When making a rolled hem on a very light weight fabric such as chiffon or a light weight cotton knit, the stitches will often slip off of the fabric, though the edge is being cut. I have tried putting the differential feed below normal, but this still does not work. I have also experimented with different upper, lower , and needle settings, but the problem persists. Any suggestions?
Turn under the edge just about 1/4" and do a rolled edge then you can go back and trim off any of the folded under fabric that may show. Also, this keeps the hem from pulling away so easily. You may also try putting some water soluble stabilizer under the fabric before you serge.
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The needle "system" is determined by the manufacturer, ie 130/705. However, some sergers do use a different needle system that may be slightly longer or shorter. Getting the right one is very important for the successful use of your machine.
As far as the size of needle, that is determined usually by the fabric and the thread weight you are stitching. For example, if you are sewing chiffon with a fine thread, you would want to use a smaller size needle (like a 65), but if you are stitching denim, you would want to use probably a 90 needle with heavier thread. Be sure to consult your manual because most machines do Not recommend using a needle larger than a 90.
As for the needle type, that is also determined by the fabric you are stitching, as well as what is available in your needle system, ie a ball-point needle might work better on a knit fabric but a universal needle will probably work better on a woven cotton. For the most part, I use the same needle type for my projects unless I encounter problems, like knit fabrics running because the needle is cutting the fabric.
Thin, light-weight fabrics present some issues with sergers, ie the fabric tunnels with the stitching. Usually, it is better to use a narrow seam. Also, a stabilizer (wash-away) or even adding a strip of thin paper (toilet tissue, adding machine tape, etc) to the seam will help the fabric hold its shape when stitching. I have also sprayed & ironed heavy starch on thin fabrics to help stabilize.
Sounds like you want to do a rolled hem for a handkerchief edge, I do the following to create a rolled hem on my over locker. Take out left needle and cut and remove that thread. Open front cover and slide back lever for the stitch finger in the needle plate, this finger stops the fabric rolling under thread tension normally so you need to pull it back out of engagement. Your Janome may have a similar means to select the rolled hem or you may need to remove the stitch finger with a screwdriver, it varies between models.
Thread upper looper with wooly nylon and right needle and lower looper in matching colour thread. (You can go wooly on the bottom looper but it hardly shows so I never bother.) Disengage upper blade and move the fixed lower blade to the right to trim less, then lower upper blade back into position. Now tension, needle leave alone (5)' upper looper very loose (2-3) and lower looper tighten up to 6-7 and test stitch. You want the upper looper thread to go right underneath and the lower looper thread to disappear against the needle stitch. And the fabric to roll inside the stitching. Finesse tensions on the loopers until this is right, you may need to change blade position too, depends on weight of the fabric and how it rolls. Once this is right turn stitch length down to close up stitching, 0.8 or even 0.5 if you want full coverage. Thats it. You can use differential feed if you want a fluted rolled edge, nice on knits.
If you want it done entirely by machine you will need a special attachment. You'd have to check the make and model of your machine to find out if there is an attachment available from the maker. If not, there are some companies that make general attachments, and they'll list what machines these will fit. Check online sewing supply houses for this kind of thing.
You can also make one by hand. Any decent sewing book would tell you how. Usually you sew a straight stitch along the hem, using quite small stitches. Trim hem to a quarter inch from the stitch line. Crease the fabric or press it along the stitch line to the inside. Anchor your hand thread, then take a short stitch right along the stitch line. Next catch one thread of the fabric a quarter inch above the stitch line. It's just a basic running stitch, back and forth. Every few stitches, gently snug up the thread, which will roll the hem over. The finer the fabric, the smaller the stitches you take where they'll show should be.
There are some images that will help, if you enter the following search terms in google, you will see several pictures. Type the words," Illustrations for how to make a rolled hem by hand ? " and you will get a load of ideas.
