Special Sewing Techniques (3)

Sewing Pockets

Pockets may be functional, decorative, or both. A pocket concealed in a side seam is purely functional, while a patch pocket is both functional and decorative.

Before adding a pocket, check the location to be sure the placement is correct for your height and size. You may have to raise or lower it for convenience or for better proportion.

Pocket styles vary. Some are located inside the garment and open through a seam or slash.

Others are stitched on the outside of the garment.

Some may have a flap covering the top of the pocket.

Three pockets that are easy to make are the in seam pocket, the patch pocket, and the front hip pocket.


As the easiest to make, the in-seam pocket is simply attached to the side seam of the garment.

It can be cut as part of the garment front and back, or it can be cut from a separate pattern piece and stitched to the seam. If the outer fabric is bulky or heavy, cut the pocket pieces from lining fabric. All construction is done on the inside of the garment, as you'll see in the following steps:

1. If the pocket is cut separately, stitch the pock et pieces to the front and back opening, right sides together. Press the seam allowances toward the pocket pieces.

2. Pin the garment front to the garment back, matching markings at the seam line and pocket.

3. Stitch directionally along the seam and around the pocket in one step. Use reinforcement stitches at the corners. Press the seam allowances flat.

4. Turn the pocket toward the front of the garment. Clip the back seam allowance above and below the pocket so the seam allowances of the garment can be pressed open.

5. If necessary, finish the seam allowances.

In-Seam Pocket

Patch Pocket Front Hip Pocket Stitching Seam in One Step

Finishing Seam Allowances


Reinforcing in-seam pockets. When making an in-seam pocket, you may want to reinforce the pocket opening to prevent stretching. Stitch a piece of seam tape or twill tape along the front and back fold line or seam line. As an alternative, you can fuse a strip of interfacing along the opening edge of the pocket.

Blind hem foot. Use a blind hem foot to help keep topstitching straight and even.


Patch pockets are made from the same fabric as the garment and stitched to the outside by machine or hand. If using a plaid, stripe, or printed fabric, match the pocket to the garment, or cut the pocket on the bias for a special design effect.

When making a pair of patch pockets, be sure both pockets are the same size and shape. Attach the pockets to the garment evenly.

Patch pockets may have straight or curved sides and be lined or unlined. A lining is needed for fabrics that stretch or sag. Fabrics that are firm enough to hold their shape can be used without a lining. Sometimes a flap is stitched above the pocket.

The instructions that follow outline procedures for making different patch pockets.

--- Hemming Pocket

Unlined Patch Pocket

Stitching Pocket Hem

Completing Patch Pocket

1. Turn under the top edge of the pocket hem 1/4 ” (6 mm), press, and stitch.

2. Turn the hem to the right side of the pocket along the fold line, and pin.

3. Stay-stitch around the pocket on the seam line, beginning at the fold line of the hem.

Stay-stitching acts as a guide for turning and pressing the edges and corners.

4. Trim and grade the seam allowances. Trim the upper corners diagonally.

Turn the hem right side out and press.

5. Fold in the seam allowances along the stitching and press. Square corners must be mitered, made to fit together with a precise right angle at the corner; curved edges must be notched. These procedures are described in the following sections.

6. Stitch the edge of the hem to the pocket by hand, or topstitch from the right side.

7. Pin the pocket to the garment. Topstitch around the edge of the pocket, or slip-stitch in place. Reinforce the corners by backstitching or by stitching a small triangle or square.

---Mitering a Corner

Mitering Square Corners

Miter square corners to eliminate bulk and form a flat, smooth right angle.

1. Open out the seam allowances.

2. Trim each corner diagonally to 1/4 ” (6mm) from the fold.

3. Fold the corner in diagonally and press.

4. Refold the seam allowances on both sides of the corner to form a square edge, and press again.

Curving Edges

Extra fabric must be eased in when pocket edges are curved. Follow these steps.

