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Thread: Advice Concerning a Serger

  1. #1
    Super Member CraftsByRobin's Avatar
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    Advice Concerning a Serger

    I'm wanting and will be getting a serger in the future. I'm starting my research now, as I wanting to eventually make simple clothing items for myself. Also I understand you can use them to a small extent with quilting. I'm self taught to some extent on quilting - and looking for classes to teach me to read patterns for clothing. I want to make myself casual jackets and vests.

    Sorry I digress. My questions would be:

    Do you own a serger? If so what kind of serger do you own? What do you use it for? Do you have quilting uses for a serger?

    Any and all advice and/or tips would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks in advance ...

    ~R~
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  2. #2
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    Yes, I own a serger, a Baby Lok(1982), it's an antique now. LOL But it's got probably a million miles on it, but since I started quilting, I've only used it occasionally and not for quilting, but I have read of quilters using them for quilting.

  3. #3
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I have a brother 1034d which I like. Use the search function above for some earlier threads. Many recommend the air threading one but it is quite spendy. I can thread mine. There are videos on line and it comes with good instructions. Also decide if you want an overlock function. I don't use mine for quilting although there are tutorials and you tube videos on line showing how to do this. Good luck on your search!
    Alyce

  4. #4
    Super Member Pam S's Avatar
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    I have a Babylock Evolve (about 10 years old now) with the air jet threading and self-adjusting tension. My first serger had neither of these and, believe me, if you will use your serger a lot it is certainly worth the $$. Unlike my first one, thread never breaks and tension is never a problem. I used to use mine to sew children's clothes when my girls were little, have made slip covers and curtains with it, use it for hemming (have a vertically challenged DD) particularly when the garment is knit or a slippery fabric. Guess you can tell I love my serger. I have made a couple of charity quilts on the serger - just simple 6.5" squares. Went very fast but it makes the seams rather bulky. I wouldn't want to use it for anything but a "dragger quilt" for a child where utility was more important than precision.

  5. #5
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    One piece of advice I would give, no matter the make or model, write down the factory setting of each knob before you ever touch it, that way if you get it out of wack, you can always refer to those settings to get it back to default setting. I marked mine on a piece of painters tape and taped it to the machine so as not to loose it.

  6. #6
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    Mine is probably 25 years old. I use it to serge the edges of receiving blankets and to finish edges of seams when I'm sewing clothing. I don't sew a lot of clothes anymore but am teaching my granddaughter to use it for her projects. I've never tried to use it for piecing a quilt. It would have to be pretty basic piecing I would think.

  7. #7
    Super Member alleyoop1's Avatar
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    I have a Bernina serger which I've had for two years. I have made a ton of pillowcases for cancer kids with it. I have not quilted with it but my Bernina dealer does offer a class on piecing a quilt on a serger. Have worked on one blouse with it too. I'm not much into sewing clothing like I was when my kids were young. I love my serger and wonder what I did without it for so many years.
    My advice is to get a serger that is the best you can afford from a dealer who is close to you so you can take guide classes and have a support team and for service calls.

  8. #8
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    I have a baby lock evolve. It is so simple to use with air threading and automatic tension, that I sew with it more than my other machines and I have lots of extra feet for it. I have made quilts on it. Nancy Zieman has a lovely one and Kaye Wood has a quick one you could try.

  9. #9
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    I own a Babylock Evolve serger and love it. I was lucky enough to win it a couple of years back. Love the auto threading feature.
    Carmen E.

  10. #10
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    I have a mechanical Elna 634 bought some time ago. I love it. It is perfect for what I want to do and didn't cost an arm and a leg! I have used it for napkins, placemats, edge finishing on trims for bags and to construct simple summer garments (capris and skirts). Oh, and pillowcases, too! The threading is color-coded and very easy. I have used it in a class for simple patchwork piecing, but I wasn't happy with my results, so I use the regular sewing machine for that. If I were shopping for a serger, I would consider what I wanted to use it for and try out many different types at the dealer. I might also bring my own fabrics to try them out. JMHO. Good Luck on your hunt and have fun!

