Using Decorative Thread with a Serger

December 9, 2014 in Tips & Tricks

Serging is so fun, isn’t it?! I think it’s even more fun when you can use it for more than just finishing seams! I was at a Baby Lock event and was shown how to use a heavy decorative thread and a serger cover stitch to create my own decorative stitch and design on fabric! I learned on the beautiful Ovation, but you can thread decorative thread through the loopers of the Baby Lock Eclipse DX Imagine, Enlighten, and Evolution as well! The Ovation gives you lots of space to the right of the needle to play with the Cover Stitch/Decorative Stitch, but there are lots of fun things you can do with this technique on other machines, as well!

I’ve put this technique to great use with some awesome projects coming up for National Serger Month in April 2015!! If you want to test out this fun technique on your own, I’ll show you what thread you can use and how to actually get it to thread through your machine loopers! With lower weight threads, the Jet-Air Threading™ and the ExtraordinAir™ on these Baby Lock machines (mentioned above) sling thread through your machine so smoothly, it’s like magic! The heavier decorative stitches have a hard time being pushed through, which is why we use this technique to pull it through the looper tubes and once they’re threaded, they stitch out so beautifully!


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Decora 6 has such a pretty sheen!

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I used one of those little serger nets at the bottom of my spool to keep my thread from falling off too quickly. You can thread this thread through any of your loopers. In the picture below, my serger machine is set up for the Cover Stitch and my heavy Madeira decorative thread is threaded through my chain looper. I have also used it in my upper looper with a 3-thread Flatlock Stitch to finish off the edge of a blanket and it’s very pretty to trim the edges of a wedding veil!

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First, you’ll need to cut a piece of regular serger or sewing thread (nothing thick) about 50″. Double this piece of thread over so you’ll create a loop at one end and the 2 thread ends together at the other end.

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Set your loopers to “Threading” and turn your handwheel to close and lock the loopers. Take a hold of the 2 thread ends.

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Again, I was setting up my machine for a Cover Stitch (Side note: Actually, I used the Chain Stitch with the decorative thread, as well and it looked really pretty too), so I was taking my thread through the Cover/Chain Looper. But, if you’re setting up for a Flatlock or something else, you’ll go through the upper or lower looper depending on which side you want your decorative thread to show up on. Insert the 2 thread ends into your looper.

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Hold on to the thread loop at the other end. Then, press your ExtraordinAir™ or Jet-Air Threading™ button to run the thread ends through. You don’t want the thread loop to blow through the machine, but if you accidentally let it slip, just pull the thread through and try again! 🙂 Leave about an inch of loop above the looper tube.

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You want about an inch of thread above the looper tube…

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If you haven’t threaded your decorative thread through up until the point of your looper, go ahead and do sew (lol, I just typed “sew” instead of “so” without even thinking…so, I’m leaving it…we do love to replace so with sew, don’t we?)! 🙂 Next, pull about 20″ of slack in your decorative thread and insert about an inch into your thread loop that is above the looper.

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Find the 2 thread ends that were blown through your looper (on the other end of your looper).

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Gently, firmly, and snugly pull the decorative thread through the looper.

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Yay! It’s through! Remember I set mine up for the Cover Stitch; if you’re using the Upper or Lower loopers, your threads will pull through their respective loopers on your specific machine. If you’re doing the Cover Stitch also, you can just tuck that thread back in that lil box and you’re good to go after you thread your needles.

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Stitch out some practice pieces! Your settings will be for your selected stitch; you may have to play with stitch length. Make sure for the Cover Stitch that you always stitch into fabric with your first stitch because there’s no chaining off with the Cover. For the Cover and Chain stitches, you’ll draw your design on the back of your fabric and then, follow those lines and the pretty result is on the other side! It’s so fun!

When you finish a stitch, wind your hand wheel one full rotation towards you and then one full rotation backwards to unlock your stitch. Lift your foot and pull your fabric out. If you mess up on your actual project, the Chain and Cover are really simple to remove: on the top side of your fabric, pull up  your decorative thread and clip your regular threads. You might be able just to pull the decorative thread and it comes out.

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Here is where I did a Cover Stitch and then, removed a needle and did a Chain Stitch (remember I stitched on the backside) right next to each other. The project below will show up in a Baby Lock Project next April, so, keep an eye out for it! But, you could use this technique on so many things to add a little pizazz!

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Here’s an example of trimming tulle with a Flatlock Stitch (decorative thread runs through the upper looper).

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2 responses to Using Decorative Thread with a Serger

  1. Hi Stephanie! You shared this technique very well! I recently took a serger retreat to learn the basics of my new “Evolution”. I am also required to demo babylock sergers where I work. You made it simple to understand and fun. Now I can too! For the love of sewing, Karen

    • Hi Karen! I’m so glad it is helpful! Thank you so much for the sweet compliment; it means a lot! 🙂 Happy Serging!!

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