1. Machine-baste around the curved edges ½” (1.3 cm) from the outer edge.

2. Pull on the bobbin thread until the seam allowance curves in and lies flat.

3. Trim and notch the seam allowance to eliminate bulk and puckers.

4. Press.

Making Curved Pocket; Attaching Lining to Pocket; Lined Patch Pocket

1. Pin the upper edge of the lining to the upper edge of the pocket, right sides together.

2. Stitch on the seam line, leaving a 1 ” (2.5 cm) opening in the center for turning. Press the seam toward the lining.

3. Fold the pocket, right sides together, along the upper fold line.

4. Pin and stitch the lining to the pocket around all three sides. Trim and grade the seam allowances. Clip the corners and notch the curved areas.

5. Turn the pocket right side out through the opening. Roll the seam slightly toward the lining and press.

6. Slip-stitch the opening closed.

7. Pin the pocket to the garment, and topstitch or slip-stitch in place.

Pocket Flap

If a pocket flap is planned, follow these steps to add one:

1. Interface the outer half of the flap.

2. Fold the flap in half, right sides together, and stitch the end seams, or pin two flap sections together and stitch around the outer edge.

Trim and grade the seam allowances.

Notch any curved areas.

3. Turn the flap right side out and press.

4. Pin the flap above the pocket, with the outer side of the flap against the outside of the garment. Match the seam line of the flap to the placement line on the garment.

5. Stitch through all thicknesses. Trim the seam allowance next to the garment close to the stitching.

6. Fold under the long edge of the upper seam allowance, turning the ends in diagonally. Pin over the trimmed edge and edge-stitch.

7. Turn the flap down and press.

8. Slip-stitch the upper corners of the flap to the garment to hold in place.


Serging Tips: Curved Patch Pocket

The following technique makes the seam allowances curl to the inside of a curved patch pocket:

1. Set the machine for the widest three thread serger stitch. Adjust the tensions so the needle is normal, the upper looper slightly tight, and the lower looper slightly loose.

2. Serge around the outside edge of the pocket, with the needle just inside the seam line. When you reach the curved area, tighten the needle tension. When you are past it, set the needle tension back to normal.

Tighten needle tension around curves.

Stitching Lining to Pocket; Slip-Stitching the Opening

Stitching End Seams of Flap; Attaching Flap to Pocket


--- Completing the Flap


Front hip pockets are often used on pants and shorts. This diagonal or curved pocket attaches to the waist and side seams. Because the back section of the pocket is part of the main garment at the front of the hip, it must be cut from the garment fabric. The inside front section of the pocket can be cut from the same fabric or a lining fabric. Follow these steps to make the pocket:

1. To prevent stretching, reinforce the upper edge of the pocket with interfacing or seam tape.

2. Pin the front edge of the garment to the front pocket section, right sides together. Stitch, trim, and grade the seam. Press.

---Reinforcing Pocket Edge

---Stitching Front Pocket to Garment

3. Understitch or topstitch the seam to prevent the pocket from rolling to the right side of the garment.

4. Pin the back section of the pocket to the front section, right sides together. Stitch around the seam line, being careful not to catch in the garment front. Press the seam flat. Finish the raw edges with zigzag stitching.

5. Pin and stitch the side seams, catching in the back section of the pocket as part of the garment front.

6. Finish the waistline according to the pattern directions.

Understitching Seam; Attaching Front to Back; Finished Waistlines and Hip Pockets.


Finishing Waistlines

Waistlines of a garment can be finished with a waistband, facing, or casing.

Most waistlines fall at the natural waistline. Some garments, however, may have a raised or lowered waistline, depending on the design.


A waistband is a strip of fabric attached to the waistline of pants, skirts, or shorts. Both straight and curved waistbands are attached to the garment in the same way. A straight waistband, how ever, usually has a fold along the upper edge, while a curved, or shaped, waistband has a seam.

To allow for movement and comfort, the waist band should be about 1 ” (2.5 cm) larger than the waistline. It shouldn't fit too tight. Easing or gathering the garment onto the waistband allows for the body's curve below the waistline.

Usually the zipper is inserted before the waist band is applied. A side opening is always on the left side, and the waistband laps from front to back. If the opening is in the front, the waistband overlaps in the same direction as the lapped zip per application. If the opening is in the center back, the waistband laps left over right.

Interface a waistband to prevent stretching and wrinkling. Usually the side that will be on the outside of the garment is interfaced. Follow pat tern directions.

