flatlocked turtleneck

Flatlocked Turtleneck

Burdastyle 9-2010-121

My next item to finish for the Wardrobe Basics Sew Along is a black turtleneck.  As I never do black unless work required (and by ‘required’ I actually really truly mean required), I chose a heathered oatmeal rayon knit–decidedly a better color for me.  Though I had to resize for this version of Burdastyle 9-2010-121, I knew it would come together very quickly.  Knowing this, and inspired by an article in Threads #155 (June/July 2011), I thought I’d make things more interesting by trying out some flatlocking on my serger.

I thought that I needed a fancy pantsy serger for flatlocked stitches.  According to the Threads article (entitled “Flatlock for Fashion”), not so!  After fiddling around a bit, I can honestly say I have not been getting my money’s worth out of my rather humble little Janome serger.  I really want to do a little video tutorial for a flatlocked hem in particular (crazy excited about this hem), but I’ll give a fast run down to give you an idea.

Kathleen Fasanella gives a thorough explanation of flatlocking here.  Basically, a flat lock stitch lies flat (crazy, right?), but how you achieve that makes for some interesting effects.

  • You want your serger to be in a 3-thread configuration.  Take out your right needle if you want a wider stitch or take out the left needle if you want a narrower stitch.
  • Set the tension on your chosen needle to the lowest setting (0 for me, perhaps different for you).
  • Increase the tension on your lower looper to the highest setting (or higher than normal, but you know how playing with serger tension works…).
  • Keep the tension on your upper looper where it usually is.
  • Flatlocking can have two different looks:  “loops” or “ladders”.  To see “loops” on your right side, serge with wrong sides together.  To see “ladders” on the right side, serge with wrong sides together.  For whichever you choose, once you’ve serged a seam, pull gently on the seam to expose the ladder stitches (this will flatten out the loops on the opposite side).  Press well.  Tada!flatlocked turtleneck

Besides having a decorative look (especially if you use some decorative threads like Wooly Nylon), the flat seams are really unexpectedly noticeably more comfortable than traditional serged seams.  You see these seams in a lot of athletic wear just for that reason–the flat stitches reduce chafing during exercise.  Who’d a thunk it?  And I just wanted to play around with my serger.

I updated my review of the turtleneck here.

flatlocked turtleneck

Turtleneck with my Designer Pastiche jeans.  Oops, there they are again.  Have you voted? 😉

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7 Comments

  1. I voted!! Did not know that about my serger either….thanks!!! I’m kinda chicken when it comes to sewing knits, even though I’ve done it. I would really like to try the flat lock stitch though…guess I need to get over my fear!! the shirt looks so good with those jeans! 🙂

  2. Great jeans! And I love the flatlocking detail on your turtleneck. I second the comments about getting over my fear of the “other” stitches on my serger – I really need to try it!

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