Serger Recommendations?

Old 11-26-2014, 08:55 AM
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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
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Old 11-26-2014, 09:20 AM
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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.
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Old 11-26-2014, 09:30 AM
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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.
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Old 11-26-2014, 10:02 AM
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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.
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Old 11-26-2014, 11:21 AM
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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.
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Old 11-26-2014, 11:23 AM
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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.
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Old 11-26-2014, 02:16 PM
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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.
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Old 11-26-2014, 10:06 PM
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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
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Old 11-26-2014, 10:23 PM
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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.
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Old 11-27-2014, 12:53 AM
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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
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