  11. #11
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    I have had a Babylock Imagine for a few years. I now use it mostly for quilting purposes such as flat locking batting pieces together, serging around the quilt before adding the binding, piecing a quilt backing, stay stitching a quilt top before loading it on the frame, and so on. Love it!

  12. #12
    Senior Member gmcsewer's Avatar
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    I own a 4 thread Singer probably about 25 years old. I like it mostly for sewing knit fabrics. I also sew dresses for young girls for a charity and I use it to finish the seams nicely. Mine does not thread itself so I tie the new thread onto the old thread and pull it through by hand so as not to have to thread the loopers again. It can be a real pain. Another tip. If you have to thread it completely, start at the bottom and go up. This puts the loopers in position to work without tieing each other up.

  13. #13
    Super Member just_the_scraps_m'am's Avatar
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    owning a serger is great if you use it enough and get your money' worth out of it! I have a 4 thread Pfaff and it has sat in the bottom of my closet for...over 15 years! I used it to seam a favorite quilt & that was about it. life just kinda got in the way! It has differential feed [that you can change settings on] for different fabric thicknesses. You can use it for shirring. It also has extra feet to apply beads, sequins, lace, tape, cording, & elastic. It has double needles if needed & the best thing is it blindstitches! The best features is the fact that you can drop the blade down! and it sews 1300 stitches/minute
    I would say check around & test drive them all -- see what feels right with you. they are real work horses & save loads of time!
    Last edited by just_the_scraps_m'am; 09-03-2014 at 06:05 AM.
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  14. #14
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    I own a Viking 910 serger--didn't feel I needed the cover stitch--have used it for making clothes and edging around fleece & flannel baby blankets--have made quite a few pairs of fleece socks with the ladder stitch, haven't used any of the various accessory feet. I used it to make Kay Wood's 6-hr quilt. Wouldn't be without it. Mine has the windows that tell you how to set the machine up--I had a Riccar years ago and hated always testing the stitches--even when I wrote them down they would be different for different types of fabric, thread, etc.

  15. #15
    Super Member Caswews's Avatar
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    My serger is about 25 years old ... I use it just for knits, did I mention it was Pink & I bought it when Cloth World went out of business .. LOL

    If I had to buy a new one ? Baby lock or Brother sergers .. Juki does have a nice serger as well, make sure whatever you buy in your serger-it has auto thread !
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  16. #16
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    I have an Elna about 25 yrs old too. I have 5 men around here and I use it to him pants and Mothers dresses for years. also trim around quilts before I bind them. Not long ago, I bought a long tail blouse and I just ran around the bottom and cut off some inches of it. It looks okay to wear just like it is.

  17. #17
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    I have a Babylock Evolve Wave 8 thread. It has the auto threading, auto tension, and cover stitch. They don't make this one anymore...however, Babylock has several like it with more "stuff ". I loved mine so much, I purchased another one used on ebay....glad I did, now I keep one at home, one at the cabin. I am always finding something to use my sergers for....or should I say, my DH does. Covers for his tractor, seat cushions, curtains, bed spread, and mending ready made clothes...Visit a dealer and ask to see all of the Babylocks and the different features. I have never had any problems with my sergers. Make sure they include some of the extra feet too. They are pricey individually. They even come with a zipper foot now too. Lots of bells and whistles...Just make a list of the features you want and then shop. BTW the cover stitch is the one that you see on most all knit clothes...looks like a double needle topstitch on the front and a covered edge on the back. Really handy for a lot of clothing patterns. You can't go wrong with a Babylock with the auto threading...

