Fiber Folio – How to Make Serger Braid

There are many beautiful cords and braids on the market, but sometimes I just like making my own. Creating serger braid is easy once you find the correct settings for your particular machine.
Here are the settings that I use on my serger:

Needle – right position – Tension 6
Stitch length – 1.5
Upper looper – 5
Lower looper – 7
Roll hem
Differential – N

You can use any decorative threads that will fit through the holes in your loopers. I used Crown Rayon in the loopers and a #40 embroidery thread in the needle for the braids pictured.

Once you test your settings and find them satisfactory, simply serge on air, holding the tail taut in one hand as the cord flows towards the back. Try to keep a steady speed so that your braid is consistent.

It’s fun to mix colors and experiment with various threads and fibers. However, expect a few problems along the way. Below is the amount of thread I used this morning before getting my machine to behave, and I can tell you I wasn’t a happy camper.

But then I looked at the mass of rayon and thought it would make a beautiful sandwiched thread scarf, so you’ll probably see it again soon in another life form.

So what do you do with yards and yards of braid? Couch it, of course!

Many of us have wonderful sewing machines with hundreds of decorative stitches that we seldom use. These stitches take on a totally different look when used to couch decorative cords and braids. Again, experiment with various threads in the needle, such as variegated embroidery thread. Here are pictures of some samples I did today. Many of them would make nice frames for ATCs, don’t you think?

When couching braid, remember to stabilize well. Use an embroidery needle and loosen the top tension. I find it helpful to test stitches and threads, mark the stitch number on the sample, and file it in a reference notebook with pertinent details for future reference.


N. Rene West
Time Treasured


  1. Vicki said,

    May 5, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    Thanks for this post! I remember making braids with my serger when I first got one – years ago. Why do we forget the cool things that we do sometimes? I’ll get my serger back in gear making some braids thanks to you!

  2. valeria said,

    May 8, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Oh, these are just beautiful! Exactly the kind of pieces I love using in my work… Perhaps it’d be one more reason to try to get my hands on a serger – but perhaps I’ll need to admit that I can’t even master the sewing machine yet:)

  3. greenaprons said,

    February 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    just beautiful!

  4. Stacey Starr said,

    December 2, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Just bought a new serger. Love this idea of making braids to couch on my quilts! Thanks!

  5. Arlene said,

    February 4, 2015 at 5:28 am

    What a fantastic idea. I will definitely use this for my next project

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