Rolled edge on a serger

Rolled edge
rolled hem
Lately, I’ve been into using cloth napkins. Not only do reusable napkins save paper, but they just make you feel good. I’ll use them when I’m on my lunch break at work, eating something nuked in the microwave and completely not fancy. I’ll use them with my oatmeal in the morning or my cheese and crackers at night. You can make your own napkins using a rolled hem. One nice way to do this is on your serger. In a future post, we’ll do a rolled edge on a regular sewing machine.


(Click fabrics for direct links for purchase at Warehouse Fabrics Inc.)

Gingham fabric red – GIMRED18

The process

Sometimes, when I look at my serger, I see this. Yep. An evil monster growling at me from across the room. I’m afraid to approach it. Threading it is scary, and it took enough nerve to learn how to do a regular serged edge. For a long time, I have wanted to learn this machine’s other uses, and so I dove in.Let me be honest: I had some trouble with this project. The tension is something you have to play with. I also found a problem in my machine with a thread guide that wouldn’t stay put. But when you get it going, it’s pretty neato.

Cut a square
Cut squares
Cut squares for your napkins. These are about 9.5″ square. I just used my square quilting ruler as a guide.

Tension settings
Set your tension dials. If you have a two needle model, you’ll remove the left needle. You’ll also remove the stitch fingers from inside. On my machine, I was instructed by the manual to set the tension as follows: right needle: 4, upper looper: 1-4, lower looper: 5-7. But the DVD that came with my machine was more specific with settings of 4, 5 and 7, respectively. So you can see how you might have to mess around with it to get the right stitch. It also depends on the weight of your fabric.

Serger settings
Now adjust your machine settings. I left the differential feed at 1, set the stitch length at “R” and the stitch width at “R.5.” Check your manual for your machine’s settings.

Now start serging. You will let the knife shave off the edge as you sew. You should be getting a dense, thin stitch. Because of the tension settings, the very edge of the fabric will be forced under and bound in place, thus the name “rolled edge.” When you get to the end of each side, serge past for a few inches to leave a tail on the machine and cut (this is for the sake of the machine, not the project). Then do the next side. Trim off tails.