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Thread: Any serger experts here?

  1. #1
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Any serger experts here?

    I spent an hour yesterday re-threading my 15-year-old 4-thread Bernina serger after a thread broke on it (reminder to self; use a thread net on polyester cones). I have used this serger only occasionally over the years. After yesterday, though, I realize that my desire for an air-threading serger has become fully justified. I no longer have the eyesight, fine motor coordination, and patience to thread this serger! I did it yesterday, but I was not happy.

    It won't happen immediately, but I am beginning to think I will need to buy a new serger sooner rather than later. I am looking online at the Babylocks, of course. Most of the serging I will be doing in the future will be children's clothing (assuming I someday have a grandchild or two) and possibly doll clothes. I can't imagine using it for draperies or curtains (I am not very good at handling a lot of fabric at a time, except for quilts ) or for my own clothing (unless we move to Hawaii and I need lots of muu-muus) as I have little talent for adult fashion.

    I have a couple of questions.

    (1) I really want to have the ability to do a cover stitch, something that my current machine cannot do. Is it better to buy another 4-thread serger and a separate cover stitch machine? Both would need to be air-threading, so I assume this would be pricey. Or it is better to buy a single machine that will do both basic overlocking and cover stitch. If the latter, which serger that is air-threading would do both? If the former, I assume the best combo would be the Imagine and the Cover Stitch.

    (2) Of course I had to run across the Babylock Evolution and Ovation machines while I was looking. Wondering if these would be too much machine for me. Seems like it would be lovely to have all the decorative options; however, I have lots of decorative stitches on my Bernina 1230 sewing machine that I never use. It is the reliable basics that I use 99% of the time (straight stitch, zigzag, blind hem, stitch length and width, needle positions).

    What has been your experience with the more up-market sergers?

  2. #2
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    It might be good to go somewhere and check these out "in-person"

    Also - try to look at the manuals and see what is involved in getting from one type of sewing to another.

    Does the air-threading include the needle threads? or some kind of needle threader?

    Will you need to change the needles to achieve different results?

    Will you have to rethread the whole machine to get different results?

    If so, how will you do that?

    I have a 5-thread Singer 14T968DC which is "easy" to thread compared to my other machines - AFTER i finally understood the threading diagrams. I got stuck on an "easy" part because I did not "get" the illustration.

    However, to go from a two-stitch chain stitch to a five-thread cover lock requires rethreading - on that machine, anyway. Don't know about the others.

    Might want to check that out. Maybe you just push buttons now to change ?????

    Also - check to see what they have for training/help/manuals with any particular machine.

    You might consider keeping the Bernina for one purpose - if it does a great rolled hem, for example - leave it set up for that. USUALLY one can change the threads by tying the new thread on and pulling it through - until you get to the needle(s).

    Then set up the new one(s) with a whatever you like and leave them that way. Then you can just sit down and do whatever.

    I can do the actual rethreading of the Singer in about five minutes now - that does not include the look-up time for the how-to - because I haven't used it enough to remember the how-to yet.

  3. #3
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    I have one made by Viking( older model)....took me hours and tears to try re threading...finally bundled and drove to Joann fab....took her all five minutes! That was the last time I used it! IF I ever buy another. It will thread itself!!!

  4. #4
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    Serging

    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    I spent an hour yesterday re-threading my 15-year-old 4-thread Bernina serger after a thread broke on it (reminder to self; use a thread net on polyester cones). I have used this serger only occasionally over the years. After yesterday, though, I realize that my desire for an air-threading serger has become fully justified. I no longer have the eyesight, fine motor coordination, and patience to thread this serger! I did it yesterday, but I was not happy.

    It won't happen immediately, but I am beginning to think I will need to buy a new serger sooner rather than later. I am looking online at the Babylocks, of course. Most of the serging I will be doing in the future will be children's clothing (assuming I someday have a grandchild or two) and possibly doll clothes. I can't imagine using it for draperies or curtains (I am not very good at handling a lot of fabric at a time, except for quilts ) or for my own clothing (unless we move to Hawaii and I need lots of muu-muus) as I have little talent for adult fashion.

    I have a couple of questions.

