How to do a rolled hem on a serger

How to do a rolled hem on a serger

In today’s post, I will be showing you how to do a rolled hem on a serger. A rolled hem is quite different from the other type of stitches in the sense that it is an edge finish stitch or a decorative stitch.

The rolled hemstitch creates a dense, narrow, thread-wrapped fabric edge. You can use your regular sewing to make a rolled hem, but it is recommended that you use a serger or an overlocker. Note that a serger and an overlocker are different names for the same machine.  

Items needed to set up a rolled hem

Before starting a rolled hem with a serger, you must have the following items:

  • One small screwdriver to work on the needle screws
  • One wooly nylon thread of any colour
  • Two overlocking threads 
  • Tweezers 
  • A scrap piece of fabric for testing

How to make a rolled hem step-by-step

Following these steps will help you make a nice rolled hem with a serger.

Step 1 – Removal of the left needle  

The first step is to remove the left needle. For a rolled hem, what is needed is just a needle. Pick up a screwdriver; loosen the needle on the left side of the serger. After removing the needle, ensure that you tighten the needle clamp screw very well.

Step 2 – Set the stitch length 

Setting the stitch length is the most challenging part when making a rolled hem. Now, check the side of the serger and, change the stitch dial, set the tension to 1-2. You will have to play with the tensions to get the correct setting. In general, the tighter option is the lower loop thread tension.   

Step 3 – Set the differential feed 

The next thing is to set the differential feed. The reason for adjusting the differential feed is to ensure that it matches the stretch of any delicate fabric. It makes sense to change it to a neutral position of 1.0. After adjusting the differential feed, it is advised that you should test it with a piece of cloth and make further adjustments till you get the correct result. 

Step 4 – Moving the Stitch forming finger

The next thing is to move the stitch forming finger. Press down the upper blade, release the spring with one hand, and use the other hand to slide in the stitch forming finger into position. Once the stitch forming finger is slid into place, release the blade immediately while the cutting edge is in the up position. 

Step 5 – Tension adjustments    

Depending on your serger model, either you make an adjustment or use the tension switch and switch to the Rolled Hem (HR) mode. You have to consult the manual that came with your serger to find the ideal tension for your serger. Just like the differential feed, you will have to use a scrap cloth to test the adjustment to ensure you get the desired result when doing the rolled hem.

If you follow the above steps, you are on the way to making your first rolled hem. It may take some effort to get the proper tension, but you will get it right in the end.  

Types of threads for a rolled hem

Thread combination is essential when making a rolled hem. Use the following combinations for the perfect rolled hem.

  • Right-hand needle thread – As a rule of thumb, it is advised that use a polyester thread known as polycotton on the needle when making a rolled hem. The reason is that the looper thread covers the polycotton thread very well. 
  • Upper looper thread – The upper looper thread is the main one that will show on the finished rolled hem. It is advised that a wooly nylon thread be used on the looper. When a fibrous, soft, and wooly nylon thread is used, it helps to fill out the gaps in-between stitches. This helps to create continuous beautiful seams that are not squeezed.  
  • Lower looper thread – While wooly nylon is suitable for the lower looper thread, you can also use the all-purpose polyester thread  

Tips for the perfect rolled hem

  • Do a stitch chain of approximately 5 centimeters and pull back the chain before making a rolled hem on the fabric. Repeat this step at the end of the row stitches. This ensures that the stitches’ beginning and end have uniform tension.  
  • If you are making a skirt or shirt hem, ensure that the rolled hem is stitched before the side seams are constructed.
  • If possible, try to do the stitching on the fabric’s bias.
  • When you are not sure of what to do, always check the instructional manual of the serger for guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions 

  1. Why is my rolled hem not working?

Answer: If your rolled hem is not working, try troubleshooting the serger. The stitch length is likely to be the problem if you see that the hem is tearing away from the fabric’s edge. It could be that the stitch length is too short, thereby causing perforation. So, try to increase the stitch length, and the perforation will stop.

  • Can all sergers do rolled hem? 

Answer: Most sergers can do two or three thread rolled hem. The two-thread sergers can handle delicate fabrics like organza and chiffon, while the three-thread versions can handle cotton.

  • Can I do a rolled hem on an overlocker? 

Answer: Yes, a rolled hem can be done on an overlocker. Overlockers and sergers are different names for the same machine. 

  • Can I use a serger with one needle to do a rolled hem? Answer: Yes, a serger with one needle can make a rolled hem. 
  • Can I use the regular sewing machine to do a rolled hem? 

Answer: Yes, you can. Just use a unique presser foot to get it done. 


Tension adjustment is one of the biggest problems with making a rolled hem. Once you get the tension right, then you are good to go. Also, ensure that you use the proper thread.  

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