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So I have been very kindly lent a serger (yipee!) for as long as I use it (yipeee!).

we have been working well together & are very happy. But now I have cut all my pattern pieces out for the vogue 8280 dress and came to a conundrum…

Do I just serge all the edges together and be done with it? OR
Do I serge the edge of the pieces to neaten & sew the seams on my regular machine?

Does it even matter?
Will this bring on an existential crisis?

I have a feeling this is purely preferential matter – as to how I like my seams to lie on the inside of the finished garment.

Please feel free to sway to either camp on this matter… but soon, as I want to get this dress done soon! :)


12 Posts Sign in to add a post

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    Jan 7, 2010, 04.42 AMby mlssfshn

    It’s is a personal choice but only on some fabrics, other fabrics that ravel need to be serged seperately then sewn.

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    Jan 7, 2010, 09.31 AMby ichigogirl

    Hm, I’m getting my first overlock machine today :-)! So, I’ve done some thinking about this issue… and I had imagined that you serge only some seams together while you serge and then sew the seams where you may want to adjust the fit later on. So in a princess-seam jacket with a back-seam you serge the princess-seams and serge + sew the side-seams + center back, for flexibility. But that’s just my own theory (that I plan to try out)! Congratulations on a great arrangement, btw!

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    Jan 7, 2010, 05.15 PMby wzrdreams

    I’m running into the same questions…. I agree, after basting princess seams to check the fit, just serge them. For side seams or seams I may want to adjust later I will sew and then serge each SA separately to reduce and neaten without compromising the seam line. For areas like hems or seams that will be completely enclosed I’ll skip the serging unless the fabric is fragile enough to need the extra strength.

    I recently made the Minna dress out of velvet and I serged all the edges first to keep them neat and add stabilty to the fabric. It worked as I had hoped, although I had to thoroughly clean out the inside of the machine several times.

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    Jan 7, 2010, 07.29 PMby bijouxbetty

    Ooh Thanks guys! I think as you’ve all said it will all be dependant upon the project at hand. crisis averted!

    I think it will be a mix of the two for this, as my toile came out spot on so I think the seams should be okay.

    Thanks everyone! :)

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    Jan 8, 2010, 02.38 AMby thecuriouskiwi

    I’ll add my bit :) I kind of make it up as I go along, some patterns do talk about when to “neated edges” but most don’t but I do sew the seam first on my sewing machine. If the seam will be pressed open then I serge each piece separatley then sew. If it will be pressed to one side I sew them together, then serge. Sometimes it’s best (for me anyway) to try not to cut too much off since when I am trying on and want to take it in a bit I would have lost my reference to the seam allowance, if that makes sense.

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    Jan 8, 2010, 04.34 AMby Ami Taf

    Hmmm…. I always sew, then press my seams open before serging to neaten the raw edges. The reason I don’t serge before sewing is for two reasons. Firstly, the more you move fabrics around, the easier they get distorted if they fray easily. Secondly, its easier for me to match the edges for a more precise sewing when I sew before serging, I find that my serger blade sometimes takes a snip of fabric away here and there (maybe I don’t know how to use it well, hehe..) yeah, anyway, that’s just me. But if I was going to sew something that required multiple fitting, I’d definitely serge the edges first before sewing.

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    Jan 8, 2010, 05.45 AMby Vivat Veritas

    it totally depends on the fabric you use… when i sew wool or thick cotton, i serge first and sew together so i can split the seem allowance with iron. however, when i use jersey fabric, i just use serger. hope this helps!

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    Jan 8, 2010, 03.46 PMby katexxxxxx

    Like others, I think it depends… As a rough guide, here’s what I usually do:

    Things like shirts and cotton frocks: 4 thread serge only Princess seams: sew then serge together, if the curves are very curved Knits and stretch: serge only, using woolly nylon in the loopers Lined stuff with no exposed seam allowances: sew only, no serging Thicker and more tailored unlined: serge edges to neaten and then sew. Press open. Thinner fabrics: serge only

    The more fabrics stretch or fray, the more likely I am to serge them.

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    Jan 8, 2010, 06.11 PMby bijouxbetty

    OOh you lovely lovely people! Thank you for all these comments, it all helps me so much! :)

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    Jan 8, 2010, 11.08 PMby oscarthegrouch108

    i’m with kate on this one! for pants (especially ones for my husband who’s tough on clothes) i sew the seam, serge the edges together (seam allowances), then top-stitch through the serged seam allowance. it’s a lot of steps, but it keeps the hubby in his pants (he’s known for blowing the crotch on almost all his pants)!

    if you are going to just serge a seam, make sure your needle tensions are right for your fabric for a strong seam. you don’t want to open up your seam and see little bits of threads, or have a puckered seam!

    1 Reply
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      Jan 11, 2010, 10.23 PMby brandymccoy

      I do this also for my husbands pants:)

  • Missing

    Feb 20, 2010, 06.23 AMby narrawallee

    I sew then serge on all fabrics have always done it that way.

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    Jun 11, 2010, 05.34 PMby pinprincess

    I find that depending on the fabric being sewn, the serger doesn’t always make that snug a seam (could be operator error, could be machine quirk). I hate it when threads grin through! I’m not super confident on making tensioning adjustments with my serger so I prefer the added strength of a regular seam paired with the serged edge.

    4 Replies
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      Jun 12, 2010, 01.51 PMby katexxxxxx

      Just get some off-cuts of fabrics of different weights and types, and experiment! It’s not just tension that needs adjusting with some fabrics, but cutting width and differential feed.

    • Crouched_large

      Jun 14, 2010, 05.59 PMby pinprincess

      Thanks Kate :) I think I’d like to take a class from my local sewing shop. I get around the machine alright for the most part but I know I’m not using it to its fullest potential!

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      Jun 14, 2010, 10.47 PMby katexxxxxx

      Did you get a class from the shop when you bought the machine? I know I did with my Huskylock. I didn’t bother when I bought the Brother and the Bernina, as I was already beyond the ‘teach me how to use a serger’ type class usually offered. I’d quite like to do a more advanced class again if one was offered. I did a six week course once that was good fun. One morning a week for six weeks. Fun taking the serger on the train to class 30 miles away! :D

      Some of the classes offered with the more complex sergers are a sort of ‘steer me round the fancy new features’ classes, which can be fun.

    • Crouched_large

      Jun 15, 2010, 03.12 PMby pinprincess

      Nope, no class. But only because my serger and sewing machine were a VERY big Christmas present from my grandmother. The shop she bought it from might have included free classes but I’d have had to drive an hour and a half each way to do it.

    • This is a question
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