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How to Hem a T-Shirt With a Serger: Effortless, Professional Results (2024)

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how to hem a t shirt with a sergerHemming a t-shirt with a serger is an effortless way to achieve professional results.

First, adjust your serger for a three-thread overlock stitch and use a ballpoint needle for stretch fabrics.

Fold and press the hem allowance.

Then serge along the folded edge, gently stretching the fabric as you sew.

Once stitched, carefully pull the hem and body apart for a neat finish.

You’ll be amazed at how clean and polished your t-shirt looks – and intrigued to explore further serger techniques that streamline garment construction.

Key Takeaways

  • Adjust the serger settings for a balanced three-thread overlock stitch, using a ballpoint needle for stretch fabrics
  • Fold and press the hem allowance, then serge along the folded edge while gently stretching the fabric
  • After stitching, carefully pull the hem and body fabric apart for a neat, professional finish
  • Consider using a blind stitch foot for an almost invisible hem, adjusting the settings and folding the fabric accordingly

How to Hem a T Shirt With a Serger?

To hem a t-shirt with a serger, first fold and press the hem allowance, then serge along the folded edge while stretching the fabric slightly. This creates a professional-looking, nearly invisible hem that’s perfect for t-shirts and other stretchy fabrics.

Hemming Your Tee in the Flat

Hemming Your Tee in the Flat
To achieve a professional-looking hemline on your t-shirt, be sure to check that the bodice front and back are even in length before proceeding. Then, adjust your serger’s settings for a balanced three-thread overlock stitch, which will provide a durable yet stretchy finish ideal for knit fabrics.

Check Bodice Lengths for Evenness

Before sewing the hem, make certain your t-shirt bodice lengths are even. Lay the front and back pieces flat, aligning key points like shoulders, side seams, and necklines. Gently stretch the knit fabric to hang naturally, then measure from the desired hem line to the finished edge. Adjust the bodice lengths as necessary for an even, professional hem.

Adjust Serger Settings for Three-thread Overlock

Adjust your serger’s thread tension, stitch length, and needle size to suit the stretch knit fabric. A three-thread overlock stitch creates a strong, stretchy seam perfect for hemming tees. Experiment on scraps to find the ideal settings before serging your blind hem.

Use Blindstitch Foot for Nearly Invisible Hem

Using a blindstitch foot creates an almost invisible hem. Adjust the foot’s position to align the stitches just barely catching the fabric’s edge. Serge the stretched hem, keeping the fold to the left of the guide for even stitching and a professional, flat finish on knit fabrics.

Blindstitch Foot Stretched Hem Invisible Finish
Adjust position to align stitches Serge with fold to left of guide Achieve professional look

Hemming With a Blindstitch Foot

Hemming With a Blindstitch Foot
To begin hemming with a blindstitch foot, attach the foot to your serger and adjust the settings to achieve a balanced, nearly invisible stitch. Fold the hem back and press, then flip the fabric under, leaving about 1/4 inch of the raw edge exposed for the blindstitch to catch.

Attach Blindstitch Foot and Adjust Settings

To attach the blindstitch foot, locate the lever on the back and press it in to release the current foot. Insert the blindstitch foot, snap it into place, and adjust the guide as needed. Experiment with settings like stitch length and cutting width to achieve the perfect blind hem.

  1. Locate the lever on the back of the presser foot and press it in to release the current foot.
  2. Insert the blindstitch foot and snap it into place.
  3. Adjust the guide on the foot as needed to control how much fabric the needle catches.

Fold Hem Back and Press

To hem with a blindstitch foot on a serger, start by folding the hem back and pressing the fabric. Make sure the fabric is folded evenly to create a flat hem.

Think about adjusting the serger tension to get a balanced stitch.

Use a ballpoint needle for stretch fabrics to avoid holes.

This preparation sets the stage for seamlessly stitching the hem and avoiding common sewing mistakes related to hemming and seams.

Flip Hem Under, Leaving 1/4 Free Edge

Next, flip the hem under, leaving about a 1/4 inch of the raw edge free. This allows the blindstitch foot to just barely catch the fabric, creating an almost invisible hem. Adjust the needle position as needed to make sure the stitches only minimally penetrate the visible fabric.

Serger Settings

Serger Settings
For a professionally finished t-shirt hem, properly adjust the serger tension settings to achieve a balanced stitch formation. If working with stretchy knit fabrics, consider using a ballpoint needle to prevent skipped stitches and fabric distortion.

Adjust Tension Settings for a Balanced Stitch

As you prepare to serge your hemline, be sure to adjust the tension settings on your machine for a balanced stitch. This is essential when working with stretch fabrics like jersey. Start by:

  1. Checking your tension dials and ensuring they’re set to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  2. Stitching a test sample and examining the stitch formation – it should be even and secure without puckering or tunneling.
  3. Tweaking the tension as needed until you achieve a perfect, stretchy stitch that won’t distort your fabric.

