Saturday, February 20, 2010

Serger Saturday: Flatlock Stitching

Okay, here is the one thing that I've been wanting to learn to do since I first got a serger, oh, 8 years ago or so.  I always figured it would be crazy complicated and hard.  I'm a huge dweeb becuase it's crazy CRAZY easy and I've been missing out for 8 years.

Anyway, blind stitch foot.  Get it. Slap it on your machine. 
Thread your machine for a 3thread overlock, and remove RIGHT needle.  Keep that left need good and tight in place, though. 
Set your machine as follows:
Stitch width: 5mm
Stitch length: 2-4mm
Needle thread tension: 0-3
Upper looper: 2-5
Lower looper: 6-9
Fold your fabric along where you want the flatlock detailing to be

Place it under presser foot, aligning needle to just at the edge of the fold

and the guide position on the foot so that some of the thread will loop over the edge of the fabric

sew, sew, sew

You'll have loose loops, that's okay.  You need them so that you can open the fabric up. (granted, mine are a bit looser than they need to be...)

See, cool little ladder-like detail on the inside.  But the look I've been pinning for 8 years after?


Seriously, that's it!

Note:  Decide ahead of time which look, ladder or the loops, you want on the outside of your project.  Fold right sides facing for the ladder look.  Fold wrong sides facing for the loop/flatlock look.

And, the main reason I've been wanting to know how to do this?  I love the way it looks when two pieces of fabric are butted up against each other with a flatlock stitch.
All you have to do to acheive this is:

Take your two pieces and fold the raw edge under (unless it's a non-fraying fabric like knits or fleece.  This technique would rock with fleece)

Place them either right sides facing, or wrong sides depending on if you want ladders or loops.  I wanted loops, so wrong sides facing. Not that you can tell on scrap muslin, but whatever.

Run it through the magic machine
Seriously, way too excited about this.


Bec said...

Yay, yay, yay! This is brilliant! I love this look but I had no idea how to do this and no idea what it was called to look it up. Thank you so much :D

Sabra said...

No problem! I was doing a little dance in my mom's kitchen, where I happened to be sewing that day, I was so happy to have figured it out.

Ansia said...

I have been wanting to know how to do this for years! I can't even believe that it is that simple. I am going to go and try this right now! Thanks.

Belly said...

Thank you! I've been looking everywhere for a flatlock tutorial. Going to try it now.

Molly said...

Awesome, and I'm guessing, with decorative thread in the loopers you could get a really pretty flatlock loops on the front?

Debbie said...

thankyou very much for this tutorial..
only thing is.. i dont really get which way you fold the fabric..
do you fold both fabrics?
i have a toyota overlocker machine..
is that a blind hem foot i already have?
sorry i'm quite new to this
many thanks

Maura said...

You can lay a 1/8" ribbon on top, even with the edge and sew over it. Then when you pull the fabric flat, the ribbon is in the resulting channel. Very pretty especially with matching or decorative thread.

krazi ladi said...

yeah!! you are my absolute hero !!!!you have no idea!!!! :) thank you

aznangel said...

This may be a silly question..but do you need a blind stitch foot to do this technique? As in is it a must have? I'm entirely new to serging and I made the mistake of not buying from a dealer so no free classes.
Thanks for your time

Sabra said...

The instructions with my machine say to use one. BUT as far as I can tell, and I could be completley wrong, the main reason for it is to keep the fabric exactly where you need it. I think you could do it without, but I never have tried so I don't know for sure.

Good luck,

Kelly said...

Hi, just found your blog and I LOVE that you have all these tutorials on the things you're learning! I've had my serger a week and am having a blast learning how to use it! I wasn't sure what to do with flatlocking, as I don't have anyone showing me what the different stitches are good for, but after seeing the way you used it to butt the edges of two different fabrics up next to each other, I'm inspired! I'm envisioning a gored skirt where the gores are sewn to each other with a flatlock stitch and decorative thread! Ooooh!

Thanks SO much for taking the time to share this!

Shari said...

So I just tried it. I must be doing something wrong. Maybe tee shirt knit isn't heavy enough? The whole folding thing is throwing me. Is this not a good stitch to use for seams. I was going to use it on your bitty briefs, so I could have no seams against the skin (like Hanna Andersson, but a whole lot cheaper)! I've got picky little guys!

Sabra said...

I'm so sorry it didn't work for you! So frustrating. Are you able to salvage them at all? The knit does seem to not take to the flatlock on a regular serger as well as thicker material. Maybe play with the tension more? I finally was able to get the look I wanted on my son's briefs, but secured the seams with straight stitches. But that won't work for you if your little guys don't like the seams. I'm sorry!

Tricia said...

Thanks for this tutorial. I'm hoping to make some swimtops for my boys this summer, and really would like to use flatlocked seams. How have the seams you've sewn held up?

Daughter of Israel said...

I'm having such a hard time with my flatlock. I'm using embroidery decorative thread and cotton fabric. I sewed with the needle close to the edge. I used a blind-hem foot.

The loops are so ugly they won't lie flat. What did I do wrong? What should the tension be? I tried the ones recommended on my brother 1034d manual, and couldn't get the loops to stay flat.

Can you help? Thakns.

Sabra said...

D of I- I haven't used that combination of thread/fabric at all with flatlocking. And I'm far from an expert. At all. So other than just playing around with your tension, I'm not sure what else there is to tell you. This is definately a "cheater" flatlock technique. To get a true, you'd need a coverstitch machine. As I mentioned above in the comments, after achieving the look I want from the flatlock, I have to secure my seams with regular stitches. I don't know if that would help you or not, though? good luck!

Lexymom said...

oh THANK you!!! This is SOOO neat!!! I just got my serger!!! (seems to be the same as yours based on the pictures, a Brother 1034d...) and I CANNOT stop serging!! I get a little bummed when I need to get out the ol' sewing machine to do something like a zipper or just a straight stitch... I know absolutely nothing about sewing really, but I love it, and this was SOOO helpful!

ljuarez said...

after I saw this I actually found the page in the manual to use the blind stitch foot because otherwise I couldn't keep the fabric straight! so thank you for helping with the type of foot. then I found the tension that I loved the best and took a pic of it for future reference. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!

chiicka.dee said...

What do I set the dials on the side to? I am new at this, I got the top dials (for each thread) set, but not sure what to do with the ones on the side of the machine.

Sabra at Sew a Straight Line said...

Sorry it took me so long to respond. I took a blog break, and am just now checking comments. The side dials should be:
Stitch width: 5mm
Stitch length: 2-4mm

good luck!

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Creative Commons License
Sew a Straight Line by Sabra Gubler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at 01 10