    (1) I really want to have the ability to do a cover stitch, something that my current machine cannot do. Is it better to buy another 4-thread serger and a separate cover stitch machine? Both would need to be air-threading, so I assume this would be pricey. Or it is better to buy a single machine that will do both basic overlocking and cover stitch. If the latter, which serger that is air-threading would do both? If the former, I assume the best combo would be the Imagine and the Cover Stitch.

    (2) Of course I had to run across the Babylock Evolution and Ovation machines while I was looking. Wondering if these would be too much machine for me. Seems like it would be lovely to have all the decorative options; however, I have lots of decorative stitches on my Bernina 1230 sewing machine that I never use. It is the reliable basics that I use 99% of the time (straight stitch, zigzag, blind hem, stitch length and width, needle positions).

    What has been your experience with the more up-market sergers?
    A Bernina technician told me that it is better to have two separate machines. Having only one requires too much threading and changing of feet. I thought when I bought my Bernina serger that did a cover stitch that it would be the answer for a do it all machine but it wasn't.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by squeaky44 View Post
    A Bernina technician told me that it is better to have two separate machines. Having only one requires too much threading and changing of feet. I thought when I bought my Bernina serger that did a cover stitch that it would be the answer for a do it all machine but it wasn't.

    Easier said than done! Carry that idea to a sewing machine...more than one so don't have to adjust/change feet...oh, wait...I do! Good selling point!

  6. #6
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    I have the Ovation, the latest and I love it. It does it all. It has 8 spool capabilities. It does not due the needle threading because with that many needles its impossible. Some of the older ones have the air and needle threader. I'd check Babylock's web site to see what each have. Mine is easy to thread including the needles because it has a little thing you can thread it with. It is easy to change from over lock to chain and you don't always have to change feet, it depends on what you do. Changing feet is easy, you just push a button to release old foot and put new one on, it takes like two seconds. I got a yr free of serger club and love it. I've done decorative stitches, made a heirloom night gown, a couple of different quilts, including a quilt as you go, a purse, lace, shadow stitching, and a couple of jackets and a gore skirt. I also have made a log cabin blanket with fleece, the serger keeps it from stretching. You can also quilt with it and you never run out of bobbin thread because there is none.

    This being said, the newer sergers are easier to thread even without air. A month before I bought my Ovation I bought a Viking, 2nd to the top of line for them. Its easy to use and does it all. I only bought the Ovation because I love some of the features it has that none others have and I knew I could get my money back on my Viking. It was a store display model and the store wanted to get rid of it because the didn't have good luck selling sergers because they do mostly quilts. I knew it would be easy to get my 500 back considering it cost over 1300 and never been registered so it has a warranty. I just have to take time to list it. Try things out and see what you have in your area. In our area our sewing and vac sells Brother and Babylock and has great classes. Good luck
    Judy

  7. #7
    dms
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    I too am looking at new sergers. I found that the new Juki has the air threading for the loopers and it also has self threading needle threaders. You just push the threader to one side or the other. I think it is a contender cause I don't want the eight cone models as they seem too complicated to me. I just have to convince myself it is a justifiable expense. Happy serging!

  8. #8
    Senior Member kellen46's Avatar
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    I have a Babylock Serger, I love the air threading and it also does a cover stitch. I just love it, I have had it for a few years, it is an Evolve. Go ahead and treat yourself to a Babylock...you deserve it.
    PS I traded a newish Bernina serger for the Babylock..it was one of the better sewing upgrades I have ever done.
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  9. #9
    Junior Member linynp's Avatar
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    I have the evolution and love it. I thought I didn't need a coverstitch machine as it has it but it interrupted my flow and ended up getting a standalone one too. I do use the decorative stitches on it. If you won't then get the imagine or enlighten with standalone coverstitch. BL lost their jet air patent so juki is making them now but you have to do the tension (BL is automatic) - something to consider. Juki is a great serger and might be less expensive.
    From the heart
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  10. #10
    Senior Member ShirlR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kellen46 View Post
    I have a Babylock Serger, I love the air threading and it also does a cover stitch. I just love it, I have had it for a few years, it is an Evolve. Go ahead and treat yourself to a Babylock...you deserve it.
    PS I traded a newish Bernina serger for the Babylock..it was one of the better sewing upgrades I have ever done.
    When I did my research for a serger I had 2 criteria: (1) It had to have ease of threading and (2) It had to have a cover stitch. I too bought a Babylock Evolve which met both criteria and uses 2 to 8 threads. In kellen46's post, she used the phrase, "treat yourself to a Babylock" which is truly the operative phrase. This machine is absolutely wonderful and I have been happy with it for years.
    Shirley
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  11. #11
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    I took a serger class a few months ago and the instructor had us remove the threads from the machine. We all were thinking we would never get them threaded again but...she had us start with the far right spool and begin there using our manuals for instruction. In a jiff all of the machines were threaded. She had us do that three times and now it is not a daunting task.

