When I was a freshman in high school everyone had Doc Marten boots. Everyone except me. Have you guessed my age yet, ha?! My parents didn’t have a ton of money, but also didn’t think $100 for a pair of boots was necessary. I disagreed. So, I convinced my mom to get me a look alike pair from Payless, except there was one glaring difference. The laces on the sole of the boot were white, not Doc Marten’s signature gold laces. But, I had an idea. When I got home I searched through my younger siblings markers until I found the perfect yellow/gold marker. Yep, you guessed it, I colored the laces. And guess who knew? No one, that is until I blabbed all about it because I was so proud of how I was able to fake it! My parent’s frugality was passed down to me and I’m still faking it to this day.
A coverstitch. Oh how I want a coverstitch. But I just haven’t been able to bring myself to spend $400+ on anything sewing related in a single purchase…yet. Maybe one day I will, but that day hasn’t happened yet so I’ve craftily figured out how to get the coverstitch look and function with just my serger and sewing machine. My method does take a little more time than a coverstitch or simply turning under and stitching, but I love how professional it looks.
I don’t have a twin needle. I’ve broken all of the ones I have purchased. I kinda hate them. I’ve seen lots of people that have perfected their twin needle and love it, but I am not one of them. I use my regular foot and stretch needle in my sewing machine.
Just like high school, I’m gonna blab about how to fake a coverstitch hem!
Let’s get this tutorial started!
What you need: Serger, Sewing Machine, Bobbin thread to match your garment
Step One: My normal serger settings are 4’s across the panel, but I lower the tension to 3’s when I am sewing a single layer. The lower tension helps prevents tunneling.
Line your fabric up to the edge of the serger to stitch along the bottom, but don’t cut off any fabric. This row of serger stitches is going to add bulk to your fabric so it glides through the sewing machine easier. It also will act as a guide where you should sew your double rows (one at a time) with your sewing machine later on.
Step Two: Fold up your hem allowance (whatever the designer has decided). My project had a 1″ bottom hem so I folded under 1″ and clipped/pinned in place.
Step Three: Head over to your sewing machine to stitch the first row. You are going to use two stitches to complete the faux coverstitch.
(An important note about your sewing machine needle and foot. I use Schmetz stretch needles. I find they are the nicest to my stretchy knits, especially this beautiful, drapey mauve rayon spandex from Phee Fabrics. In the past, I have also used ballpoint needles which also work fine. I do not recommend a universal needle when sewing knits. I use my regular sewing foot. I have seen lots of people recommend sewing knits with a walking foot, but I haven’t taken the time to figure it out. So, since my method works for me, I stick with it.)
Ok, back to row one of stitches. Pick the 00 stitch and lengthen it. My length extends to 5.0, but I just go up to 4.0. I have found through trial and error that once I get to 5.0 my bobbin stitches start to look messy, and since it is the bobbin stitches that will be seen I stick to the 4.0 length. A longer length, along with the bulk of the serger stitches, helps the fabric glide through the sewing machine and gives the seam a little bit of stretch. Guide your fabric through your sewing machine keeping it taut without stretching. You want slight tension to prevent it from getting all jumbled up (aka: a rat’s nest).
Sew/hem using the row of serged stitches as your guide to keep it straight. You will stitch all the way around the garment, remember to lock your stitches and clip your threads.
Step Four: Now time to sew row two! Adjust your sewing machine to 01 stitch and 4.0 length. The 01 stitch moves the needle over about 1/4″. Sew/hem using the row of serged stitches as your guide to keep it straight, making sure to keep the same distance between row 1 and row 2. You will stitch all the way around the garment, remember to lock your stitches and clip your threads.
Almost Done! Flip it over and admire the double row of stitches on the front and the clean serged edge from the back. Stem press all the hems to get rid of any waviness.
For hems that are loose and flowy I use regular ol’ thread in both my serger and sewing machine. If I know a garment is more fitted and will need to stretch I use Maxi Stretch thread in the lower loopers of my serger and I wind a bobbin with Maxi stretch thread as well for my sewing machine. This prevents stitches from popping. I have found the only time I need to do this is on a hem that is tighter fitting, like long or 3/4 sleeves.
I hope this method works for you, saves you some $$$ and some sanity!
Oh yeah, I almost forgot to tell you about my gorgeous top! This is a Valencia top from New Horizons in a mauve rayon spandex from Phee Fabrics.
Look at the drape of this rayon spandex! And a great back detail…swoon.