How to Finish the Edge of Napkins With Serger

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It is easy and quick to make cloth napkins when you use a serger. Napkins come in lots of sizes; beverage, luncheon and dinner size. Dinner napkins range in size from 16 to 20 inches square; luncheon 12 to 15 inches; and beverage about 8 to 10 inches. Fabrics need to be washable and colorfast. Linen, cotton and cotton blends are the most common fabric choices. They come in a wide range of patterns and colors. Use a rolled serged edge with a satin stitch, which neatly finishes the edge by rolling the fabric to the underside as it is stitched.

Things You'll Need

  • Suitable fabric enough to obtain the number and size of napkins you desire.
  • Thread, matching or contrasting
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Serger machine
  • Fabric sealant

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Decide what size napkin to make, and add one inch to the measurement. Example: Dinner napkin, 16 inches square, cut fabric 17 inches square. This extra inch will allow serger blades to cut ½ inch off the fabric as it feeds through the machine.

Cut fabric into squares as per new measurement.

Adjust serger to rolled edge mode by changing the stitch width, stitch length and tension of a basic 2- or 3-thread stitch machine. Your machine will use a very narrow, needle-like stitch finger. Some machines have a built-in adjustment; other machines have a removable plate to switch out. A short “satin” stitch works well so that the threads completely cover the fabric underneath the stitching. Because you are shortening the stitch, the tension may need to be adjusted.

Practice serging a scrap of fabric until you get the adjustments right. Different thicknesses of threads and fabrics play into the serger settings.

Once the rolled edge is to your liking, begin feeding the fabric square through the machine. Use a guide line ½ inch away from the needle, allowing the knives to cut ½ inch off as it feeds. Hint: If your machine does not have guide markings, use a permanent marker to make one on your machine. This guide will help you keep your fabric square as you feed it through. Hold the fabric taut while serging, which takes the slack out of it as it feeds through, being careful not to actually pull the fabric through. Let the feed dogs do their work.

Sew to the edge and beyond, forming a stitch chain. Clip the chain off, leaving several inches on the machine. Begin another side of serging. Continue until all edges are serged. Clip any chains left at the corners. Apply a dab of fabric sealant to the corners to prevent the ends from raveling.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a decorative thread in upper looper for contrast.
  • Use a rotary cutter and mat. Stack several layers of fabric for easy and accurate cutting.

References

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