How to Overcast Stitch for Pretty Inside Seams Without a Serger

When I was first learning how to sew I was more than just a little confused about finishing my raw edges. I was sewing exclusively with my sewing machine and when a pattern called for overlocking the edges I was at a loss. “But I don’t have an overlocker!” I proclaimed. And sewing with my zig zag stitch just didn’t give me the finish I was looking for.

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Enter the overcast stitch.

There are many different stitches you can use on your sewing machine to finish your raw edges, but the overcast stitch remains my favorite. It is essentially a zig-zag stitch with more structure. See stitch number 15 in the picture below:

The tips of the “pyramids” go all the way out to the edge of the fabric to enclose everything beautifully and the inner straight stitch gives your seams more strength.

How to Sew an Overcast Stitch

To sew an overcast stitch you’ll need to start by grabbing yourself an overcasting foot.

The overcast foot has two things that make it special. When you look at the picture below you’ll notice straight away that it has a straight-edged guide on the right side of the presser foot. This is where your fabric will run up against.

It also has a bar going right down the bottom-middle of the foot. This keeps your fabric stable as it sews the stitch overtop, keeping the edges from curling or tunneling as you go.

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Simply replace your universal presser foot for your overcasting foot, place the fabric underneath and up against the guide and let her rip!

There are few things more enjoyable than beautiful inside seams. And now you can have them too <3

Editor’s Note: Want to try out the overcast stitch? Put it to use on our Claiborne Ruffle Top!


6 thoughts on “How to Overcast Stitch for Pretty Inside Seams Without a Serger”

  1. Marilynn Bolduc

    I found what looked like an offer for a stiching chart. But I have not found it. Can you please send one to me? Im making a slip for my aunt. I want to know what stiches I should choose for light weight knit slippery fabric and how to sew it. Thank you. sincerity, Marilynn Bolduc

  2. I’m a little confused regarding this stitch or at least the way it’s described. I’ve been using my overcast stitch for many years. It’s my favorite stitch. Mine looks a little different than yours and it also doubles as a stretch stitch for my knits. However I don’t sew on the edge, I sew on the required seam allowance (SA) and then cut off the excess SA next to my stitching with a rotary cutter so it acts as a serged seam.

    Because you don’t mention SA, this is where I’m confused. Are you using this stitch along the edge AFTER you’ve already sewn at your SA so you’re just finishing off your edges?

    I hope this makes sense lol. And thank you for all the wonderful information you pass along. You’re very helpful.


    1. Yes, that’s exactly right Leslie! You would sew the stitch with a regular stitch then use the overcast stitch to finish the edges. My overcast stitch foot has a hard edge to it so I wouldn’t be able to use mine as you use yours :/ Makes total sense to me though! Similar to the zig-zag stitch and trim method

  3. sharirogers.avon

    I have a foot for my machine that’s a side cutter. I just set my machine to an overlock stitch, and it sews and cuts away the excess fabric all in one step! Look on your manufacturer’s website for feet that go with your model, and see where you can buy them either locally or online. I hope this helps people!

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