Courtesy of Bernina

Courtesy of Bernina

Rolled Edge, Courtesy of Bernina

Rolled Edge, Courtesy of Bernina

There’s no better tool to create a professional looking narrow rolled hem than your serger. Whether you sew it on a fine silk scarf or lingerie, table napkins or an heirloom sewing project, this tiny edge finish is not only secure but elegant. It’s also perfect for ruffles and shirt tails—any place where you need a single edge hemmed in style.

Serger rolled hems can be sewn with two or three threads, depending on your serger model. And they’re ideal for stitching in matching or contrasting threads for either a subtle edge or a focal point edge. Because of the multiple threads in the process, it’s best to use Coats Surelock Serging thread in both the needle and looper(s). Or, for a shinier look, try Coats Polyester Embroidery thread.

SureLock thread for sergers

SureLock thread for sergers

Each brand of serger varies in settings for making a rolled hem, so consult your owner’s manual for specific adjustments. But common to all is a tighter tension setting for the lower looper so that the fabric raw edge is trimmed, rolled to the wrong side and encased in threads for this delicate edge treatment.

Most sergers allow you to adjust the length and width of the stitch within the rolled hem setting parameters to accommodate a variety of fabric weights.

One fun use for the serger rolled hem is to create lettuce edging—that ruffly edge commonly seen on lingerie and T-shirt hems and sleeves. To create a lettuce edge, use the serger rolled hem setting and stretch the fabric edge as much as possible while stitching. When you let go, the edge will ruffle. A denser tighter stitch creates a firm edge and fewer ruffles than a more open stitch, but both depend on the fabric weight.

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Coats Polyester Embroidery thread

If you’re roll hemming napkins or something else with a corner, rather than trying to turn, simply stitch off the edge and leave a short thread tail. Begin again on the adjacent edge by holding the thread tail to get started stitching. When all the edges are done, apply seam sealant to the corners and clip off the thread extensions when  dry.

About the Author


Linda Griepentrog is a writer, editor and designer who lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband (a long arm quilter) and dog, Frank. She loves all things fabric! Linda also leads fabric shopping tours to Hong Kong. Contact her at gwizdesigns@aol.com.

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