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Thread: Serger Recommendations?

  1. #1
    Senior Member AllyStitches's Avatar
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    Serger Recommendations?

    Hi Everyone,

    I haven't been around much. Been super busy and haven't been at my machine much. I did make a super cute skirt that came out great, just about 3 sizes too big! HA! I'm still learning how to size and even though I measured myself like 14 times and read, re-read and read the pattern sizing again, I still managed to flub it up. Even with a meticulous 5/8 seam. LOL. So I've got another one in the works now. I'm hoping that one will be just about right. I did order a dress form, which will help (YAY HUBBY-- I've been putting it off for years, but last week I noticed they were on sale.. I was hemming and hawing and he said I should get it as a weight loss reward since I hit my goal last week. How can you argue with that?! Love that guy!)

    Anyway. Ahem. Back on topic. I'm thinking about watching for a Serger to pop up this holiday season, maybe on sale or after Christmas when someone has found one under the tree and is selling an old model. It would be my Christmas present-- again, yay hubby, how lucky am I that he is so thoughtful. I've been wanting one for years, but the truth is that I don't know much about them. So I'm looking for insight as to what people like and dislike about their machines. One thing I know I want is the edge cutter-- I think that's just an accessory foot? Is that right? Why do some machines have more threads than others? I don't want to spend a fortune, but would like a good quality machine.

    Thanks for any insight!

    Best,
    Ally

  2. #2
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    I don't have one but my friend said self threading is the way to go. So many sergers sit in the corner because they are hard to thread.

  3. #3
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Try using the search function because we have discussed sergers a lot.

    I have a Brother 1043D which is about $200. It doesn't have air threading but, there are videos on line and it comes with a DVD and it doesn't need threading all that often and when it does it isn't as much trouble as the ones from "the olden days". I took a class and the first thing the instructor said was to totally unthread the machine. And then we learned and it was fine. But you really don't need a class.
    Alyce

  4. #4
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    I don't have a serger. My girlfriend does and has for years. She was talking about getting a newer one. Nothing really wrong with hers but she likes to update. She said she would let me have hers for about $50. Before she sells it to me though she said she didn't know how much time she would have to show me how to use it. She wanted me to check out the videos because she isn't good explaining things. That's just because she gets sidetracked. Me too. Not buying hers till she gets her new one since she's still using it. There are videos on YouTube. That is where I'm heading.

  5. #5
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    If I were to buy another serger, I would definitely look at the self-threading type (I am really slow at threading my old one, probably because my eyes are not as good as they used to be and neither is my fine motor coordination).

    I would also look for a serger that does a cover stitch. If you turn up the hem on a t-shirt, you will see what a cover stitch looks like -- two parallel lines on one side, a zigzag that covers the raw edge on the inside. That is really nice to have when serging knit garments. There are separate cover stitch only machines you can buy, and that can be better than having all stitches in one machine, but I am not familiar with costs these days. My old serger is a 4-thread, and I think you need a 5-thread in order to do cover stitch.

    You also want a serger that has differential feed. Maybe all of them have that nowadays. When I bought my old serger it was an optional feature. Differential feed helps a ***lot*** when sewing stretchy knits so you don't get a stretched seam.

    A serger lasts a very long time, very similar to a sewing machine, so it's actually a good idea to invest in a good quality one that will give you hours of pleasure (instead of hours of frustration!). You don't need a top-end serger, but be sure to avoid the low-end sergers.

    Edit: Regarding your skirt, the problem may have actually been with the pattern. As I recall, many sewing patterns are sized excessively big. I remember having a similar frustration with garment patterns -- with the garment coming out way too big for my measurements.
    Last edited by Prism99; 11-26-2014 at 11:25 AM.

  6. #6
    Super Member notmorecraft's Avatar
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    I have a Babylock One of the few Babylock on sale in the UK seems to be sergers, I have had it for at least 20 years but they still sell the same model, they are not difficult to thread, it just has to be done in a certain order. I put numbers under each spool and as long as you go in sequence its no problem. I would make sure you buy one with a differential feed as it makes a difference sewing stretch fabrics, and one that cuts as it sews is a must, happy sewing.

