Using a coverstitch machine is the best way to get professional-looking hems on knit garments – if you look at any knit garment from a store, chances are that it’s coverstitched! However, while coverstitch machines are fantastic, it’s not uncommon to end up with a wavy hem, or stitching that doesn’t exactly catch the back of the fabric. So here is my perfect coverstitch tutorial! Over time and with practice you may be able to skip some of these steps, but they’re a good place to start.
2. Serge the raw edge of the hem. This is really going to help with getting a perfect finish!
3. Fold up your hem and press.
4. At the side seam junctions, clip into the serging just up to the needle thread. Push the seam allowance in opposite directions – now, when you fold the hem back up there will only be two layers of fabric at the junction rather than three, and it’ll be much easier to sew over.
5. Use Wonder Tape to temporarily baste down the hem. First you stick the tape to the fabric, the peel off the backing tape and press the hem down.
6. Place the garment right side up on your coverstitch machine, and sew from the right side. Start on a piece of scrap fabric, and then “run on” to the hem (you can cut the scrap fabric off later).You should be stitching directly on top of the serged edge on the other side – you should be able to feel it with your fingers as you feed the fabric through the machine. Optionally, you can first hand baste through the serged edge to give you a guide to follow when you’re on the right side, but I find that feeling the serging underneath works well.
Use a tapestry needle to feed through the serger tails back into the stitching to finish. For the start of the seam, you can either feed the serger threads through in the same way, or pull them through to the back of the fabric and tie them off.
If you’re sewing in the round, like the hem of a t-shirt, it’s pretty easy: you can start anywhere (though I tend to start on the back) – just loosen the threads under your presser foot a little, slide the fabric under (it will create a temporary little loop over the side of the fabric), put the foot down again and start. When you get to the other end, continue over the original stitching by a few stitches. You can then pull the fabric out, leaving tails which you can then pull through to the back and secure with a hand needle.