Serging a Flower or a Pageant Dress Hem

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Serging a Flower or The Hem of a Pageant Dress

Flowers and Pageant or Formal dress hems are made the same way using a 3 thread rolled hem with monofilament inside that makes the edge stiff and helps the flower take shape or create that wavy bottom of a dress.

Monofilament is another word for thread. It is used on the edge to stiffen the edge and create the look of petals. The monofilament used is nothing more then fishing line. Fishing line comes in pound weights and using any weight between 6-10 pounds works best.

Some sergers have the ability to serge cording and the monofilament is then to be treated as cording, check your manual for specific instructions. However, if your machine is not capable of doing this cording technique then follow the information below.

To do a flower or Hem, set up your serger to do a rolled hem using a small stitch, the same size as is used for a Napkin.

The fabric that works best is silky, like satin, taffeta, organza, chiffon or other lining.

Cut the fabric on the bias about 2-3 inches wide and about 12 inches long. This size makes the best flowers. Though, smaller flowers and buds can be made using 1-2 inch wide fabric and cutting different widths for different flowers can be done with a little practice.
For smaller flowers, you will need to make sure there is enough fabric on the bottom to sew it together to secure.

Dress hems should also be cut on a bias but this is achieved by having a circular skirt.

Right Needle – standard serger thread
Upper Looper – Woolly Nylon, Rayon, metallic thread, or some kind of decorative thread
Lower Looper – standard serger thread

Lift up presser foot and place the monofilament right under presser foot so that it will get caught in the thread.
Bring the monofilament from the front of the presser foot and to the right, holding it in your right hand against the front of the serger to help guide the line away from the knife.

The monofilament goes up and over the knife and behind the door so as not to cut the line. The idea is to keep it from being cut by the knife blade.

Some sergers have a special hole for piping or fishing line that feeds the line and keeps if from the blade. Check your manual.

Place the monofilament under the presser foot with about 12 inches behind the presser foot.

Stitch about 5 to 6 inches of the fishing line so that it is covered in a serged stitch. Place the fabric in front of the presser foot so it gets caught under the presser foot and the knife blade skims the edge of the fabric as it serges catching the monofilament at the same time.

Slowly serge so the fabric is being rolled over the monofilament creating a rolled hem.

When you come to the end of the fabric, move fishing line to the left and toward the back of the machine, holding in the left hand. Serge off the fishing line.

Chain off but leave about 12 inches of the monofilament exposed.

The rolled edge goes on the outer edge of the rolled flower. To create the flower, hold onto one end as you gently pull and stretch the fabric toward the other end. Be careful not to pull the monofilament out of the stitched edge. Fold one end and then begin rolling the fabric, to create a flower. A tight roll creates a bud, while a loose roll creates a large flower. By twisting and folding as you roll creates beautiful and unique flowers. Sew by hand, sewing machine or serger the bottom of the flower/bud to keep it together. Leaves can be created the same way as a flower with less pulling. Secure it all together and sew on a safety pin. Use on a hat, lapel, clip in your hair.

You follow the same technique for the flower by stretching the fabric, gently stretch the fabric making sure to hold onto the end of the monofilament so you don’t pull it out. this will create that nice ~~~~~~~~~ wavy hem that finishes many formal dress hem. I serge one side seam, finish the hem and then serge the other side seam to secure the monofilament.

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2 Responses

  1. Hi there, im actualy trying to get a realy curly edge on a dance skirt and have been told to use a stiff mesh type binding only the person didnt know exactly what it was and has left me guessing, have tried fishing line on the serger, didnt have a very dramatic effect , just went a bit wavy in places, hard to do on a circular skirt to, so much of it, any help appreciated, thanks.

    • Karen, if you are using the fishing line, you need to stretch the fabric by pulling it being careful not to pull it off the fishing line. If using a knit fabric, use a 3 thread rolled hem and pull the fabric as you serge. It is called a Lettuce edge.

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