With the correct tension, your serged hem will lay flat and look professional.

Consider a Ballpoint Needle for Stretch Fabrics

When sewing stretch fabrics on your serger, consider using a ballpoint needle. These specialized needles have a rounded tip that glides smoothly through knits without snagging or creating holes. This helps prevent issues like puckering or tearing when serging seams and flatlock hems. For an extra-polished look, try a ballpoint needle for your invisible hems too. The rounded point will create a clean, professional finish without compromising the stretch and recovery of your fabric. Experiment with needle size and tension to find the perfect combination for your project.

Needle Type Fabric Type Stitch Quality
Universal Woven Crisp, Defined
Ballpoint Knit Smooth, Flexible
Stretch Highly Elastic Stretchy, Durable
Leather Leather, Vinyl Sturdy, Reinforced
Embroidery Delicate Intricate, Decorative

Prepare and Serge Your Hemline

Prepare and Serge Your Hemline
To prepare the hemline for serging, neatly fold and press the desired hem allowance. Then, serge along the folded edge, gently stretching the hem slightly as you stitch for a professional finish.

Fold and Press Hem Allowance

Fold the hem allowance and press it firmly in place. This prepares your hemline for serging. Adjust your serger settings for stretch fabrics, ensuring a balanced stitch. Consider a ballpoint needle to prevent holes when stretching the seams. With the hem allowance prepped, you’re ready to serge along the folded edge.

  • Fold and press hem allowance
  • Adjust serger settings for stretch
  • Use ballpoint needle for stretch fabrics
  • Prepare hemline before serging

Serge Along Folded Edge, Stretching Slightly

To prepare and serge your hemline on a t-shirt with a serger, fold and press the hem allowance. Then, serge along the folded edge, stretching slightly to guarantee a smooth and secure flatlock hem. A crucial aspect is to keep in mind the hem tension, which may need adjustment based on the fabric and desired finish. When selecting the thread color for the hem, make certain it complements the fabric for a professional and polished result.

Serger Techniques Tips for Hemming on a Standard Sewing Machine
Use the correct settings Use a stretch stitch
Take into account fabric weight Use wash away hem tape for stability
Test on scrap fabric Use a twin needle for a professional finish

Gently Pull Hem and Body Apart After Stitching

After serging the hem, gently pull the hem and body fabric apart to flatten the stitch. Adjust your tension settings as needed to achieve a balanced stitch. Consider using a ballpoint needle for stretch fabrics and stretch the hem slightly as you serge to prevent puckering.

  1. Flattening the stitch by gently pulling the hem and body apart
  2. Adjusting tension settings for a balanced stitch
  3. Using a ballpoint needle for stretch fabrics
  4. Stretching the hem slightly as you serge to prevent puckering

Tips for Hemming on a Standard Sewing Machine

Tips for Hemming on a Standard Sewing Machine
When hemming a t-shirt on a standard sewing machine, utilize a stretch stitch like the triple straight or lightning bolt for best flexibility and durability. For increased stability, incorporate wash away hem tape, a twin needle (stretch twin needle size 4.0/90), an extended stitch length of 5, and reduced presser foot pressure to achieve professional results.

Use a Stretch Stitch (triple Straight or Lightning Bolt)

Use a stretch stitch like the triple straight or lightning bolt for a professional-looking hem on your t-shirt. Adjust your machine settings and consider a twin needle for added stability and stretch.

Use Wash Away Hem Tape for Stability

Use wash away hem tape to stabilize your knit fabric hem. The tape provides a sturdy foundation, preventing stretching and puckering. Simply press it in place, stitch, then remove the tape residue for a clean, professional finish that lasts.

Use a Twin Needle (stretch Twin Needle Size 4.0/90)

For hemming on a standard machine, use a stretch twin needle size 4.0/90. This ballpoint needle glides through stretch fabrics without snagging. Adjust your serger settings to accommodate the twin needle for professional, stretchy hems.

  1. Select a stretch twin needle size 4.0/90.
  2. Adjust your serger settings to accommodate the twin needle.
  3. The ballpoint needle will smoothly sew through stretch fabrics.

Elongate Stitch Length to 5 and Lower Presser Foot Pressure

Elongate your stitch length to 5 and lower the presser foot pressure for a balanced stitch when hemming on a standard machine. This helps prevent holes in stretch fabrics – try a ballpoint needle too.

Sewing the Side Seams

Sewing the Side Seams
To begin sewing the side seams, carefully place the front and back bodice pieces right sides together, ensuring the edges are evenly aligned. Next, use sewing clips or pins to secure the side seam allowances, and then serge along the seamline with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, gently guiding the fabric through the serger at a steady pace.

