How to Finish Seams with your Serger/Overlocker

I’ve been asked how to do this by a few people so I thought it was about time I took a few pictures and made up a tutorial. Overlockers are great for seams, especially on knits, but if you don’t secure your threads, they can come undone.

There are a few different ways of doing this, one of which is to thread your chain through a needle and then work it through your stitches. That sounds too hard to me! I like the method below because the seams are finished as you are serging/overlocking so you don’t need to do anything later.

To Secure the Threads at the Start of a Serged/Overlocked Seam

Finishing Seams for Serging/Overlocking

To start with, you should have a bit of a chain coming from the machine. Put in your fabric and sew a few stitches. Stop, making sure the needles are down. (I have taken my presser foot off so you can see what I’m talking about.)

Finishing Seams for Serging/Overlocking

Raise the presser foot and gently tug on the thread chain to stretch it out. Pull the thread chain to the left, around the left side of the needles and under the presser foot.

Finishing Seams for Serging/Overlocking

Above is the same picture, but with the presser foot back on. Lower the presser foot and sew about 1 inch, while holding the thread chain forward. Then pull the thread chain over to the right so that the knife will chop it off. Keep stitching.

Finishing Seams for Serging/Overlocking

Above you can see what the secured threads look like at the start of your seam! They are nicely locked in and not going anywhere.

To Secure the Threads at the End of a Serged/Overlocked Seam

Finishing Seams for Serging/Overlocking

Serge to the end of your fabric and then go one stitch off the end of the seam.

Finishing Seams for Serging/Overlocking

Raise the needles and the presser foot. Gently pull the threads forward above the needles to loosen them a little.

Finishing Seams for Serging/Overlocking

Pull the fabric back. The slack you created by loosening the needle threads should let it come out.

Finishing Seams for Serging/Overlocking

Flip the fabric over so that the underside is now up. Bring it around to the front so it looks like you are at the start of the seam.

Finishing Seams for Serging/Overlocking

Put the fabric under the presser foot and stitch over your seam for about 1 inch. Make sure your fabric is just a tiny bit to the left so that your seam stitches don’t get cut by the knife.

Finishing Seams for Serging/Overlocking

After about 1 inch, stop and raise the needles. Loosen the threads again and pull your fabric out to the left.

Finishing Seams for Serging/Overlocking

Now that you’re off the fabric, stitch a chain to finish.

Finishing Seams for Serging/Overlocking

This is how it will look. Trim off the chain and you’re done!

It’s not so tricky once you know how to do it, is it? I don’t usually bother to secure the threads if I know that seam is going to get cut later by the knife when working another seam, but otherwise I do this on all my seams.

Online Sewing Class

You might also like...


  1. says

    Thank you! I just got a serger for Christmas, and I also don’t worry about ends that are going to get cut off later when attaching to another piece, but I’ve been zig zag stitching over the end of the rest of my seams. So much easier! Can’t wait to try this!

  2. Anonymous says

    So pleased I just found this, this explanation is so clear and well explained – thankyou! Can’t wait to try it now : )

  3. Lena says

    Thanks for the great tutorial. I have been trying to figure out for years what’s the best way to finish off the tails when I serged … this is a great tip!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *