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Thread: should I purchase an older Babylock serger?

  1. #1
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    should I purchase an older Babylock serger?

    I have an opportunity to purchase a serger. I've never used one before. It is a 4 thread Babylock BL4-736DF with a differential. Is this too old for a beginner serger to use? Is it worth having a sewing machine repair person look it over? What kind of $$ is it worth in todays market, presuming that it is in good working order? I have looked on the internet and there is a manual available but there are no reviews of the machine? What was it worth when it was new? Thanks in advance for any advice.

  2. #2
    Super Member snipforfun's Avatar
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    I wouldnt even consider it if it doesnt have jet air threading

  3. #3
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    What will you use it for? Sergers are great for home dec (such as curtains) and clothing (especially children's knit clothing) and doll clothes. If you don't intend to use it for clothing of some kind, I'm not sure it's worth having one.

    If I were going to buy a new serger, I would definitely buy jet air threading but that does cost a lot of $$$.

    I found one of these sergers sold on eBay for $85:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/BABY-LOCK-BA...item3cd1fc3818

  4. #4
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    I own a BL 4-736...it does not have the differential feed. I bought it new and used it in the beginning for making clothes. I no longer sew clothing, but still find many uses for it. Just this week I made 26 aprons for our church. The men grilling chicken will wear them to protect their clothes. It's a good, basic serger, and I've only had mine serviced once in almost 20 years when I sewed (well, tried to sew) over a pin hidden in some fleece! I have actually perfected threading it by tying on all four threads and carefully pulling them through the loopers and the needles. I've thought about getting a new one several times, but just don't know what more I could do than I do now. I think your purchase might depend on the price.....I probably wouldn't go over $75 or so.
    psumom

  5. #5
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    I agree with Psumom. Just because it says Babylock doesn't mean it is worth your first born child. I wouldn't pay over 100.00 for any vintage serger and for that price it has to have all the original accessories, the manual, and be in good working and cosmetic condition.

  6. #6
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    I agree I wouldn't pay too much. But I had a 3 thread Babylock I gave to my daughter because I inherited my mother's 4 thread with differential. Both are still running great. I don't think they're that hard to thread that I would lay out big bucks for a fancier version IMHO.
    Cheryl Robinson
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  7. #7
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I have a serger, never use it. It will not be worth it unless it runs well, and you will be able to use or want to use it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member AudreyB's Avatar
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    I have a Babylock Protoge' that is about 20 years old. I've never had a problem with it. I don't use it a lot but it works well when I want it. I use it to make square dance clothes and other apparel. I don't use it for quilting. I don't know what it would be worth today but it's a good machine. I bought an old, used Singer serger at an auction last year for $20.
    AudreyB
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Scraplady's Avatar
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    Babylock sergers are good machines. Not knowing the price or the condition of the machine it's hard to say, but my 4-thread Babylock (BL 415 with differential feed) I bought nearly 20 years ago and cost me $800 new. I burned the motor out on it (operator error, don't ask) and have not had it repaired because I had bought another one in the meantime that did a cover hem, something I used a lot when I was sewing clothing. I was quoted a price of $250 to repair the old one and have hung onto it thinking I would have it repaired as a back-up. Any serger I could buy for $250 today would not come near the quality of the Babylock. It won't have all the bells and whistles, but it's worth looking into. By all means have a dealer look at it if they won't charge you a ton of money just to open it up. There are plenty of vintage machines out there that are decades old and still run great.
    www.makeminepatchwork.etsy.com
    "Piecin' a quilt's like livin' a life...The Lord sends us the pieces, but we can cut 'em out and put 'em together pretty much to suit ourselves, and there's a heap more in the cuttin' and the sewin' than there is in the caliker...I've had a heap of comfort all my life making quilts, and now in my old age I wouldn't take a fortune for them." (Eliza Calvert Hall, Aunt Jane of Kentucky)

  10. #10
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    Years ago I got a used one for $50 then paid $75 to get it working. For me it wasn't worth the cost because it wasn't used enough.
    The main question is how much do you really think you will use it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mom-6 View Post
    Years ago I got a used one for $50 then paid $75 to get it working. For me it wasn't worth the cost because it wasn't used enough.
    The main question is how much do you really think you will use it.
    I got a similar deal with mine a couple of years ago. Paid less than $50 for it and don't remember the service cost - just because I wanted it cleaned and serviced. Also took a general serger class for around $20/session - only took a couple but got very valuable info in the class and the books alone that were given out were worth the class fees. I don't use it much - and didn't anticipate I would which is why I went the route I did and am happy I did so. Not a lot of $$ invested in something I wasn't sure about but am glad I have.

  12. #12
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    The major benefit of a serger is speed & the ability to handle difficult fabrics with ease -- a function of differential feed. Old sergers are just that -- OLD. no nostalgic value like old sewing machines. so, how cheap is cheap? and what do you plan to sew with it? new BL sergers are awesome, but beware of old sergers of any brand

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