Plain Waistband

A plain waistband is stitched to the right side of the garment, turned to the inside, and stitched by hand.

1. Interface the waistband.

2. Turn in the seam allowance on the unnotched edge of the waistband and press.

Trim the seam allowance to 1/4 ” (6 mm).

3. Pin the waistband to the garment, right sides together. Match the notches and ease the garment to the waistband between markings.

Check that the extension is on the correct side of the opening.


A stay, or support, can be stitched over the waistline seam to prevent stretching. Cut the stay from seam tape, twill tape, or grosgrain ribbon, making it the same length as the waistline measurement of the garment. To attach the stay, pin it to the seam allowance on the bottom section of the garment, with one edge along the waistline seam. Machine-stitch just above the waistline seam through the stay and seam allowances. Trim the seam allowances even with the stay. Zigzag the upper edge of the stay and the seam allowances together.

---Interfacing and Turning: Seam Allowance

4. Stitch the waistband to the garment along the seam line. Trim the interfacing close to the stitching. Trim and grade the seam allowances; clip if necessary.

Press the seams flat and then up toward the waist band.

5. Fold the ends of the waistband, right sides together as shown. Pin carefully, being sure the folded edge exactly meets the seam line.

6. Stitch both ends. Trim and grade the seam allowances. Clip the corners, and press.

7. Turn the waistband right side out. Pin the folded edge over the seam.

8. Slip-stitch the waistband in place, continuing across the extension.

9. Attach the fasteners.

---Attaching the Waistband


Super Serging Tips: Plain Waistband With heavyweight or bulky fabrics, it may be helpful to eliminate a layer of fabric at the waistline seam of a plain waist band. Serge along the unnotched edge of the waistband, trimming off the 5/8 ” (1.5-cm) seam allowances.

When turning the waist band right side out, place the serged edge so that it meets the waist band seam on the inside of the garment. ===

Topstitched Waistband

A topstitched waistband is stitched to the wrong side of the garment, turned to the outside, and topstitched in place.

1. Interface the waistband.

2. Turn in the unnotched edge of the waistband along the seam line and press. Trim to 1/4 ” (6 mm).

3. Pin the right side of the waistband to the wrong side of the garment, matching notches and markings. Check to be sure the waist band will flip over so the right side is on the outside of the garment.

4. Stitch the seam. Grade the seam allowances so the widest layer is toward the outside of the garment. Clip if necessary.

Press the seam allowances up toward the waistband.

5. Stitch the ends of the waistband, with right sides together. Trim, grade, and clip the corners. Press.

Slip-Stitching Waistband

Trimming Unnotched Edge; Stitching and Grading Seam; Stitching Waistband Ends

6. Fold the waistband over the seam line to the right side of the garment. Press and pin.

7. Topstitch along the bottom edge of the waistband close to the fold.

8. Attach the fasteners.


A facing finishes a waistline edge, allowing the finished edge of a garment to rest right at the natural waistline. Prevent stretching by interfacing the waistline seam according to the pattern directions.

1. Apply fusible interfacing to the facing sections or sew-in interfacing to the garment edge.

2. Prepare the facing, and finish the outer edge with serger stitching, zigzag stitching, or a hem.

3. Stitch the facing to the garment, right sides together. Match seams, notches, and markings. Trim, grade, and clip the seam allowances. Press the seam allowances toward the facing.

4. Understitch the facing to the seam allowances.

5. Turn the facing to the inside of the garment and press.

Tack at the seams with small cross-stitches.

6. Turn under the ends of the facing at the garment opening. Slip-stitch to the zipper tape.

Topstitching Waistband; Stitching Facing to Garment; Understitching Facing

Serging Tips: Attaching Waistbands

1. Fold the waistband in half lengthwise, with right sides together.

2. Stitch across the ends, using a conventional machine. On the under-lap side, pivot and stitch along the waist line seam, ending at the dot. Clip at the dot, and trim the ends.

3. Turn the waistband right side out, and press.

4. Pin both edges of the waistband to the outside of the garment, matching notches and markings.

5. Serge the waistline seam, with garment side up.

Press the seam toward the garment.

