Monday, October 11, 2010

Adventures in Stitching a rolled hem

Last week Linda Fellows, owner of The Bobbin Case, mentioned that I could roll a hem on a scarf using my Bernina. She gave me a demo and it looked so simple that I had to put it to use immediately.

I had a piece of silk at home that had been sitting in a drawer since my trip to the Kyoto flea markets a number of years ago. It was a perfect length for a scarf and the sides were acceptably finished but, as you can see in the photo, the ends needed to be bound in some way.

I had, of course, done nothing with the piece and, with Fall weather upon us, knew I could be using the scarf if I finished it off. So, I tried Linda's suggestion.

The trick is to use the button hole option on your machine and set it to 'manual.' I chose stitch #51 among the button hole stitches on my Bernina 730 and then played with the settings on a small piece of silk I cut off from one end of the scarf. For this project, I decided upon a width of 4.9 and a length of 1.0. I had the tension set at 2.5.

The actual sewing process was quite easy. I simply inserted the silk under the foot with about 3/8" lying to the right of the needle and then stitched. The result was a rolled edge.

The hardest part of this technique is finding the right tension and length of stitch. If your tension is too tight or your stitches too close together, then you can get puckers or a really 'tight' feeling to the hem. You want it to hang 'softly.' So, it is really important to play with a sample. I found the initial buttonhole length needed to be increased and the tension decreased.

I am going to play with this option some more. There are more uses for it, of course. It has a lot of potential in using sheers in my art quilts.  Hope that you find it useful as well!

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