How to Serge Chiffon (Slippery Fabrics)
Serger machines are definitely very convenient. The reason for this is because they perform many tasks at once. For instance, they stitch a seam, cut off the extra seam allowance, and then overcast the edge of the fabric. In other words, serger machines are great for finishing the edges of fabrics. Therefore, making hems is one thing that a serger does very well.
If you are making hems, whether rolled or otherwise, chances are that you are going to be working with garment fabric. One popular fabric to use for clothing is chiffon. Chiffon is a very special fabric that is very smooth, shiny, slippery, and can be fairly stretchy too.
For these reasons, serging chiffon can be a bit of a challenge. If you don’t use the right settings on your serger, that slippery chiffon can easily pucker up or move out of place. How to serge chiffon, and other slippery fabrics, is exactly what we are going to teach you today.
How to Serge Chiffon and Other Slippery Fabrics
What we want to do now is to provide you with the most important tips that you need to follow when serging chiffon and other slippery fabrics.
All of these tips can be used to improve results when using a serger with any kind of lightweight, slippery, and stretchy fabric. This applies to chiffon, organza, Spandex, and many others too.
1. Use Fresh Needles
One of the most important things to do here is to ensure that your serger has small and sharp needles. Generally speaking, replacing needles with new ones before working on chiffon is recommended. You don’t want dull needles to snag the fabric. This will cause damage, uneven stitching, and puckering to occur.
2. Dampen the Fabric
A good way to make sewing chiffon and other slippery materials a bit easier is to dampen the fabric. You can use a spray bottle to lightly mist the edges that you are working on. This can help the fabric to stay in place as you pass it through the serger. Many people also choose to use fabric stabilizer spray before serging slippery fabrics. Just make sure that you allow the spray to dry before serging.
3. Using the Right Thread Tension
In case you didn’t know, the threads on your serger machine can be adjusted for tension. Having the right amount of tension when serging slippery and stretchy fabrics is very important. Now, the amount of tension you use is going to depend in part on the type of stitch you are making.
That said, with chiffon and other slippery fabrics, a moderate amount of tension is called for. If you use too much tension, it’s going to gather that fabric together and cause it to pucker. If you don’t use enough tension, your stitches will be too loose. Unfortunately, this is going to be a bit of a trial and error experience for you.
4. Stitch Length and Width
As mentioned previously, chiffon is prone to puckering. Therefore, using the right stitch length and width is crucial. This is a very delicate fabric, so using smaller stitch sizes is recommended. You don’t want your stitches to be very wide or long, as this can cause issues. For the best results, keep your stitches short and narrow. Around 15 stitches per inch is what is recommended for chiffon.
5. Proper Settings for the Differential Feed Dog
One of the hardest things here is going to be keeping the material tight and straight. To help with this, adjusting the differential feed dog is recommended. Most would say that it should be adjusted to a ratio of around 0.7. You want the rear feed dogs to be pulling faster than the ones in the front. This will allow the fabric to stay taught.
6. Keeping the Chiffon Straight and Taught
Speaking of keeping the chiffon taught and straight, there are some other things you can do to help accomplish this. First, you should hold the fabric tight with your hands, both in front and behind the needle. Increasing the pressure on the presser foot can also help accomplish this. Some temporary fabric adhesive can come in quite handy too.
7. Using the Right Thread
Another important tip when serging chiffon is to use the right kind of thread. Generally speaking, using something like bobbin thread is best. You always need to use thread that is no heavier, preferably lighter than the chiffon. If the thread that you use is too heavy, it’s going to look very bad, and it may damage the fabric too.
Serging Slippery Fabrics – Final Thoughts
If you follow the tips as we have listed above, you really shouldn’t have any problems serging chiffon and other slippery fabrics.
Just remember to keep the presser foot tight, the differential feed at the proper ratio, use the right amount of tension, and keep the stitch length and width fairly low.
Chiffon isn’t the easiest fabric to work with due to its slipperiness. However, if you are careful and diligent, it is doable.