    I don't use my serger a whole lot so I won't be buying a new one anytime soon. We made baby quilts using the flat lock stitch on the sergers. I learned so much and had a good time as well.

    Forgot to say I have the five thread Singer 14T967DC.
    Last edited by SingerSewer; 06-09-2015 at 04:19 AM.
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    Happy Days!!! I am retired and have fabric and a sewing machine...what could be better than that?

  12. #12
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    It all depends on your budget. I have an Evolve Wave and then new Ovation.....love them both. Self threading is the way to go.

  13. #13
    Super Member Pam S's Avatar
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    I also have a BabyLock Evolve and have loved it for years. I upgraded to it specifically for the air threading, the self-adjusting tension and the cover stitch. It is not hard to switch from regular overlock to the cover stitch and I assume that the newer models are the same if not easier. I have used mine a lot through the years for everything from shortening sleeve hems (cover stitch!) to prom dresses to dance costumes to slipcovers and curtains. I would buy another Babylock in a minute if this one ever gives up the ghost but I don't foresee that happening.
    People will see your quilts long after you're gone - NOT your housework!

  14. #14
    Senior Member Pat M.'s Avatar
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    Why don't you get your manual out and learn how to change the threads? If it is a 4 thread machine, the sequence is #3 thread, #4 thread, #2 thread then #1. 3 and 4 are the lower loupers, and 2 & 1 are the needles. I use a dental floss guide to thread the lower area, it is a bit tricky, but easy when you use the floss guide. The guide looks like a giant plastic needle with a big eye. You can find them in the toothbrush area of your grocery store. My machine has a guide inside the machine so one can follow it. I have a Bernina 4-thread machine.

  15. #15
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat M. View Post
    Why don't you get your manual out and learn how to change the threads? If it is a 4 thread machine, the sequence is #3 thread, #4 thread, #2 thread then #1. 3 and 4 are the lower loupers, and 2 & 1 are the needles. I use a dental floss guide to thread the lower area, it is a bit tricky, but easy when you use the floss guide. The guide looks like a giant plastic needle with a big eye. You can find them in the toothbrush area of your grocery store. My machine has a guide inside the machine so one can follow it. I have a Bernina 4-thread machine.
    Somehow I don't think the manual will improve my eyesight.

  16. #16
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    One thing to consider with a serger is what your intended use is. If you are going to use it mainly for doll clothes and small children's clothes, you will want to consider the width of the foot. The foot on an eight thread machine may be too wide. I have an older Evolve eight thread and it is not that good on curves. I finally purchased a four thread Imagine and it does much better on curves and in smaller areas. "Test driving" different models at a dealer's will help you figure out which machine suits your needs the best.

  17. #17
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    Different sergers have different threading orders. Do it the way the manual suggests.

    Watching a youtube video is really helpful.

  18. #18
    Super Member notmorecraft's Avatar
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    I have an old baby lock serger, and I used a label maker and labeled the top against corresponding threads 1-4 to remind me to thread in correct sequence, as long as you follow sequence it's a two minute job to rethread. When I tied the threads on they always snapped or came undone at last minute and was more frustrating. Just ordered the Juki with air threading, waiting on it arriving should be in next day or two will let you know how it goes, reviews are great.

  19. #19
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    bhenson, I have the Ovation 8 thread and it does great with curves. Last yr they came out with a curved foot for the latest machines, even the Evolve should be able to use it. It's shorter than the normal foot for the serger so its easier to turn
    Judy

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