Finishing Facing Ends


A casing can be made at the waistline edge of a garment or within a garment. Use it with either elastic or a drawstring.


Applying Bias Bindings

A strip of fabric cut on the true bias is used to make bias bindings. When attached to the edge of a garment or other item, they cover the raw edge and create decorative trimming. Because bias bindings are flexible, they can be used on curved as well as straight edges.

Bias bindings have a number of uses: as a substitute for the facing or hem on a neckline, arm hole, or hemline; as an edge finish for placemats, pillows, backpacks, wall hangings, and other items; and as piping or tubing for trim, loops, ties, shoulder straps, and belts.

The pattern guide sheet gives cutting and stitching directions for self-fabric bindings. The pattern envelope may list single-fold or double fold bias tape to use as binding. Sometimes fold over braid trim can also be used. Ready-made bindings come in different widths and colors to match or contrast with your fabric.


The method you use to cut bias strips depends on the length you need. The two methods are described here.

Continuous Bias-Strip Method

Use this method to create long bias strips:

1. Cut a square or rectangular piece of fabric.

2. Fold one corner on the true bias by matching the crosswise grain to the lengthwise grain. Cut the fabric along the fold line.

3. Mark parallel lines the desired width for the bias strip on the wrong side of the fabric.

Unless the pattern states otherwise, use a 1 ½” (3.8-cm) width. Cut away the remaining fabric.

4. Pin the fabric, right sides together, to form a tube. Be sure one strip width extends beyond the edge at each end of the tube.

5. Stitch a 1/4 ” (6-mm) seam and press open.

6. Cut along the marked line at one end to create a continuous bias strip of fabric.

Cut-and-Piece, Bias-Strip Method

For smaller lengths, you can cut individual strips and stitch them together.

1. Fold the fabric diagonally, matching cross wise grain to lengthwise grain, to find the true bias.

2. Mark the bias strips on the wrong side of the fabric. Cut apart.

3. Pin the ends of the strips, right sides together, matching the straight grain. Strips will form a right angle.

4. Stitch a 1/4 ” (6-mm) seam along the straight grain of the fabric. Press the seam open.

--- Cutting on True Bias Marking Bias Strips; Cutting Continuous Strip; Cutting Bias Strips


Bias strips can be attached with a one-step or two-step method. Always follow the directions in the pattern guide sheet. Special techniques create smooth curves and sharp corners.

One-Step Method

Use the one-step method to attach double-fold bias tape and fold-over braid, which have one edge folded slightly wider than the other. Slip the binding over the edge of the fabric and stitch in place with one row of machine stitching.

1. Trim away the seam allowance from the edge to be bound.

2. Slip the binding over the raw edge with the wider edge on the wrong side of the garment.

Turn the ends under, overlapping if necessary, and pin.

3. Machine-stitch close to the edge of the binding through all layers.

Two-Step Method

Use the two-step method for single-fold bias tape and bias strips you cut yourself. The pattern gives directions for cutting self-fabric strips.

Usually the bias strip is four times the finished binding width. After stitching one edge of the binding to the fabric, fold the binding over the fabric edge and stitch again by machine or hand.

1. Trim away the seam allowances from the fabric edge.

2. Pin the edge of the binding to the fabric, with right sides together.

3. Stitch an equal distance from the edge, according to pattern directions.

For single-fold bias tape, stitch along the crease line of the binding.

4. Turn the binding over the seam allowance and pin.

5. Slip-stitch or machine-stitch in place.

Alternative: stitch the binding to the wrong side of the garment. Flip the binding to the right side of the garment and edge-stitch in place.

Stitching Curves

Pre-shape the binding with a steam iron before stitching to the fabric.

1. Lay the tape on top of the pattern piece, shaping to fit the curve.

2. Press with steam to shrink out excess fullness and prevent puckers.

Combining Bias Strips; Pressed Seam; Attaching Double-Fold Bias Tape

Stitching Single-Fold Bias Tape

Stitching Tape in Place

Stitching Outward Corners

1. Stitch the binding to one edge, ending exactly where the seam lines meet.

2. Fold the binding diagonally at the corner, forming a neat diagonal fold, or miter, on both sides of the binding at the corner. Pin the binding along the other edge of the fabric.