  7. #7
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    I bought a used Brother 1034d a fe years ago from Craigslist. I had it tuned up by my sewing machine guy. Then was fortunate to find a serger class at a not so LQS. I have probably $150 into the machine total. It is 4 thread with differential feed. I'm very happy I went the route I did. The tip we were given re threading is simply tie newvthread to old and pull it through....in order of course. And the other great tip is when you are doing a particular task, write down your various settings for each task. Eliminates all the fiddling if you don't use the machine much.

  8. #8
    Senior Member AllyStitches's Avatar
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    Thank you for all of your responses! I did do a search here but for some reason it didn't seem to be filtered. Not sure what happened there. Probably operator error.

    I'm going to read through your responses a few more times and then keep researching. I stopped by my local shop today and started thinking about things. My Babylock has an overlock stitch, and the whole reason this came up is because it's not working at the moment. For some reason the needle won't go into the right position for the foot. So, I could just have that fixed and keep using it the way I have been. It's not ideal, and the work doesn't come out as neatly as I would like, but it is functional.

    The other thought I had was maybe to upgrade to another machine since my Babylock seems to be on its last legs. I'd love a Pfaff or Viking.

    Or maybe I have too much time on my hands (I wish) and just need to get out of my head and keep sewing! LOL

    Thanks for all of your responses! I've missed being around on the board.

    Ally

  9. #9
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    When you do a search, try "advanced search" where you have the option to change the search from "search entire posts" to "search titles only". That cuts down greatly on the number of results and gives you a more focused search result.

  10. #10
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    The auto threading on the new machines is great, but I got my machine used. I did the YOUtube videos, but was still a little put off. So I took in different colored cones of thread to my sewing machine repair man and he was happy to do it for me at no charge (he also told me that I had a great machine, but that it was also one of the hardest to thread - lol). I have only had to have him thread it once, I change colors ALL of the time. I just make sure to tie my new color onto the end of the old color and pull the new one through. Good luck

  11. #11
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    I Have the Babylock Imagine and I love it. It is self threading and this saves a lot of time
    Carmen E.

  12. #12
    Senior Member NOELLA's Avatar
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    have 2 sergers and love them don't know what I did before I had them one for white rhread the other for colours,
    they are so simple to thread if you cut and tie a knot on the end of the thread you need to change close to the
    spool itself and pull through you can usually be succesful good luck !!.

  13. #13
    Senior Member NOELLA's Avatar
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    P.s. Happy thanksgiving to all on qb.

  14. #14
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    I have the Janome 1200D and love it. It's really easy to thread with the thread paths clearly marked. I had a husqvarna before this one and it was okay, but this one is so much more user friendly, I'm glad I upgraded.

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    There is so much good information and advice in this thread.

    I have two sergers. An oldish one, SingerMerrittlock 14u44, and a less oldish one, Huskylock 936. White and black thread respectively. (Those seem to be the most needed in my sewing room right now. Both of them stay set up in my sewing room.) Neither of them thread themselves. The edge cutter is an integral part of the machine. NOTE: If you buy an older machine, make sure you can get replacement blades for the machine's cutter. They do wear and it is very easy to serge over a pin, cutting it in half and ruining a blade.

    The manuals are very clear about how to thread the little darlings. It took a little time and effort to learn and sometimes, if I haven't used them for a while, relearn; but don't pass up a really fine serger becaused it challenged you to learn to thread it unless you are having vision difficulty.

    I bought the Singer at Sam's eons ago. It has lived through the rough and tumble of summer tours with large drum corps. 120 marching brass and drum players, color guard, and two or three sets of original flags. It went though being in the corps sewing room for the tours I couldn't join. It did alterations, from scratch costumes, repairs, and finally the refurbishing of the marching uniforms. The Husky has not been asked to do that sort of duty. It makes slipcovers for the rv, clothes, repairs towels, makes doll clothes, draperies, etc. It was substantially more expensive than the Singer and has a number of fascinating features and purrs along just like the Singer. The Singer sews with 3 or 4 threads. The Husky with 3, 4, or 5 threads. The Singer is not computerized; the Husky is. I can service the Singer. The Husky benefits from a very occasional trip to the Husky service/cleaning center. Both of them serge beautifully.

