Serger Smarts: Hemming Knits on a Serger
Skip the Tailor! Put that Serger to Work.
One of the best things about knowing how to sew is that you can save money by altering your own clothes. This process is probably easiest on a pair of trousers, but the elasticity in knits introduces a minor hurdle, as it's sometimes difficult to choose the correct stitch to make them 'fall' without bunching.
There are two things that make this application a lot easier to do with a 4 thread serger. They are the Blind Stitch foot and the Spreader (2 thread converter). The Blind Stitch foot allows the fold and the flat raw edge to be guided and serged simultaneously.
To hem knits on a serger, follow these guidelines:
- Attach a Blind Stitch foot to the machine.
- Fold the hem on the garment for a blind hem, press and secure with pins that will be removed as they approach the presser foot. Pressing the second fold (for a blind hem) is not often recommended but can be done if desired.
- Set up the serger for a 2 (or 3) thread flatlock stitch – refer to the manual for instructions for settings and the attaching the Spreader (two thread converter). Adjust the stitch length to the highest number available.
- Adjust the blind hem foot so that the very edge of the fold will be penetrated by the needle. This will result in a very small stitch being visible on the right side of the fabric.
- Once serging is complete, lay the hem flat and press.
Note: It is very important to match the thread color to the fabric – this helps to hide any stitches that are visible on the right side of the fabric. If it's your first time hemming, test your thread and the application with scrap fabric to perfect this technique before tackling your actual garment. Getting the correct 'bite' on the hem stitch is easier after some practice.
Techniques You Need To Know: Quick Swing Tacks with the Fringe Foot
Some feet do far more than their names imply!
True to its name, the Fringe foot can be used for creating decorative fringe to accent any project.
But this versatile accessory has other uses as well. It is perfect for creating swing tacks in garment construction.
When adding a lining to a skirt or other garment, you can put swing tacks at the side seams to anchor the lining in place so it doesn’t bunch or ride up while still allowing flexibility as the wearer moves.
- Attach the Fringe foot.
- Set up your machine for a Zig Zag stitch.
- Select the widest width and a length of 0.0.
- Butt the seam allowances together just above the skirt and lining hems, leaving an approximate ¼" gap in between.
- Lower the presser foot. Stitch 5-6 Zig Zag stitches, just catching the edge of each seam allowance.
- Raise the presser foot, grasp the swing tack and carefully remove the garment.
- Tie off and clip the thread tails.
Note: If your machine has a Button Sew-On stitch, use it instead of the Zig Zag. The Button Sew-On stitch locks the stitch off at the beginning and end of the stitch, eliminating the step of tying off the thread tails.
Video: Finishing A Raw Edge With The Overedge Foot C
Finish the raw edge of your fabric without getting out the serger.
The Overedge Foot C allows you to sew a zig zag stitch over the raw edge of your fabric to keep it from raveling.
Now if you tried to stitch a zig zag over the edge of your fabric with a regular foot, the fabric would curl. The Overedge Foot C prevents this by having a set of "brushes" hold your fabric flat while it's being stitched. (Be sure to set your stitch wide enough so your needle doesn't hit the brushes--see the instructions.)
To make it easy to keep your fabric edge in the proper position, the Overedge Foot C has a flange, a thin metal guide which you keep your fabric against as you sew.
For instructions on how to use this foot watch Overedge Foot C Video: Creating An Overedge Stitch.
The foot featured in the video is for top loading Janome sewing machines. For a front loading machine you would use Overedge Foot C (front loading machines).
Janome Dealer Bittersweet Fabrics Wins Hall of Fame Award
Longtime Janome dealers are recognized by the Vacuum and Sewing Dealers Trade Association.
Each year the trade association for sewing dealers across the country recognizes one outstanding store. This year, at their annual trade show, they gave the Hall of Fame Award to Bittersweet Fabric Shop located in Boscawen, NH. Don And Audrey LaValley, the owners of the shop, have been Janome dealers for 34 years.
Bittersweet Fabrics opened on August 7, 1968 in the family dining room of the LaValley home. It was Audrey's dream to start the shop, quitting her job at the telephone company and managing her fledgling store with seven children at home.
Within a few years they were able to build their store and now provide quality sewing machines, as well as first-rate sales, education and service to sewists throughout the northeast.
Twelve years ago their son David joined the team, continuing the Bittersweet Fabric Shop tradition into the next generation.
We offer our hearty congratulations to the whole LaValley family. We couldn't be more proud.
If you're in New Hampshire, be sure to stop by Bittersweet Fabric Shop.
Simple sewn projects can brighten any chore - even grocery shopping!
Little notepads are great for jotting down your thoughts, keeping track of things to do, or writing up the weekly shopping list. But a boring notebook in your bag is no fun.
