet, but didn’t realise this was one of them. Serging without a serger!! Sort of. Well, I had that foot on the machine faster than a ferret up a trouser leg. I then set to with the overlocking stitch. You feed the fabric through the foot using the little pin and wedge as a guide for the edge. Much, much easier than trying to keep it randomly straight on a freehand zigzag. Having said that, the overlock stitch just… didn’t work for me. It kept bunching up the fabric and it looked crappy. I lowered the tension, checked my thread setup, etc. etc. Still pretty rubbish.

THEN! I realized you could also use a zigzag stitch with this foot. “Oh, why not” I thought, “lets give it a shottie”. The heavens opened, the sunbeam shone… LA LAaaaa. A lovely finished edge! It catches and wraps the edge just like you would hope. (Sorry it’s hard to see in the photo). Zigzag with overlocking foot – it’s the way forward! Finishing seams first! Also cool!

20160130_183921

PS. Of course, I have found other people online suggesting this very thing since I tried it, so I realise it’s no big revelation. Also that sewing seams first is very common in mainland Europe? Maybe it’ll help someone else though. This post turned out not so short in the end! Next: French seams!

 

8 thoughts on “Discoveries of a novice: overlocking foot

  1. I remember discovering my overlooking foot and not being satisfied with it. It’s so great that yours works well for you. I ended up investing in serger. I also love finishing my edges before sewing most items. I never read it in instructions and thought I was doing things the wrong way . Even though it really works for me.

    Like

    1. Heh heh, well it’s definitely all relative. I’m sure this finish still isn’t that great, but it’s much neater than anything else I’ve managed to achieve yet with this kind of fabric. I’m sure I will end up with a serger too at some point (especially as I’m using a few knits now). It’s interesting about the seams though – I suppose many people must do it, I just hadn’t seen it before and so it surprised me (not in a good way)! You must be a naturally logical person you lucky thing! 😀

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s