3. Stitch the binding, starting at the corner and continuing along the other edge. For the two step method, finish by stitching the inside edge of the binding in place. For wider bindings, Edgestitch or slip-stitch along the mitered folds to secure.

Stitching Inward Corners

1. Reinforce the corner with small machine stitches.

2. Clip into the corner.

3. To finish, choose one of the following:

For the one-step method. Slip the binding over one edge and stitch to the clip. Form a neat miter at the corner. Slip the binding over the other edge and continue stitching.

Edgestitch along the mitered fold if necessary.

For the two-step method. Stitch the binding to the edge up to the clip. Spread the fabric at the clipped corner to form a straight edge and continue stitching.

Fold the binding over the edge, mitering the corner. Finish by stitching the inside edge by hand or machine.

Shrinking Out Fullness

Stitching Binding to One Edge Mitering the Corner

Edgestitching a Mitered Corner

Clipping into Corner

Stitching Both Edges

Edgestitching an Inward Corner

Attaching Binding to Opened Corner

Finishing Inside Edge


Piping accents the seam line or outer edge of a garment. This narrow band of fabric stitched into a seam is sometimes used around a neckline, at the edge of a collar or cuff, or along a yoke seam.

1. Cut a bias strip of fabric twice as wide as the finished piping, plus 1 1/4 ” (3.2 cm) for seam allowances.

2. Fold and press the strip lengthwise, with wrong sides together.

3. Pin the piping to the garment's right side, with cut edges even.

4. Machine-baste just inside the seam line in the seam allowance.

Clip the seam allowance of the piping around curves.

5. Pin and stitch the seam.

Corded Piping

Piping can encase cable cord to create a thicker trim.

1. Fold a bias strip over cable cord, with the cording on the inside of the fabric.

2. Stitch as close as possible to the cord, using a zipper foot.

3. Pin the corded piping to the garment's right side so the stitching rests on top of the seam line.

4. Machine-baste just inside the stitching line in the seam allowance. Clip around curves.

5. Pin and stitch the seam line, working with the corded section on top so notice the basting stitches. Use a zipper foot. Place the stitches up close to the cord so the basting stitches are in the seam allowance.


Tubing is a strip of fabric stitched and turned right side out so the seam allowances are inside the tube. Use it for straps, loops, and belts.

1. Cut a bias strip of fabric two times the finished width of tubing plus seam allowances.

2. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, with right sides together.

3. Stitch, stretching the bias slightly as you sew.

At the end, slant the stitches out toward the raw edge to make the tube easier to turn.

4. Trim the seam allowances the same width as the tubing. For heavier fabrics, trim the seam allowances closer to the stitching.

5. Turn the tubing by attaching a heavy thread to the wide end of the seam. Pull, using a large needle, bodkin, or loop turner.

Pinning and Basting Piping

Pinning and Stitching Seam

Stitching Corded Seam

Stitching Tubing Stitching Close to Cording

Corded Tubing

Corded tubing is filled with cable cord for added fullness and strength.

1. Cut a bias strip wide enough to fit around the cord plus seam allowances.

2. Cut the cording twice the length of the bias strip plus 1 ” (2.5 cm).

3. Fold the bias strip over one end of the cord, with right sides together and edges even.

4. Stitch across the cord and bias strip at the center of the cording.

5. Stitch the long edge close to the cord, stretching the bias slightly, using a zipper foot. Trim the seam allowances.

6. Turn the right side out by gently pulling the fabric down over the cord and working the fabric along with your hands.

Trim off any excess cording.

Serging Tips: Tubing

Tubing can be made easily on the serger.

1. Serge a thread chain at least 2 ” (5 cm) longer than the bias strip. Run your fingers along the chain to tighten the stitches.

2. Pull the chain around to the front of the presser foot and center it length wise on the right side of the bias strip.

Fold the strip so the cut edges meet and the chain is next to the fold.

3. Serge the raw edges together, being careful not to cut the inside chain.

Remove the strip from the serger.

