Lettuce hems are a fun finishing treatment that you can easily make on garments using either sergers such as the Juki MO644D or standard Juki sewing machines. These flowing hems give a casual, relaxed look to soft knit fabrics, making it ideal for skirts, dresses, intimate wear, and other items that you want to have that wavy edge look.
Try one of these techniques whether or not you own a serger, as making cute lettuce hems is almost the same on any type of machine.
Choosing the Best Fabric for Lettuce Hems
As easy as they can be to make, not all fabric will make a good lettuce hem. To get the wavy lettuce-edge effect, you need to be working with lightweight knitsthat have a good deal of stretch. You need to also plan ahead so your hemstitching is done cross-grain to produce the best effect.
Although you could still use this technique on-grain or even with woven fabric to produce a thread-finished edge, the lettuce-like effect comes from stretching the fabric as you sew so it bunches up afterward.
Making Lettuce Hems With Standard Juki Sewing Machines
Because lettuce hems are a finish that involves thread wrapping around the edge of the fabric, it's essential that you begin with a straight raw edge. Get that straight edge and its frilly effect using regular Juki sewing machines in three easy steps:
- Fold and Press - Fold under a bit of fabric at the edge of the hem to the wrong side and press it flat. Fold at the desired length where you want the edge to be. Plan ahead when cutting out the pattern so you have an extra half-inch or so of fabric to work with.
- Stitch Edge - The way to get the best thread wrap along the edge is by setting your machine to the buttonhole setting. Adjust the setting based on how wide and long you want the stitch to be, then practice on a fabric scrap until it looks right. Then stitch along the pressed edge from the right side, stretching the fabric as you go. When you’re finished, it should bunch up into lettuce-like frills.
- Trim Excess Fabric - Once the stitching is complete, use a sharp pair of scissors to carefully cut away the extra edge fabric on the wrong side, trimming close to the stitching.
Making Lettuce Hems with Juki Sergers
- Trim Edge - You can either engage the knives to trim your edge as you go or you can measure and cut it beforehand. Decide which way you want to do that and set the machine accordingly. In either case, you don’t need to fold and press as you would when working with a standard machine. You may want to test the fabric first to see which result you like best once you get the machine set up.
- Set Machine - When using a serger on the fabric edge, you can choose a 2-threat or 3-thread rolled hem. The main difference is how dense the stitching will look. You’ll get more ruffle from a denser, 3-thread rolled hem stitch. You'll also need to adjust the differential feed, stitch length, and cutting length on your specific machine as instructed in the user manual to produce a rolled hem. Lastly, remove the right-hand needle and the stitch fingers when making a 3-thread hem.
- Stitch Hem - With the machine set right, all you need to do now is slowly stitch along the edge of the fabric and let the serger do the work. When finished stitching and released the stretched fabric, the end result should be a nicely ruffled rolled edge.
If you’re looking for a great way to finish off the hems on comfortable knit garments, try adding cute lettuce hems. You can make them using both Juki sewing machines or sergers like the Juki MO644D using the same, slightly modified technique. As simple as this edging may be, it’s a perfect way to make garments look finished and ready to wear!