Wednesday 12 November 2014

How to Fake a Flatlock : Raglan sleeved dress

Hello, today I'm over on the Oliver + S blog showing how to use your overlocker to fake a flatlocked seam.

When I first bought my overlocker I was asking the salesman about "that stitch that you see on sportswear and swimwear that looks like overlocking on both sides". He told me that was a flatlock and required a special machine that was beyond the reach of the home sewist.

But he did mention there was a way to achieve it with a regular overlocker and I could try one day, when I'd got a handle on the basics. He then talked me down from buying the most expensive model, the one that did coverstitch as well, and I bought my basic overlocker, had a very good lesson in threading it and left the store.

That weekend I made a few pairs of pyjamas. I repeatedly pulled on the threads at the end of each seam which would result in one looper thread coming unhooked somewhere and I'd have to rethread everything. Annoying as that was I became very comfortable threading the overlocker, and yes, I am one of those people who rethread it with appropriate thread colour for every project.

My sewing machine was playing up recently and so it went off to the shop for a bit of maintenance, and that left just me and the overlocker, sitting there, looking at each other...
I figured this was the perfect time to work out that flatlock thing. I knew the Field Trip Raglan T would be the ideal pattern for it, and I knew how I wanted to get around not having a sewing machine for the hems. Back when A was a tiny baby and I was still buying some clothes for the kids I bought a great little dress by Katvig which had flatlocked raglan sleeves and a wide hem band at the bottom. I have wanted to make that dress for about two years now, ever since she outgrew the first one.
The first dress I made wasn't quite the right shape. I'd cut the sleeves a bit too long and the bell shape was exaggerated more than I'd intended. I love the buttercup yellow with fluoro orange stitching though, and you'll have to take my word for it that it looks really cute on.
Second one got a slight rejig of the A line shape, the sleeves were cut straight across, and the hem band didn't narrow quite as dramatically. As bad as my memory is, I think I've remade the original dress pretty well.

This is a great project if you want to get intimate with your overlocker! First up, with the flatlock settings and contrast thread you sew the shoulder seams. Then rethread with matching thread, change back to regular overlocking settings and sew the side seams, the neckband, sleeve cuffs and sew the hem band into a circle. Then back to the contrasting and flatlock settings to attach the bottom hem band.

The sewing was pretty easy. Getting modelled pictures turned out to be almost impossible. Here are the best of the ones taken just before being turned on and told off most ferociously.

briefly distracted...

about to turn and hightail it.

and now finding it hilarious to keep running away from the camera.
If you're curious to see how to fake a flatlock seam, go take a look at the Oliver + S blog. Hopefully I've made it look like a nice way to tinker with your machine.

Back here, the sewing machine has just come back from the service centre for the second time as I was convinced that it hadn't been oiled at all, and returned it for a second going over. Sadly, it still sounds completely dry and quite unhappy. When I had it serviced last year it came home smelling so strongly of oil, it purred so quietly and ran ever so smoothly. At a different service centre this year it is sounding like a bicycle chain that hasn't seen any lube for years. Not that I would know that sound, of course! ;)

I will take it back, again, and see if they can't strip it and oil it all properly. Meanwhile it'll be just me and the overlocker again....

I think P might need some summer pyjamas. Perhaps a flatlocked Raglan T with some Nature Walk shorts.

Have you tried this? If you have an overlocker, how do you get on? Is it mutual appreciation or complete intimidation?


  1. I haven't tried this, but I really *want* to. And I love your use of it here on the Field Trip raglan. Come to think of it, I did want to make a sweatshirt for Joey ...

    Hope you get your machine issues worked out! That sucks!!! I have not been happy with recent servicing of my machine. I took it apart and oiled it myself, with my husband's help, the last time, because I was so unhappy with the speed and quality of the last service I did. They charged $90, took TWO WEEKS, and didn't fix my problem. Not quite sure what I'll do if my machine actually breaks .;..

    1. You should try it Inder, it's quite fun. I think the service centre now think I'm a fussy cow, but the last Tim I had it serviced it came back sooooo smooth that I felt terribly guilty for having neglected it so badly. This time there's little or no difference. If it's not better after this third go then I'll cut my losses and go elsewhere. I'm sure it's no harder than stripping and cleaning a bicycle, must train the hubby up fir sewing machine mechanicals...

  2. Off to read your tips, now. I love the finish this gives!


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