4. Pull gently on the thread tail to turn the tubing right side out.

Turning Tubing

Stitching; Close to Cord

Turning Right Side Out


Adding Ruffles

Ruffles decorate garments, accessories, and home decorating items. They can accent the edge of a neck line, collar, cuff, or hem. They also decorate curtains and pillows and form the dust ruffle around a bed.

The amount of fullness built into a ruffle depends on the ruffle's width. To keep them from looking skimpy, wide ruffles need more fullness than narrow ones.

The two basic ruffles you'll learn to make are straight and circular.


A straight ruffle is made from a straight strip of fabric that is gathered along one edge and stitched into a seam or to a fabric edge. Straight ruffles can also be gathered down the center or off-center and stitched to the outside of a garment or curtain.

The outer edge of a ruffle can be finished with a narrow hem stitched by hand or machine. On lightweight and sheer fabrics, the ruffle may be cut twice the desired width and folded lengthwise to create a double thickness.

Follow these steps to make a straight ruffle:

1. Cut a straight piece of fabric that is two to three times the length of the edge or area to which the ruffle will be stitched.

2. Stitch and gather the ruffle along the upper edge.

3. Pin the ruffle to the edge of the garment, adjusting fullness evenly.

4. Stitch the ruffle in place, with the ruffle on top to prevent stitching tucks into the seam.

You can cover the gathering stitches on double edge ruffles by putting a trim, such as rickrack, on top of the stitches.


Stitching two or more circles of fabric together creates a circular ruffle. The ruffle fits smoothly along the edge joined to the garment and ripples softly on the outer edge of the ruffle.

1. Cut out circles, following the directions on the pattern.

Decorative Ruffles Stitching Ruffle Attaching Rickrack to Double-Edge; Ruffle

Stitches for Gathering

2. Stitch the circles together, with narrow seams, to form the ruffle. Finish the outer edge of the ruffle with a narrow hem.

(Sometimes the ruffle is cut as two layers and stitched together at the outer edge. Then it’s trimmed, clipped, and turned right side out.)

3. Stay-stitch the inner edge of the ruffle ½”(1.3 cm) from the edge. Clip up to the stay-stitching.

4. Stay-stitch the garment edge to prevent stretching.

5. Pin and stitch the ruffle to the garment, right sides together. Press the seam allowances flat, and trim.

6. Finish the inside edge with facing or a double row of stitching.

Stupendous Serging Tips: Ruffles

Use the serger to finish the outer edge of a ruffle with a narrow rolled hem.

Then use a serger stitch to attach a straight ruffle or a circular ruffle to the garment.

Stay-Stitching and Clipping Inner Edge

Attaching Ruffle to Garment


Gathering technique. If the gathers will be hidden in a seam, try this easy gathering technique for ruffles.

1. Cut a piece of strong, thin cord, such as pearl cotton or light packing string, slightly longer than the ruffle.

2. Set the sewing machine for a zigzag stitch that is wide enough to cover the cord without catching it.

3. Position the cord inside the seam allowance so the left side of the zigzag stitch is just inside the seam line. Stitch over the cord.

4. Insert a straight pin at one end of the ruffle, and wrap the end of the cord around the pin in a figure eight.

5. Pin the ruffle to the garment edge, matching markings. Hold the loose end of the cord taut. Gather the fabric by sliding it along the cord.

6. Straight-stitch along the seam line, with gathered side up. Be careful not to catch the cord.

7. Pull out the cord.


Adding Trims

Trims come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Rickrack, braid, ribbon, lace, eyelet, piping, and fringe are all examples of trims. Fabric appliqués can also be used for trimming.

Trims should be coordinated to the design of a project and its fabric. Be sure the trim you select can be washed or dry-cleaned in the same manner as the fabric that will hold the trim. Preshrink washable trims by soaking them in hot water for 30 minutes. You can leave them wrapped around the cardboard, which should be bent slightly to allow for any shrinkage. Let them dry before using.

Three basic methods allow you to apply trim: the flat method, edging method, and inserted method.


The flat method can be used with any trim that is finished on both sides, such as braid, ribbon, and rickrack. Use narrow trims for curved areas.

Before stitching in place, shape the trim by pressing it with a steam iron. Then follow these steps to apply the trim:

1. Pin the trim along the placement line.

2. Stitch along one edge, both edges, or through the center. Rickrack should be stitched with a straight row of stitching down the center.

