If you love sewing knit patterns, but don’t own a cover stitch machine, you likely do a lot of hemming on your sewing machine. But did you know hemming knits with a serger is also a possibility?
Using a blind hem technique, you can sew a nice barely-visible hem or a decorative hem using just your serger! While a rolled hem is another common hem technique on a serger, a blind hem gives more of a traditional hem look, and you can choose between a blind hem that is, as its name suggests, nearly invisible, or you can use a similar technique and finish with a decorative hem! Today I am going to show you how hemming knits with a serger is not just possible, but a beautiful and FAST option for finishing those knit hems!
How to Sew a Blind Hem
Setting Up Your Machine
While sewing a blind hem is fairly simple once you get the hang of it, this technique does require some practice. Grab a pile of knit fabric scraps cut into simple rectangles, and you’ll be ready to experiment with blind hems until you feel confident enough to tackle your hems!
The first step is to set up your serger for a blind hem. Your serger manual likely contains instructions for a blind hem, and it is a good idea to refer to that as a starting point for settings. While I will show you how I set my machine for it, each machine is different. Refer to your manual, and then experiment on scraps until you find the setting that works best for your machine.
For blind hems, you will be using three threads- the left needle, and both loopers. Remove your right needle while sewing a blind hem. Your left needle tension will be lower than normal: start around a 2. The upper looper will be higher than normal: start around a 6. Your lower looper will be lower, but not as low as the needle: start around a 3.
Set your differential feed, stitch width, and stitch length as you normally would for the type of fabric you are using.
Remember, these are the settings you are beginning with. Practice on fabric scraps until you find the perfect settings for your machine and fabric type.
If you have a blind hem foot for your serger, put it on the machine following your manual’s instructions. You do not need to have a blind hem foot for this technique to work, but it will make it easier.
Preparing the Fabric
Begin with a rectangle scrap of knit fabric, approximately 4″x8″ in size. You may find it helpful to use a fabric that has an obvious “right” and “wrong” side, as I am for this tutorial, to help you practice folding and flipping the fabric. When first learning to sew a blind hem, using a bigger than normal seam allowance helps. I recommend beginning with a 3/4″ or 1″ seam allowance as you learn.
Lay your fabric wrong side up. Fold the hem up your chosen allowance, wrong sides together, and press.
Now comes the “tricky” part. It might seem confusing at first, but once you practice it once or twice you’ll find it isn’t too hard!
Pinch your fabric at the hem, and flip it up and back. You are flipping the entire folded hem both up, and also to the back, so that you are bringing it to the right side of the fabric.
Holding the main fabric and not the hem, adjust the fold up a bit, so that you can just see the raw edge showing. You will be looking at the wrong side of the main fabric and also the wrong side of the raw edge.
Pin or clip.
Take to your serger. You will be serging with the fabric wrong side up. Your needle should JUST BARELY nick the fold of the fabric, with the majority of the stitching landing on the raw edge. If you have a blind hem foot, the guide will be against the folded edge. Your knife shouldn’t cut much.
Unfold the hem. Gently flatten but don’t pull too hard. Press well. I like to press with steam to get it really flat. Your blind hem is complete! I did not use coordinating thread in this example so that you can see where the stitches land.
Here is a close up of what your visible stitches will look like:
If you use a coordinating thread, the stitches will be even less visible when the garment is worn.
How to Make the Blind Hem Decorative
You can add a decorative touch to your hem, by giving it the look of a flat lock ladder stitch. All you need to do is drop your needle tension a little more, and when you unfold the hem, give it a good tug. Using even pressure around the entire hem, tug the hem and main fabric away from each other, getting the hem to lay as flat as possible. This will open up the fabric so that the needle thread is visible. It will look like a ladder. You can use coordinating thread or contrasting thread, depending on the look you want.
Here is an example of hemming a t-shirt using this method for a decorative hem, with contrasting thread.
And that’s it!
Hemming knits with a serger is easier than it may seem, and the results are lovely! If you don’t have a coverstitch machine, this technique provides another way to get fast and beautiful results. Even if you do have a coverstitch machine, using a blind hem as a decorative stitch adds interesting detail to any garment. Boo and Lu has many beautiful knit patterns to choose from, and you can give this technique a try the next time you are doing a knit hem. If you try hemming knits with a serger with your B&L sews, we would love to see! Make sure to tag @booandlupatterns on Instagram, or share in our Facebook group!