I really love making and wearing surplice neckline tops and dresses. To prevent the neckline from gaping I usually serge a plain lingerie elastic to the wrong side. Once turned in the neckline can then be topstitched or, as I often prefer for a dressier finish, blindstitched by machine. This is by no means a couture – or even fine – finish but it is very nice on sportswear.
First, the machine. This is a true blindstitch machine with a curved needle. Mine is a portable TacSew T-500 that is not as expensive as you might think. I use mine quite a lot. It’s great even if all you do is hem with it!
Here’s a link to the T-500 on All Brands. $399 is a great price for this machine! I see it locally for $600-800.
STEP 1: Put the lingerie elastic through the serger for a couple of stitches to secure it.
STEP 2: Insert your neckline edge and serge the elastic on.
STEP 3: Turn the elastic in and machine baste into position on your conventional machine. This may seem like an unnecessary step but it takes so little time and ensures that the elastic doesn’t twist or slide around during blindstitching.
STEP 4: Blindstitch just catching the edge of the elastic with your needle.
Now you can remove the basting stitches. I use a really loose top tension to make it very easy to take out.
The finished product! I used contrasting thread here but had I used matching thread and a white elastic the finish would be virtually invisible. The busier the print, the less noticeable the tiny stitches will be. Also, a blindstitch has plenty of stretch to it making it perfect for hemming knits as well as wovens. It’s great if you are making a top or dress out of a fine knit such as wool jersey or cashmere where you don’t want to use a coverstitch or twin needle.
Here’s how it looks on a real garment:
You can read more about the dress HERE on my personal blog.
Now, I have not tried this technique using the stretch blindhem stitch on my conventional sewing machine. I imagine it would work okay as long as you get the settings just right. I would experiment on scraps first. Better yet, treat yourself to a true blindstitch machine!