Binding: Serger Quilt part III (finally)

I apologize for this taking so long.  Has anyone finished the quilt body?  Is anyone ready for binding yet?  Please send me a picture when you’re finished with your baby quilt. So, why put on a quilt binding with your serger?  First, it is fast.  Second, you end up with an evenly wide seam allowance, which means when you wrap your binding to the other side, your binding is even.  Third, if you use fusible thread in your lower looper, you fuse the binding down to the other side of your quilt and it holds it there, without pins, for you to sew down with your favorite sewing technique, either hand or machine. If you are just joining us, you can find Part 1 of this baby quilt here, and Part 2 is here.

Serger Quilt Binding

Materials: 1/2 yard binding fabric for straight grain binding decorative serger thread

  • if using embroidery thread, you need 2 spools of at least one color

water soluble glue, such as Sewline glue stitck, Scotch permanent glue stick, Elmers blue gel glue, or equivalent Construction: Cut four (4) 2 1/2 x WOF strips of binding fabric.

  • If quilt is larger than planned, cut 5 strips.  Cut one strip in half and sew each half onto the end of one of the other strips, so that two of the strips are longer than the other two.

To serge strips together: Lay one strip end perpendicular to the other strip end, right sides together with bottom strip going east-west and top strip going north-south. binding 1 If desired, draw a line from upper left to lower right of the square formed by the intersection of the two strips. Serge with the needle stitches falling on this line and with the knife cutting off the extra. binding 2

binding 3

Press seam to one side.

binding 4

Fold strips in half lengthwise and press. I wanted to add a piped detail to my binding, so I used the wave stitch on my serger.  You could also use a rolled hem or a narrow hem just as well.  Set your cutting or stitch width to the widest setting you can for the stitch you select, and set your stitch length to form a satin stitch, probably around 1.5mm. Although I like the sheen of embroidery thread on rolled hems, I find it is too fine for good coverage.  I fix this by putting two (2) threads through the same looper.  Since I have a Baby Lock, that means putting them both into the same looper port.  On a different brand serger just thread the loopers with the two threads as though they were 1 thread.  It works for all rolled hem applications.

fancy threads

2 in each looper

I then serged the wave rolled hem on the folded edge of the long strips of binding.  I chose to use a squared off binding, but you could also try this with a mitered binding.  I worried that the piped effect might get in the way with mitering, so let me know if you try it out!

Place the raw edge of the shorter piece of binding against the edge of the WRONG side of the quilt sandwich, and use a 4 thread overlock stitch, only trimming enough of the edge to even it out, to serge the binding to the quilt.  Repeat this on the other short edge.

binding attached

Fold the binding to the front of the quilt and use water soluble glue to hold the binding in place while you use a sewing machine to stitch in the ditch of the faux piping to attach the binding to the quilt.  Trim the ends even with the long edges of the quilt using a rotary cutter or scissors.  Why didn’t I let the serger trim the ends?  I wanted to be sure the serger didn’t get hung up on the multiple fabric and thread layers.

binding topstitched

You can also make this quicker by using a fusible thread in your lower looper.  Then when you press the binding to the finished side, you fuse the binding in place so it holds still while you stitch it down.

Repeat this process with the long strips of binding on the long edges. Make sure that the binding extends about 2 inches beyond the quilt at either end.  But what to do with those ends when you stitch it down?  The piped edging made it too thick for a traditional fold at the end. Fold the tail back on itself to the right side of the quilt, tuck the piped edge underneath the tail, then fold the binding down over the tail and stitch it in place.

binding corner 1 bound corner top

Beautiful, embellished binding, both front and back.

bound corner final

back of binding

Serger Questions

I would love to do a question and answer, a serger FAQ if you will.  What questions do you have about serger sewing that you have wanted to ask someone?  Either email them to cherishedneedlecreations@gmail.com, or post them here as a comment, and I will try to answer them.

Question 1:

Do I need a serger?

I would say it depends on the type of sewing you usually do.  And I would insert in here that the only serger worth getting is a good one.  Shop around and read reviews on the web;  don’t just buy the cheapest to see if you will like it, since you’ll probably hate it if you do that.  There are good inexpensive sergers out there, but there is also a lot of frustration wrapped up in cheap serger packages!

If you are a fashion sewer, definitely try to get one. Fashion sewers will find that finishing seams is a breeze and so much faster that you’ll recoup your serger cost in the time saved very quickly.  Knits are easier to sew on the serger, and some clothing you’ll find you can serge and finish in one fell swoop.  How you use it will depend on what you are making, of course, but you’ll use if on just about every project you make.

If you sew accessories, especially for sale, a serger can save you time and money.  Lots of accessories can be finished quickly and professionally with a serger.

Is home dec your passion? You should look into buying a serger that has a large throat space and the capability to do a coverstitch and chainstitch.  Decorative serging is a blast and can make all kinds of unique surface embellishments.  The list for that is truly endless.

If you make children’s clothing a serger can speed things up immensely; a serger would be a good investment.  Even heirloom sewing can be done on a serger.  The results are a little different, but they are equally beautiful in their own right and can be combined with traditional techniques to speed up the proecess without losing any of the beauty.

If you are only a quilter I would say you probably do not need one.  I have posted about quiltling with a serger, and I really like doing that, but it would not pay for a quilter to have a serger with which to make quilts.  If you make a little bit of other stuff, it still probably won’t pay to buy one.

I adore my serger, which, if you’ve read my blog before, you already know, but I would never replace my sewing machine with a serger.  They are teammates and I go back and forth between them constantly.  I sew and serge a wide variety of projects, and I look for creative ways to use my serger.  It will still never replace my precious sewing machine, no matter how fancy or powerful it gets.

Please send me your questions.  I’d love to help you figure out how to better utilize your serger (investment.)

Quilt-as-you-go, Serger Quilt: tutorial Part 2: BORDERS

Last week we started a baby quilt by serger.  I hope some of you are sewing this along with me and will send me pictures of your completed project.

Part 1 ended here:

Fabric Preparation for Borders

Cut the following from Border 1 fabric AND from batting:

2 – 2 ½” x 30”*

2 – 2 ½” x 38”*

*Cut borders 2” longer than length needed.

Let’s put these borders on, shall we?

The reason I suggested you cut your borders 2″ longer than the length needed is to give you a little wiggle room at each end.  As we practice quilt-as-you-go by serger, I find that sometimes my fabric shifts at the beginning of my seam.  I have gotten to where this rarely happens any more, but this extra length will help alleviate that, if you find it happens to you.

CUT BACKING STRIPS:

I just realized I forgot to tell you to cut your backing strips as well, so now go ahead and cut 4 backing strips to match your border 1 and batting strips.  These backing strips might match the backing for the central square, but that is not necessary.  This is a perfect opportunity to have a pretty pieced backing.

The order of the borders, based on the measurements I gave above, is to serge the top and bottom borders first, followed by the side borders.

For serger quilt-as-you-go, you will layer your fabric from the table up as follows, with top raw edges matching:

Backing strip: RIGHT side UP   (green in picture)

Quilt sandwich: RIGHT side UP   (pieced in picture)

Border fabric: WRONG side UP    (orange in picture)

Batting: on top.

border arrangement

The raw edges are not aligned in this picture, but you want to align them.

Start your border strips about 1″ before the central square.  Pin all layers together carefully.

*Pinning Recommendation:  I use LONG quilting pins when I serge.  I will often pin parallel to the edge, which keeps my pins out of my knife, but if I pin perpendicular to  the edge I place my pins so they hang off the edge of the fabric about an inch.  That way they are both easy to see and easy to remove.  NEVER serge over a pin.  I have only had to replace my knife once in 12 years, and that was after serging over 1 pin.  That is all it takes.

**If  you find your fabric edges slip and slide around despite pinning, use glue in the seam allowances to hold them together.  I use glue stick or Elmer’s blue gel a lot, especially when serging.  If the glue does not dry fast enough, iron the two fabric layers together as you glue and it will dry quickly.

