During class #2 of the machine owners’ class we experience the use of several stitches that may not be as commonly used by most sewers. One of these stitches is the seam/overcast. The overcast stitches can be used to help limit the amount of fraying a piece of fabric is able to do, but a seam/overcast is a stitch that not only limits a fabric’s fraying, but also is used as a construction method. These stitches are often done using a presser foot that has a pin over which the thread stitches as it goes over the edge of the fabric for the overcast part of the stitch.
Since the thread is going over this pin it is not advisable to reverse the sewing to do any reinforcing stitching; you could damage the pin. If the seam/overcast is supposed to be a method of construction, how do you secure the beginning and ending of a seam if you cannot backstitch? This week I took time out of my sewing projects to do some charity sewing. I make walker bags for a local nursing and rehab facility. (They supply the fabric and I supply the labor!) I assemble these bags using the seam/overcast for woven fabrics (stitch #16 on my machine).
As I begin to sew a seam, I start out with a straight stitch in the far left needle position (stitch #1 on my machine).
I sew about ¼” and then reverse my stitching until I am back at the beginning of my seam, then I switch to the seam/overcast stitch and finish the rest of the seam. As I get to the end of my seam, I switch from the seam/overcast stitch back to the straight stitch in the left needle position. This allows me to finish the seam and backstitch without any thread being on the pin. My seams are very secure at the beginning and end while also being overcast to prevent fraying. By using the left needle position straight stitch, I am sewing in exactly the same place as the “seam” portion of the seam/overcast stitch. This allows the seam on the right side of the fabric to be smooth. The only one who knows two different stitches were used to create the seam is me….and now you!