3. Miter the corners by stitching the outside edge up to the corner. Lift the presser foot, pivot, and continue stitching in the new direction. Fold the trim diagonally at the corner and pin.

4. Stitch the inside edge of the trim. Stitch the mitered fold, if necessary.


Use the edging method for trims with only one finished edge, such as piping, gathered lace, gathered eyelet, and fringe. The trim can be stitched to the edge of a garment or inserted into a seam.

To stitch the trim to the edge of the garment, follow these steps:

1. Pin the trim along the edge or seam line, with right sides together. Be sure the trim is toward the garment.

2. Stitch close to the trim, using a zipper foot if necessary.

3. Finish the edge by turning the seam allowance to the inside and topstitching through all thicknesses. You can also finish the edge with a facing.

To stitch trim into a seam, place the other section of fabric on top of the trim, with right sides together. Stitch the seam and trim in one step.

-- Serging Tips: Trims

You can use the serger to apply a straight-edge trim, such as lace, to the edge of a garment.

1. Trim the edge of the garment so there is a 5/8 ” (1.5-cm) seam or hem allowance.

2. Place the lace and fabric right sides together, with the straight edge of the lace ½”(1.3 cm) from the raw edge of the fabric. Pin or use a glue stick to hold the lace in place.

3. Serge with the lace side up, using a two-thread or three-thread serger stitch, a flatlock stitch, or a rolled hem stitch. Keep the edge of the trim slightly to the left of the knife. Press the seam allowance toward the garment.

A serger can also be used to insert lace with two straight edges. Use either a flatlock stitch or a rolled hemstitch. For the flatlock method, place the lace and fabric right sides together. For the rolled hem method, place them wrong sides together. After serging, open out the garment section so the lace lies flat; press.


Finishing the Edge

Stitching Trim into Seam

Turning Fabric Edges Under

Attaching Rickrack

Attaching Trim at Corner

Mitering the Corner

Stitching Close to Trim


The inserted method works well on any straight section of a garment, such as down the front of a shirt or blouse or around the bottom of a jacket or skirt. It cannot be used for curved areas. Choose flat trims, such as lace or eyelet.

Follow these steps:

1. Cut the fabric along the placement line.

2. Turn under each fabric edge ½ the width of the exposed trim. Press the edges.

3. Place the flat trim under the folded edges of fabric.

4. Edgestitch through all thicknesses.


Several methods are possible for finishing the ends of trims to create a neat appearance.

• Stitch the trim to the fabric before stitching the seams so the ends will be hidden in the seam.

• Turn the ends to the wrong side and slip-stitch.

• For overlapping ends, fold one end under.

Overlap ends and stitch in place.

• For heavy trims, fold both ends under 1/4 ”(6 mm), so the ends just meet. Stitch in place.

Edgestitching Inserted Trim

Ends Hidden in Seam

Slip-Stitching on Wrong Side

Overlapping Ends

Joining Folded Trim Ends


There are several ways to create a frayed edge or fringe along the hemline of a garment.

• This frayed-edge works best on denim garments.

1. Machine-stitch along desired hemline. Trim fabric ½”to 1 ”(1.3 cm to 2.5 cm) below the stitching line.

2. Launder the garment in the washing machine so the raw edge will fray.

• A self-fringed edge can be created on the edge of woven fabrics cut on the straight grain.

1. Mark the top of the fringe by pulling a thread to create a line. Machine-stitch on this line.

2. Clip the fabric every 2 ” to 3 ” (5 cm to 7.5 cm), just up to the stitching. Pull out the threads between the clips.

• This method can be used on both straight and curved edges and seams.

1. Cut strips of fabric equal to the desired depth of the fringe plus 5/8 ” (1.5 cm). Cut the strips exactly on grain.

2. Machine-stitch 5/8 ” (1.5 cm) from one long edge.

3. Pull out threads, following step 2 above.

4. Stitch the fringe to your garment, following the edging method.

Frayed Edge; Fabric Fringe; Self-Fringed Edge.

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Special Sewing Techniques -- Summary, Review and Activities


Friday, 2012-10-12 17:01