This overedge foot tutorial is written by Linda from Sewing Bee Fabrics, online stockists of haberdashery, fabrics and sewing accessories.
Overlocking on your sewing machine
The overedge foot is also known as an overcast foot, or an overlocking foot. Essentially it allows thread to wrap around the edge of the fabric to prevent unraveling. It is a magical little sewing machine foot that can give you an edging similar to that of an overlocker with just about any sewing machine. You can buy an overlocking foot here.
Line your fabric edge up against the guide and select either an over-edge stitch or a wide zigzag stitch. On the Janome foot showed above the edge you line the fabric up to is the middle of the 3 bars. Always check that the needle won’t hit metal in the centre with the stitch you have selected.
Most sewing machines have at least a couple of stitches designed to sew over the edges of fabric. As a general rule, those stitches that move only forward are better for light-medium weight fabrics, whereas those that move back and forwards are better suited to medium – heavy weight fabrics. You might want to experiment to see what works best with your machine.
The overcast foot works by having a bar in the centre which wraps the thread around the edge of the fabric as you stitch, whilst preventing the fabric from curling. This protects the raw edge of the fabric to stop it from fraying or unravelling.
Sewing a rolled hem with an overedge foot
There are a few other ways you can use this foot too. You can make a rolled hem with a zigzag stitch finish by pressing the edge to curl up and over then feeding through the fabric to curl around the centre bar.
Press the fabric end to start it, and line it up around the centre then gently use a finger to push the fabric as you sew.
On extra stretchy knit fabrics you can get a neat edge by sewing your hem as normal but selecting an overcast stitch with a standard presser foot to do it. Trim the raw edge close to the stitching then line this new edge up with the overcast foot and sew over the hem stitching with the same overcast stitch.