Are you like me and tend to do all your sewing on the one machine? Not everyone might own an over-locker, especially beginner sewers, but there is a way to finish your edges very easily without having to buy or lug out your over locker for what might only be a small job.
Most modern sewing machines come with a range of feet - one of which is the overcasting foot. It's a rather distinct foot and only serves one purpose - albeit a very good purpose.
The overcasting foot helps you stitch right on the very edge of the fabric, creating a row of zig zag stitches which help stops the fabric from fraying and of course gives it a nice finish.
Along the edge of the foot is a sort-of guide wall. On my foot it is the little black piece of metal. This guide helps to keep the fabric straight and stop from wandering off into the middle.
|My machines a bit dusty isn't it?|
It also has guiding wires to make sure that the next stitch is in line with the previous stitch. Remember to pull away from the machine when taking out your fabric piece as you don't want to damage these wires.
To use your overcasting foot - first thread your machine and set it up for a zig-zag stitch by selecting the right program, stitch length and width.
These are my machines settings, but you can test to get the right setting for your own machine. Also ensure your tension is either at 4 or 3 (or the neutral position for your machine)
Insert your foot (do this after threading as it can be tricky to thread with this foot on)
Take your fabric and position it under the foot and alongside the guide
Press your foot down and begin to sew.
As you sew be sure to keep the fabric straight. After a while you may find that you only really need to hold the fabric as the feed dog and the foot will do most of the work for you.
To turn a corner stop just before the edge, lift the foot, raise the needle and pull the garment away from yourself releasing it from the wires. If you try to pivot the normal way by leaving the needle in, the stitches you just made will get twisted in the guiding wires.
|Pull the fabric away from you in the direction of the arrow to remove the fabric|
Turning round edges should be easy - simply guide the fabric price around slowly as you stitch.
You may find some stitches bunching along the edge - this is because you are giving the foot too much fabric. But this can also happen on lightweight fabrics as well by the nature of the fabric. Don't stress too much if this happens - as over casting is often just for finishing the raw edges and these will be hidden anyway on the inside anyway
|The left shows a correctly overcasted stitch, the right shows where it starts bunching|
You may also find your fabric slipping under the foot and the stitches coming in from the edge. If this happens, reposition your fabric and be sure to feed your fabric carefully so that it stays right near the guiding wall of the foot.
|Its a bit hard to see - sorry!|
Hopefully this has been useful to you! Do you have any other ways you like to finish edges? Do you even worry about finishing your edges?
Let me know in the comments if you have any more questions regarding the overcasting foot