  18. #18
    Super Member IrishgalfromNJ's Avatar
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    I bought a Juki serger from Allbrands.com about two years ago. I bought a cheaper model because I wasn't sure how much I would actually use one and I didn't have a lot of money to spend. I have used it to do rolled hems on material for scarves and I love playing with it when I have the time. It sews really fast, which is fun. I'm really glad I have it but if I ever have the money I would like to get a serger that does a cover stitch.
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  19. #19
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    Baby Lock Imagine, love, love, love it!!!

  20. #20
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    I have 3 but not sure the oldest works anymore. It's a Singer and its been too many yrs since I used it to say much. Back when I bought it, there were no classes and Piece Goods had to oder them if you wanted one. I only did clothes on it. This past yr I bought a Viking Huskylock 21, they only have one newer than this one. It has self adjusting tension, which I love. I have that on my emb machine and have never had to adjust it. Its easy to thread, even though not air threading, which you pay dearly for.

    I got such a great price because since the store mainly did quilting they didn't have a reason to have the serger which was set up for demo's. They just got a new store and limited room. I only paid around 400 for it so I'm passing that onto the next buyer because I don't need to make a profit. This machine new sells for over 1000. Its never been registered so the warranty should go with the machine. I figured that will the price and the great machine and the warranty I could sell it easy which is why went a head and bought a different one after attending a two day serger event. I had no plans on buying a new one when I signed up, just wanted some additional traing for my Viking. Dumb thinking.

    That is the Brother Ovation, it has it all. I use it for the normal clothes, I just made a table runner, all on the serger including decorative stitching and tassels. I take classes and both teachers do almost if not all of each project on the serger since that is what they are teaching. Nancy Z has a book and there are lots of tutorials on making quilts with sergers so yes it can be done. The best thing about serging a quilt, you never have to fill a bobbin.

    I love both machines and if you Google them you'll see they both have great reviews. Since I don't travel or have a second home somewhere I'm going to sell my Viking for what I paid for it. I can't justify having two especially when I only have space for one and I paid alot more for the Brother and it does somethings like the wave stitch that I love. If you aren't sure you'll like a serger then I wouldn't spend a super lot on one but do recommend getting the most for what you can afford. I would also check around for classes. Here we have Viking and Brother sellers and our Brother dealer offers classes different times a week that fit into my schedule. Another reason to keep my Brother.
    Judy

  21. #21
    Super Member calla's Avatar
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    I do have a 5 thread serger, that I am terrified of! I have taken class, class and class............either it is possessed or I am. How does an appliance know what way I thread it I ask? And move the needles also adjust the tensions........my friend can look at the stitch and know which thread to adjust the tension on. I don't have the vision to recognize a poor stitch, one must be flexible and I guess I am not. And I am so disappointed because I really wanted to learn the rolled hem...............I guess never ending owners classes is what I need. Calla

    Oh mine is a Husky
    Last edited by calla; 09-07-2014 at 07:15 AM.

  22. #22
    Super Member KalamaQuilts's Avatar
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    Just sayin', not arguing, My 10 year old sewing machine will do all the things listed here...I'm not crazy about the overlock stitch, but I don't wear my clothes wrong side out so it doesn't matter that the seams don't look precisely like store bought clothes

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarleneC View Post
    I own a Viking 910 serger--didn't feel I needed the cover stitch--have used it for making clothes and edging around fleece & flannel baby blankets--have made quite a few pairs of fleece socks with the ladder stitch, haven't used any of the various accessory feet. I used it to make Kay Wood's 6-hr quilt. Wouldn't be without it. Mine has the windows that tell you how to set the machine up--I had a Riccar years ago and hated always testing the stitches--even when I wrote them down they would be different for different types of fabric, thread, etc.
    Slightly off subject, but I too am trying to make fleece socks with my serger, a Baby Lock, BL4-728D but I can't find my manual and have forgotten how to drive the thing. Does anyone have any suggestions how to find a free manual online or? I've checked on the Baby Lock website and they don't show it anymore, probably because it's pretty old I think. Not sure how old. Any suggestions would be helpful and thanks for your ideas.

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