Find some cute fabric, and whip up our Nifty Notepad Cover. Just a few simple seams turn a regular notepad into a fashion accessory. Make one to brighten up your chores, then make a few more for gifts. Super quick and easy!
You can make this with basic sewing skills and any Janome sewing machine.
Serger Smarts: Color Combinations
Can't find the perfect color for your project? Make your own!
Have you ever wanted a variegated metallic thread but couldn’t find the right color combination? How about creating your own thread color?
A thread palette, or thread blender, can be used for feeding more than one thread through a looper. This simple tool allows you to join a number of strands into a single thread.
Just setting your various spools behind the serger will work as well, but make sure the spools are stable and won't get caught on anything. Use a metallic thread along with a regular polyester serger thread or a decorative thread in the upper looper to give a glitzy look to the final stitch.
You can create your own color combinations using any Janome serger.
Make the following adjustments to create your own customized thread color:
- Left Needle (size 14)– 4
- Upper Looper – 5 (Feed threads as if they were just one thread through all the thread guides and the tension disk)
- Lower Looper - 4
- Stitch Length – 3
- Differential Feed – 1.0
- Engage Stitch Finger for Standard Serging
- Adjust the lower looper tension slider to “RH”
Janome Heritage: First Programmable Computer Machine MEMORY 7
It was the first home sewing machine with computerized stitch combinations.
The year was 1979. Y.M.C.A. was a huge hit for The Village People. The Muppet Movie made the Top 10. And those Famolare shoes with the wavy soles were all the rage.
It was a big year for sewing too. Because in 1979 Janome introduced the first programmable, computer sewing machine, the MEMORY 7 Model 5001.
For the first time, you could combine multiple decorative stitches to create your own custom stitch pattern. It also introduced the Turn Over Memory (TOM) function, which allowed you to sew mirror images of the stitch patterns.
The MEMORY 7 had 26 stitches, including a memory buttonhole. After you'd finished sewing one buttonhole, the machine remembered the dimensions and could sew identical buttonholes repeatedly.
It had other futuristic features--like when you selected a stitch, the machine would automatically set the length, width and sewing speed. You could also adjust them manually. At a time when few homes had PCs, computerization in a sewing machine was remarkable.
As a sewing machine, the MEMORY 7 was very sturdy with excellent power and stitch quality. Many are still being sewn on today.
If you're looking for Janome's most advanced computerized sewing machine today, we'd recommend the Memory Craft 11000 Special Edition.
Video: Attaching Ribbon With The Ribbon-Sequin Foot
Easily attach ribbon using decorative stitches.
A ribbon accent can really add a terrific finish to a throw pillow, a jacket, quilt squares, or any other project you can think of. And Janome has a presser foot for your sewing machine that makes sewing on ribbon quick and easy.
This versatile accessory is called the Ribbon/Sequin Foot, because in addition to ribbon it allows you to attach sequins and elastic. It's a snap on foot that attaches to your machine in seconds. At the front is a slot with an adjusting screw, which allows you to move the ribbon side-to-side in relation to the needle.
To attach ribbon, you simply cut the end of your ribbon at an angle, feed it through the slot, pull a little out the back, make sure your fabric is lined up, and start sewing slowly.
You can use any running stitch on your machine, including decorative stitches.
Also, you don't have to just sew in a straight line. You can sew your ribbon on in curves. Just gentle curve your fabric as you feed it. The possibilities are endless.
To see how easy it is, watch the Ribbon/Sequin Foot Video: Attaching Ribbon.
This foot works with 1/4" and 1/8" ribbon and is compatible with most Janome sewing machines.
Janome Poll Results: Oops! Now What Did I Do?!
Mistakes are valuable, if you can learn from them.
We've all been there. At some point in your sewing project you suddenly realize that something has gone very wrong. Last week we asked you to vote on our poll question: What's Been Your Biggest Sewing Mistake?
As you can see from the results a lot of our readers have sewn pieces on the wrong way. That's easily remedied with the seam ripper. Some other mistakes you admitted to are a little harder to fix.
As the famous scientist Niels Bohr said, "An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field."
Hopefully, you're well on your way to becoming a sewing expert. See the results to the poll.
New Project: Colorful Roll-Up Crayon Keeper
This project is a perfect way to use up your favorite colorful scraps.
It's so hard to part with those itty bitty scraps you love, but often just as hard to find projects they are right for! This adorable crayon keeper is the perfect solution. Not only do you get to use some of your fave fabric scraps, you also get to make a fun project that can help teach a little one his/her colors.
Each colorful pocket holds a coordinating crayon. It lays flat when your little artist is working, then rolls up into a tiny bundle to drop into your purse or tote when you're on the go.
Making the Crayon Keeper takes intermediate sewing skills. You can complete it on any Janome sewing machine.
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