    Please let us know how your hunt turns out. Enjoy your serger. There are lots of books with suggestions and projects. And you can snag "how to" classes that will teach you new stuff and remind you about the things you have't used lately.

    Pat

  17. #17
    Senior Member Michellesews's Avatar
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    I would never have anything other than a Babylock with air threading. I've had a Bernina and a Pfaff and threading either one would make you lose your religion! The sergers that gave 4 threads are overlock sewing only. Five and more usually include the cover stitch which is LOVELY if you sew a lot of knit clothing...and I do. It puts a double row of stitching on the right side and serves the raw edge on the wrong side.

    My best advice since you know so little about sergers is to visit stores and do demos. When you decide make sure your purchase comes with free classes. Buying used is ok if you're experienced but in your case when something goes wrong or you get stuck, you want to be able to take it in and have things fixed/explained to you. There is a lot more to a serger than there is to a sewing machine. If you buy a serger you will not need, nor want, an edge cutter on your sewing machine. Best of luck in your decision...get the very best you can possibly afford and you will get 25+ years of use out of it.
    Michelle Guadarrama

  18. #18
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    The tieing a thread on method is grest - until a thread breaks.

    I especially ike to have a serger for finishing the seam edges. I also use it for overcasting the raw edges of fabric before I wash it. I use a long narrow finish.

  19. #19
    Super Member verna2197's Avatar
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    I am looking at getting the Brother 1034d just trying to find it on sale somewhere.
    I collect Seraphim Angels

  20. #20
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by verna2197 View Post
    I am looking at getting the Brother 1034d just trying to find it on sale somewhere.
    Try amazon. I got mine locally, but, it was a reconditioned one. No problems with it. haven't needed a dealer plus Amazon is great about returns
    Alyce

  21. #21
    Super Member callen's Avatar
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    I have one of the self threading sergers & I absolutely LOVE it. It's a Babylock & pretty pricey here in Canada but if you can afford it, I say "go for it". I cannot imagine myself without a serger & have had one for many years (of different makes, mostly Singers) but I love my Babylock self threader.
    Dance like no one is watching

  22. #22
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by celwood View Post
    I Have the Babylock Imagine and I love it. It is self threading and this saves a lot of time
    I have an 11 year old Baby lock evolve. Best machine that I have used after 3 other overlockers. As it is easy to thread, it is my most used machine and I get a professional result with it. It can do rolled hems, coverstitch and has a differential feed. Try one out as it is essentially two machines in one - hence the 8 reels of thread that it can accommodate.

  23. #23
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    Hands down, Babylock. I have several sergers....two are Babylocks self threading....love them. Go to a dealer and try them out. See if they have an Evolve or Evolve Wave....gently used, the price should be great since they have come out with at least three newer models over the years.

  24. #24
    Super Member pjnesler's Avatar
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    I'm glad to see this post - today a friend at work was talking about possibly getting one, but wasn't sure where to start when checking them out, I can give her this info and any more that gets posted to this thread. Thanks!

  25. #25
    Senior Member AllyStitches's Avatar
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    Thanks again for all of your responses! I keep reading and re-reading all of them.

    I've done a little bit of research and visited my local sewing store. Their machines were all out of my price range. I wish I could afford an air threader!

    But, I'm looking at the Janome 8002D. Anyone have experience with that machine? It seems like it would be a good place for me to start. It only has 4 threads but I think it will do what I need.

    Oh, and wanted to add... I made a new version of the giant skirt. I took it down 3 sizes and then took it in over an inch at the center back seam. I should have left a little more ease in the waist, but other than that, the fit is pretty good, and I'll be wearing it to work. Very excited about it! Next up is a cute vest to go with it. I'm loving the quick nature of garment construction vs spending eons per quilt-- though I have some quilts in mind and will probably start working on them in between clothing projects. I need two of me just for my sewing!

    Thanks again for all of your responses.

    Best,
    Ally

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