Serger Setting for SERGING SEAMS:

4 Thread Overlock
Stitch Width: Widest Setting
Stitch Length: 3 mm

Serge the long seam trimming off an even amount.

Flip the border pieces out from the center and press on both sides.  Press to flatten seam as much as possible, pulling on the fabric against the seam to be sure it was caught in the stitching everywhere.

flip borders out 1

flip borders out 2

Change serger stitch or cutting width to narrowest width and serge baste the long edge, without trimming, to hold the 3 layers (backing, batting, and border) together.  * As you serge, continue to smooth the fabric out from the seam to be sure the raw edges meet and all layers are caught in the basting.

Return stitch or cutting width back to widest setting.

Repeat for opposite border.

You can cut off the 1″ of border that hangs off each end with a rotary cutter to square up the center, or cut it off when serging the side borders.

Arrange the fabrics the same way as explained above for the side borders, serge, press, and baste outer edge.

BORDER 2

Cut border 2 fabric, batting, and backing strips as follows:

2 – 4″ x 32″

2 – 4″ x 42″

Repeat the same procedure with the first borders.  When you are finished your outer edge should be completely squared up, basted and ready for binding.  If your quilt needs additional squaring up, it is fine to trim away some of the serger basting.  If you trim away all of the stitching in an area, rebaste that section without trimming on the serger to hold the layers together.

BINDING Prep:

Coming up in the last installment of this series will be adding a straight grain binding with a faux serger piping.

1/2 yard binding fabric.

Cut 5 strips 2 1/2″ x WOF (Width of fabric).

Thread: at least 2 spools of 40 wt. polyester or rayon embroidery thread, or 1 spool of a 12 weight decorative thread like Sulky Blendables, Jean Stitch, or Pearl Crown Rayon.

Part 3 Binding here.

Until next time,

Sherilyn

National Serger Month/How to use a serger/Nancy Zieman | Nancy Zieman Blog

If you don’t already follow Nancy Zieman’s blog, now’s a great time to start.  Take a peek at her great suggestions for using a serger for decorative seams.

National Serger Month/How to use a serger/Nancy Zieman | Nancy Zieman Blog.

When the Kindle update for my pattern will be available

I have learned so much from this publication experience.

My Kindle update is uploaded and available for purchase.  Anyone purchasing the book from today forward will receive the updated version with the proper formatting.  For those of you who purchased already, the update will not be available for you to download for the next 2 weeks.  So, I will notify you again then when it’s available.

Phew!  But learning something new is so much fun, once you get past the challenges involved, isn’t is?

Kindle update complete and uploaded

Thank you to everyone who has bought my serger cover pattern.  I have figured out how to get the pictures included, and corrected most of the formatting problems with the original upload.  I have asked Amazon to send out an e-mail to everyone who purchased the book, when the update is ready.  By Monday evening or Tuesday, you should be able to download a much nicer version; more readable and with pictures and diagrams.

I hope you like the pattern;  there is so much to learn in it.  Please tell your friends about it!

I would also love to hear from you if you are interested in having more patterns written in Kindle format.  I would love to create more of them if there’s interest.

Have a wonderful day!

Beginner Serger Projects

I love teaching beginning serging, but I feel for all those who do not have a local teacher to help.  I learned on my own, and I know how hard that is.  Having someone by your side makes all the difference in the world, yet so often we don’t have that.

For all of you in that boat:  Keep trying.  You don’t need to be afraid of your tension dials.  You may eat up a lot of fabric and thread with just testing out your stitches, but if you’re willing to change those dials, you’ll learn more quickly how your serger works.  Don’t give up.  You may not quite get to projects right away, but you’ll never get there if you don’t dive in.

