Make Ribbed Bands for Sleeves with a Serger

Here is Craftsy sewing instructor, Angela Wolf, in a free video tip to show you how to create ribbed bands for sleeves using your serger. These ribbed bands add a great touch, and you’ll love how easy they are! Angela Wolf’s new online sewing class here at Cratsy is called Creative Serging: Beyond the Basics. And if you haven’t already, check out Angela’s other online sewing class Tailoring Ready to Wear.

Hi I’m Angel Wolf and I’m a sewing instructor on Craftsy. In this quick tip I’m going to show you how to ease in a ribbed band. So if this were my sleeve, this is kind of what this looks like, really fun. So the top of your sleeve is a little fuller than your ribbed band and you can make your own ribbing like I did here. Just a strip; just serge it on the inside. And then we’re going to add the sleeve. This is really easy to do and it’s all with a serger.

So first you take your ribbed band, make sure it’s folded in half nicely. If it’s like twisted or anything like that make sure it lays perfectly flat. And what I like to do is I’ll lay it flat, just like this, and I’m going to trim just to make sure that all the edges are even. Looks great!

OK now we need to mark the underarm, which is right here where both of these seams meet, the inside and the outside. And I’ll put a pin right there. And then I’m going to lay this flat on a surface and find the exact opposite end, which is right here and put another pin- just like that. And I’m going to do the same thing for the sleeve. Here we go, I have the sleeve right side out- both ends marked. So this is how you ease it. This is really easy just make sure you have a good stretch in your fabric, like that stretches a lot. If you don’t, like the top I’m wearing doesn’t stretch that much and that would be a lot more difficult. So pick a nice thin stretchy fabric. And what I’m going to do is line up this seam and the underarm seam, which is right here. Line that up so the pins match and then just take one pin out and pin it through all three layers. And now let’s go to the other side. We’ve got a lot to ease in here. So I’m just going to go to the other side and match up the pins again- just like that. Take one out and match it. So we have the outside of the sleeve and the under-sleeve matched.

So now all you have to do- I’ve put a couple pins here because I know I’m going to need them- is stretch as much as you can until everything lays evenly. You’re easing it yourself. There, just like that, so I’m just going to stick my finger right here where I have all three layers and put another pin. I’m pinning through the sleeve and through the ribbed again. And now do to the other side and do the same. Stretch, you can see all three layers here, and get my finger over there. If you can’t reach with your finger you can always use your teeth. I won’t do that here though but that is another quick way- just bite it. So there we go, we’re all even.

And now we’re going to go to the serger and run it through and I’ll show you how to make the stitch just perfectly. So here’s the serger. I’m using the left needle, not the right needle. The left needle makes it a little bit wider overlock, not the narrow, because you want to encapture all three layers and if you have the narrow then the fabric has the tendency to jam in there which is not fun. The settings for my serger here is just what the standard is for regular stitches. So whatever you’re machine is, just put it on the standard stitch, nothing special.

I just slide the fabric under. So here’s my knife; it’s going to trim off any extra edges. Make sure that you don’t run over the pins. Remember you have four pins in there; don’t run over them.  Serge a little bit. OK here’s the kicker I’m going to stretch this fabric to make sure that it’s even, all three layers. If I leave it like this then it’s going to have fabric crossed over each other. I want it to be nice and even. So I’m stretching very gently and then let the serger just push your fabric through until you get to the next pin. Now notice I just have my other fabric tucked underneath here. I always have a lot of people say, “Well, you know I could take this arm off by the way”… which your serger might do this, but that ribbing still can’t fit around that. So, if you don’t have that on your machine, don’t worry it doesn’t matter you just flip it upside down like this. Same thing for pant hems, anything like that. And I’m stretching all the way to the next pin to make sure that all of those  fabrics are even. Almost to that pin. Pulling it out before I get to the knife and one more time stretching again. And I’m not trimming much off the fabric I’m just making sure it’s even. And we’re onto the last batch and I did start stitching right below the underarm seam because it’s kind of inconspicuous where you end. And here we go. I cross back over where I serged before by about an inch or two and then just let that run off and trim it. And there you go- you’ve eased in your entire ribbing. I’ll give that a good steam press and that’s it. This is so great to do on a serger, because check this out- I can stretch this and I don’t break any of the stitches. For more great tips on serging join me on

In case you missed it, learn more about Angela, plus how to make a blind hem with a serger and how to pintuck with a serger. Come back to the Craftsy blog tomorrow for tips on sewing satin!

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