Fake Flatlock

Without a machine that actually HAS a flatlock stitch, you can still create your own with this tip!

Ever try and get a consistent flat-lock stitch with your serger? Do you have a model of serger that does not allow you to remove the blades? Or one that can only go down to three threads? Do you absolutely HATE messing around with the tension dials?

If this is you, then try this method for a "cheater" version of the flatlock stitch.

Flatlocking is serging two layers of fabric together, then pulling them apart until the seam lies flat. It takes experimentation to get the tension just right. Too loose a tension and the seam pulls away, too tight and you can't get it to lay flat.

This is my version of flatlocking. It's not the same but it works for me.

  • Method 1 is used in areas where there is a seam.
  • Method 2 is for surface decoration.

Just as in normal flatlocking, fabrics that work best are knits, sweatshirting or polar fleece. These fabrics have a more stable edge. Woven fabrics can be "fake" flatlocked successfully if you shorten the stitch length so your serging is denser. Try using a decorative thread in the upper looper for a well-filled stitch.


Method 1
Serge the edges of the seams to be joined, trimming off the seam allowance.
Place the two serged edges together, then using a zig-zag stitch, sew the two sides together.
Occasionally I will use a three step zig-zag, this creates a sturdier seam, but flattens the serging more.
Your fake flatlocked seam will be considerably wider than normal flatlocking, but I think the trade off is worth the ease of completion.
You can use a decorative thread (rayon, variegated, etc.) to zig-zag the seam for added texture.
Method 2
For surface fake flatlocking you will need to allow for the amount "taken up" by the serged edge.
I usually create the fabric first, then cut out the garment.
Very heavy fabrics (like polar fleece) will be extremely lumpy done this way, but you may just use that as a design consideration.
Serge a folded edge of your fabric, being careful not to cut through the fold.

Press the serged edge so the upper loops are on top.

Straight stitch close to the loose edge to attach to the fabric. You are in essence making "pin tucks" and stitching them down.

Obviously, you will not have the tiny"ladders" formed by normal flatlocking,
but I always find I use the "looped" side anyway, so these methods make a project fast and painless.