  1. Get out some scrap fabric because when you use a serger you will test your stitches EVERY time you change ANYTHING.  Even after you know what you’re doing.  🙂
  2. Be sure when you thread that you always thread the upper looper, and then the lower looper, and lastly the needles.  If you have a looper thread break, you need to unthread the needles, at least take the thread out of the needle eyes, before rethreading the looper.  If the upper looper needs rethreading, you must also unthread the lower looper eye before rethreading the upper looper.  In this case order matters a lot.
  3. When you start, it really helps to use 4 different colored threads.  And, if you have color-coded threading instructions, it helps even more if your colors match the colors for your machine.
  4. Set all your tensions to the middle of the road to start, probably at a 4.
  5. Serge slowly, if you can, and see what it looks like.
  6. Now change one of your tensions a notch up or down.  Serge again.  See what changed.
  7. Keep changing one thing at a time and see what changes. What changes when you modify tensions a little?  What about when you modify one of them a lot?
  8. There are several ways to deal with thread ends. The easiest is to run about 8″ of serger chain off whenever you finish a seam, and cut it in the middle, leaving 4″ on the fabric and 4″ on the serger.  Use a blunt needle to run the chain under the last 1-2″ of serger loops on the seam. You’ll increase your repertoire of ending skills as you go.

Play around with your serger.  If you play a lot before trying a project, you’ll be less frustrated when the time comes.

Then, what about a first project?  I recommend a simple pillowcase.  Cut one fabric 22-26″ x width of fabric.  Cut a second fabric 10″ x WOF.  Fold the 10″ piece in half lengthwise (hotdog fold), and press.  Lay the long edges along the cut edge of the right side of the large piece of fabric and serge with a 4 thread overlock stitch.

Press this doubled fabric away from the large piece.

Fold the whole thing in half lengthwise (hotdog fold) again, selvages together.  Serge the selvage seam, cutting the selvages off with the serger. Isn’t that convenient?

And finally, serge the bottom seam.

You have finished your first project.  Congratulations!

From this basic pillowcase you can change things up – put on a gathered ruffle, use decorative stitches, add piping, use French seams – lots of possibilities to develop and increase your skills.

Another very easy project that will help you use a rolled hem is the Fat Quarter Gift Bag, which can be found at Bernina USA.  You can also find other serger projects here, which can help you develop your serger skills even further.  I don’t own a Bernina, but I love their project pages.

I am always glad to answer questions, as well.  You can reach me at cherishedneedlecreations@gmail.com, or on my Cherished Needle Creations Facebook page.   I would be glad to help you out, or direct you to other resources that may help, since there are actually quite a few resources for sergers available on the Web.  I also have resources on my website, www.cherishedneedlecreations.com, and you can subscribe to my free monthly techniques and projects newsletter from there.

So, dive in!  The water’s fine!  Serging does take practice, so even if you’ve been sewing for years, if you are new to a serger, have patience with yourself.  It is a different animal than a sewing machine, and it will take time to get used to it.  As your skills develop, so many new options will become available to you, so persevere!

 

 

© Sherilyn Siegmund-Roach and Cherished Needle Creations

Previous Older Entries

Materia Medica

by Chloe Sobejko

Plant Therapy Blog

A creative home for machine embroidery, sewing, and serger projects and techniques.

Keirsten's Kitchen

It's Paleo... ish

Notorious Beauty Blog

I believe in manicures. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls. -Audrey Hepburn

Cat Eyes Red Lips

Beauty, Fashion, Lifestyle

theimaginationmuscle

Birthplace to all ideas:please, let me share a few of my own.

adoptingjames

Read our Mission. Find out how you can help us adopt James.

Dresses & Me

I love to sew

knit the hell out

More obsessed with each passing stitch.

M&J Blog

A creative home for machine embroidery, sewing, and serger projects and techniques.

Blumenkinder Heirlooms

Gracious Living by the Yard

The Seeds of 3

Sewing, Gardening, and Homeschooling Adventures

Sewnhenge

Sewing Quilting Living Loving

WeAreDAR

To Give. Globally.

dianedziel

fashion design is also pattern making and sewing

%d bloggers like this: