How To: Reverse Roll-and-Whip Seam Finish


Reverse roll-and-whip seam finish

When it comes to sewing heirlooms for Easter and other special springtime events, we want the very best – not only the highest quality materials, but truly exquisite construction details as well. This tutorial I have to share with you from Jeannie Baumeister of The Old Fashioned Baby will help you achieve just that. This unconventional roll-and-whip finishing technique was featured in issue #147 of Sew Beautiful and works great when trying to join edgings and entredeux to a fabric with a seam or with gathers.

Note from Jeannie: Start by using quality fabric and thread. I use DMC #50 fine cotton machine sewing thread. Use a fine needle size of 60 to 65 for batiste and similar weight fabrics. Choose a presser foot you are most comfortable using. This is a matter of personal preference and can vary with different sewing machines. I use the all-purpose presser foot for the roll and whip, but others prefer a foot with a center guide blade. The idea is to choose a foot that will give you the most control and precision. Do not starch the fabric or the trim. A stiff fabric will not roll as easily as unstarched.


Traditional “Entredeux To Fabric” Technique
The most common method for attaching and finishing entredeux to fabric is to stitch in the ditch of the entredeux (used in both methods), then trim the seam allowance (both layers) to 3/16 inch. The seam allowance is then zigzag stitched (L=1.2 -1.5; W= 3.5 – 4.0) with the Swiss edging side facing up. The needle will stitch right next to the entredeux on the left swing and off the fabric on the right swing. Both fabric layers will roll up over the entredeux seam allowance toward the entredeux, resulting in a neat and pretty rolled edge as shown (Photo 1). This method usually causes no problems for a flat seam, but when crossing French seams and stitching along a gathered seam, all of these layers can add up to a thick, cord-like seam finish when completed.

Reverse Roll-and-Whip Method
This method is superior when joining edgings and entredeux to a fabric with a seam or with gathers. It ensures a smooth rolled seam allowance.


1. Align untrimmed entredeux and fabric raw edges with right sides together. Straight stitch right next to entredeux edge of Swiss edging with a stitch length of 2.0 (Photo 2). This is where a foot with a guide blade can help. Guide blade edge along entredeux edge and set needle position to follow directly in line with blade.


2. Trim “fabric” seam allowance to 1/8 inch and trim entredeux seam allowance to 3/16 inch. Place seam allowance under foot with fabric side facing up instead of entredeux. Use a zigzag stitch to roll and whip fabric edges (L= 1.2; W= 3.5 – 4.0). Left needle swing will stitch into straight stitch, and right swing will stitch off fabric. Entredeux seam allowance will roll over garment raw edge seam allowance, enclosing raw edge (Photo 3). If fabric were gathered, entredeux seam allowance would simply wrap gathered seam edge. Press rolled seam up and edging down.


3. Add a holding stitch. This extra step is optional, but it helps to keep a roll-and-whipped seam firmly in place through washing and wearing; otherwise it tends to flip downward. Use a lightweight cotton thread, such as Madeira #80, and this stitch virtually disappears into your fabric. Stitch a very tiny zigzag (L=1.5; W=1.0) on fabric right side so that left needle swing catches fabric and right needle swing stitches onto entredeux holes (Photo 4).

“Egg-cellent” Easter savings await you in our Martha Pullen Online Store this weekend – save 30% on fabric, notions and more with coupon code EGG30. Shop now!

Our Heirloom I Online Licensing course begins April 30! This is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to teach sewing… as well as anyone who just wants to learn about heirloom sewing and make beautiful projects. Click here to learn more and sign up.

Take a look at the gorgeous new Internet Embroidery Club designs we released this week. These six designs will look so great on table linens and other spring projects!

We pray for the men and women serving our nation in harm’s way, and we pray for all of you. May you all have a blessed weekend as we celebrate Easter. He is risen!

Much Love to You All & May God Bless,
Kathy McMakin