Place Bodice Front and Back Right Sides Together

Place the bodice front and back right sides together. Pinning or clipping the side seams will help maintain evenness as you serge with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. This step guarantees a clean, professional finish to your tee.

Pin or Clip Side Seams

Pin or clip the side seams of your t-shirt before serging. This helps keep the fabric layers aligned as you sew the stretchy knit with your serger. Use sewing clips instead of pins to avoid accidentally stitching over them and damaging your machine’s blades. Take care to maintain an even 1/4-inch seam allowance.

Serge With 1/4 Seam Allowance

Next, place the bodice front and back right sides together, then pin or clip the side seams. Serge with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, being mindful to:

  1. Lift the presser foot and slide the garment under evenly.
  2. Maintain consistent fabric tension settings.
  3. Use a smaller needle size for stretch fabrics.
  4. Gently stretch the hem as you serge to avoid puckering.

Styling and Alterations

Styling and Alterations
After completing the serged hemming process, try on your newly sewn t-shirt to evaluate the fit and identify any areas that may require alterations. Consider styling the t-shirt with different bottoms or layering pieces to explore versatile outfit options, and don’t hesitate to incorporate creative design elements like color blocking or pockets to personalize the garment further.

Try on the Tee and Note Any Fit Issues

Once you’ve sewn your tee, try it on and make note of any fit issues. This is the perfect time to experiment with styling and alterations – play around with different bottoms, layers, and hemline adjustments to find your perfect look.

Style With Different Bottoms and Layers

Experiment with accessorizing options like cardigans, scarves, and belts to transform your tee’s look. Layer it under a blazer or over a tank for versatile styling. Play with color pairings and sleeve variations to suit your personal style. Hemline modifications can also refresh the classic tee.

Consider Color Blocking and Pockets

Consider color blocking and pockets to add contrast, patterns, and accents to your tee. Experiment with different fabrics and embellishments for a personalized look that reflects your unique style.

  • Pair bold colors for a striking visual impact
  • Mix prints and textures for visual interest
  • Incorporate pockets for functionality and flair
  • Embroider or appliquĂ© designs for custom details
  • Play with asymmetric or oversized pockets for a modern twist

Alter Sleeve and Hem Lengths as Desired

When altering sleeve and hem lengths in a tee for the perfect fit and personal style, note any fit issues before making adjustments. Experiment with different lengths to achieve the desired alterations. Consider hem length and sleeve length carefully to enhance the overall look of the garment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to hem a shirt on a serger?

Did you know sergers trim and overlock in one step? For a neat hem, adjust your serger for a three-thread overlock. Fold, press, and serge along the folded edge, keeping it to the left of the guide. Easy-peasy!

Can you use a serger for hemming?

Yes, you can use a serger for hemming t-shirts. Sergers quickly create professional-looking hems on knits with their stretchy, overlocked stitches. Adjust the cutting width to avoid trimming too close, and use the rolled hem setting for a tidy, enclosed finish.

What stitch to use for hemming T-shirts?

Ready to master that perfect t-shirt hem? For knits, use a 3-thread overlock stitch. It’ll stretch with the fabric’s movement, giving you a professional, durable finish.

Do you Serge fabric before or after sewing?

You typically serge seam allowances after constructing the garment, but hem before assembling to avoid bulk. Serging cuts excess fabric while encasing raw edges, preventing fraying.

Can I use a serger to hem a knit t-shirt?

Yo, did you just time travel from the 90s? Here’s the scoop: serging knit t-shirts is a game-changer. The stretchy stitches hug those curves like a glove, giving you pro-level hems without sacrificing comfort.

How do I finish the raw edges before hemming?

First, trim away excess material from edges, leaving a 1/4 seam allowance. Secure your cut edge by serging it using a 3-thread overlock stitch or a mock safety stitch.

What type of thread should I use for serger hemming?

Like a well-oiled machine, use quality serger thread that’s designed to withstand the serger’s high speed and tension. Polyester or poly-wrapped threads are ideal for knit fabrics, ensuring your serged hems remain stretchy yet durable.

How do I prevent the fabric from stretching during hemming?

To prevent stretching, use spray starch or wash-away stabilizer spray on the fabric before hemming. Adjust the serger’s differential feed and stitch length for your fabric’s stretch. Gently pull the fabric taut as you guide it through the serger.

Can I use a serger to sew the entire t-shirt?

You’d think not, but surprise! With the right techniques, you can indeed sew an entire t-shirt using just a serger. It may seem ironic, but these versatile machines can handle garment construction from start to finish with impressive, professional-quality results.


Ready to elevate your tee’s look with professional finishes? Mastering how to hem a t-shirt with a serger opens doors to effortless, polished garment construction. With the right settings, foot, and technique, you’ll achieve crisp, stretchy hems that complement your style. Explore side seams, alterations, and creative touches to make every tee uniquely yours – the serger’s versatility is simply unmatched.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.