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Dear Jan,
I like to finish my hems with a double needle straight stitch, but on fabrics with any stretch, the hems "bubble" out of shape. How can I prevent this? -Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,
Hems that have a tendency to stretch can be stabilized in several ways. Since each fabric has its own characteristics, it is best to do a test before using any stabilizer on your actual garment. Try one these methods. #1) For sewing machines -- Wind your bobbin with wooly nylon and use the "F" foot included with Janome machines. The wooly nylon thread is stretchable and very strong; it will help eliminate puckers. The "F" foot will provide a tunnel for the double needle stitch to feed through. You may also get better results by decreasing the pressure on the foot with the Pressure Release Dial. #2) For sergers -- Use the 4 thread serger stitch to serge the raw edges of the hem, then turn up the hem and press with an iron. For many fabrics, this is enough to prevent stretching. If the hem is an "A" line, you will need to set the differential feed to a setting of 1.5 or more to ease in the excess fabric. For very stretchy fabric, iron on a 1/2" strip of a lightweight lining, such as knit fuse, before serging.