Sometimes, you just want to finish an edge really really fast – you don’t care if it looks pretty up close. (Like, say, you’re working on a show where everyone seems to wear a veil that the audience can see through, but the characters mysteriously cannot… Not that that ever happens.) The zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine is the poor man’s serger…
Pro: Really Fast
Yes, I said perfect. I’ve made a lot of turned hems over the years. The official Right Way To Do It(tm) involves ironing. While that’s a great habit in sewing, it takes time and it’s a little risky when you have two cats in the room. I forget where I stumbled upon this technique, but it works like a charm even for those of us who suffer from advanced iron-itis.
“Stay Stitch inside the seam allowance” is a fairly common instruction in patterns. Generally, stay stitching is used to make certain that the fabric of a garment will not stretch out during the sewing process. It’s also a dandy cheater hem, which will fray (but only so far – it’s a controlled fray). Sometimes, that’s exactly the look you want.