Friday, June 20, 2014

Crafting Improv: No serger? No problem!

Beginner sewists, come gather 'round.  Let me tell you about improvising when you don't have the required tools for a project.

I'm calling it "crafting improv."  It's how to make-do with what we've got instead of giving up or spending money we don't have on newer, better tools (but hey, if you've got it, go for it!).

The more garments I started to sew, the more I knew that I needed to finish those edges/seam allowances for a more professional, clean look.  I learned that more advanced sewists get that cleaned up edge by using a serger, and well, from the looks of the one at Finch, I didn't want to get myself (literally) tangled up in that just yet.  The thing has like, four spools of thread on it.  I can barely handle one.

Bring on the zig-zag stitch.  Is 'zig-zag' really the most technical name for that stitch?  Probably not.  Either way, you get me.

Let's take that 5/8" seam allowance and trim it down to about 1/4".  This just gets rid of the excess fabric that we don't need to have.  Pile your scraps up and take a picture for Instagram.

Set your machine to the zig-zag stitch, and the appropriate width and length for your machine (I leave mine at around a 2/2.5 length setting, and a 0 width setting).  Line up the fabric so that the edge is just past the center of the presser foot, but not quite under the right "ski tip".  Is this 1/8"?  I don't know.  I'm  just an amateur.  But let's just say it is.

Just zig-zag your way down the edge of your seam allowance.  This finishes your seams and keeps them looking neat, preventing major fraying which really doesn't look too nice after a few washes.

See?  Looks pretty swell.  May not be as professional as a serged edge would look, but it does the job.   This works for woven and knit fabrics, although knits can be a bit tricky with the stretch involved.  Give it a whirl!

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