Making a rolled hem on any overlocker is achieved in the following way:
use right hand needle only and top and bottom loopers. Turn stitch length down so threads are closed up (on mine this is 0.5). Your stitch length dial will be one on the right hand side near the flywheel usually. Loosen off the the top looper tension and tighten up the bottom looper tension (these are the right and 2nd right tension dials on front of the machine). On my Bernette I leave the needle at the usual 5, 2 on the top looper and 6.5 to 7 on the bottom looper thread. Move cutting blade position to the right so that you are trimming the fabric quite a bit wider than your stitch, this makes the fabric "roll" underneath inside the stitching to form the rolled edge or hem.
There is also another step that needs to happen where you change or remove a little stitch finger that sits in the pressure foot or just under it. On the Bernettes, you flick a lever to move this stitch finger back towards the operator so it is out of the stitch forming area. On some machines, it is a case of changing the little stitch finger which is screwed onto the pressure foot with a screwdriver.
I really don't know with your Necchi which it is but have a good look at the pressure foot, and around the blade cutting area and see if you can see a lever or check out the accessory bag and see if there is another stitch finger in there, it would be smaller than the one on the foot now. In effect, this finger sits out and the threads wrap around it to form your normal overlock but for rolled hem you want a much smaller finger in place to make a very little seam.
The other variable which makes a very neat job is to use a thread called "wooly Overlock" in the upper looper only. This thread when pulled under tension is tight looking but when you let it go, it fluffs out. So when seaming on a rolled hem it fills out the stitching and covers the edge of the fabric fully giving a smooth look. You can do it without but wooly thread makes a great job and you'll see it on all Ready to Wear seams usually for this reason.
If I am going to roll hem a fine sheer woven fabric like organza or chiffon I will change the needle to make sure it is nice and sharp and also ensure it is a regular point, not a ball point (I seam lots of knits so have ball points in most of the time on mine) Usually a size 80 is fine.
I hope this gets you going with your overlocker, I usually test stitch quite a bit with the stitch length at the normal 2.5 setting and adjust the looper tensions until I've got the stitch looking good, then turn it down to the very close 0.5, just to not waste a ton of thread.
Rolled hem would be one needle and two loopers, is this what you meant?
Make sure you move the blade to right so that you are cutting wider than the stitch being formed, you want the fabric to roll to the underside inside the stitch.
I would set top looper tension to 3 and bottom looper tension to 6 first off (needle at five, normal tension) first off and test serge with the stitch length at normal 2 or so, so you can see if the fabric is rolling under for you. There is proabably a stitch finger in the throat that you need to change too, sometimes its on the foot, (change with a screwdriver) and sometimes just a finger down on the needle plate.
Then adjust the two looper tensions making lower thread nestle up against the needle on the bottom of the stitch, and the top looper thread wrapping right over to bottom as well. Once this is happening, then turn stitch length down to close up the stitches.
It does depend on the weight of fabric too, and if you want to seam curves.
I find its best done with wooly overlock thread on top looper to "fill" in the overlocking appearance and fully cover the fabric.
I hope this is of help, if the tensions just wont behave then one of them might be faulty and machine need a service, I get mine done at least every 2 years to keep timing and tensions right.
It sounds like you may be using the wrong needle. For knit fabric you need a ball point needle in order for it to sew correctly. A regular sharp type needle can cause the stitches to skip. Also make sure you have the right size for the type of fabric. Lighter weight fabric needs smaller size needle and thicker types need bigger sized needles.
Also make sure you have the right presser foot and the right pressure on the presser foot to get nice even stitches. A roller foot helps when sewing knit fabrics.
You need to disengage the cutting blade by openingfirstly opening the front and left hand side covers. pull on the larger of the two silver knobs and slide the red lever towards you. I'm not sure what the tension settings are, but I'm certain you need to reduce them a fair bit to aid in the rolling effect. I only use 3 threads when doing a rolled hem. My description isn't too detailed but I hope it helps!