Flatlock Seam and Hem Using Your Overlocker.

It's easy to make some small adjustments to your overlocker to achieve a flatlock stitch. This is the closest stitch you can achieve to a coverstitch machine, however it only uses 3 threads so won't be as strong.
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Setting Up Your Machine
 

I unthreaded the right needle. For a narrower finish you need to remove the left needle.

You'll need to experiment with the settings for your machine, this is how I set the tension on mine. (the right needle has no thread, so won't affect the stitch).

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The needle thread needs to be loose as it creates a ladder stitch on the back. This can also be an effect on the right side,
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The top looper is the one that shows on the surface, so adjust the tension slightly to get a good effect. The lower tension needs to be tight as it helps create the stitch but hardly shows.


 

All the threads will be on the surface, so choosing colours that work with your fabric is important. I've use three slightly different colours that blend together.
 

Stitching the seam
 

I've experimented with different ways to prepare the fabric.

Method 1

Use a rotary cutter to cut on the stitching line.

Place fabric wrong sides together.

Line up the cut edge with the right needle.

Stitch.

Pull the fabric flat.

This is fine for a decorative seam, but because the cut edges lie in the centre of the seam I wouldn't want this to happen to my yoga pants!

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Method 2.

This method does make a thicker seam, but it's perfect for my exercise wear.

Make sure you know how wide your seam allowance is.

Put fabric wrong sides together.

To be sure your garment comes out the right size, the fabric is placed so the stitching line is about 5mm to the right of the left needle. That's just a bit to the right of the right needle position that's marked on my overlocker foot.

Stitch the seam.

Pull each piece of fabric really firmly to get the seam to lie flat.

Press.

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Flatlock Hem
 

This is a really stretchy decorative hem.

Fold the hem along the finished hem line. Pin at right angles to the edge, with the points just on the edge of the fabric. The pins really help with the next stage.

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Fold up the hem again with the points of the pins exactly at the foldline. This helps keep the cut edge in exactly the right position.

Move the pins to the otherside of the fabric so you can see them ready for stitching.

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With the right side of the fabric on top stitch along the fold without trimming the fabric. You're catching in the cut edge of the fabric which is between the layers.....hence the importance of pinning the fabric carefully.
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This is the right side
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This is the wrong side.
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Turn the hem down and pull really hard so it lies flat.

Press.

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Ladder Stitch
You can use the same techniques to make a ladder stitch on the right side.
 

For a seam you place the fabric right sides together.
 

However; for the hem - fold the hem to the wrong side along the hem line. Fold again right sides together, so the fold is a bit wider than the cut edge.
Sew along the second fold catching in the cut edge.