On using a serger……
10 years ago
A dear friend just gifted me a beautiful new serger! I can hardly believe it, but that is just how sweet and generous she is! It is a Husqvarna 200S and is a 4 thread machine.
Here’s the thing…..while I’ve drooled over the idea of owning a serger, I’ve never used one! I am learning how it works by playing with scraps and using the different stitches in the manual.
But, my question is how do you know when and when not to use your serger?
I can see instances where it might be wasted (sewing collars, i.e.) or where it might create bulk where you don’t want it. Do you only serge when a pattern tells you to finish the seams? Do you use your serger to actually do the stitching for much of your garment?
My friend says she stitches her seams on her machine, then serges what she wants. I have an aunt, however, that serges each pattern piece before she ever begins sewing.
What do you do? I want to know how to best use this wonderful machine!10 years ago
Oh you lucky thing!
I had a Husky and I loved it so!
If you have a nice tight stitch (which your machine should do) you may indeed sew your seams directly. For seams that are to be pressed flat it can be helpful to pre-neatening the individual pieces before sewing together.
I would certainly still do collars and such with your machine,for one reason,it is easier to unpick!
Nicole10 years ago
Yes, I’m scared to death of having to unpick serged seams!
So, do you pre-read the instructions and just make a mental note of where you will use the serger? I know O+S patterns indicate when you need to finish a seam, but I’ve made several Simplicity patterns that never tell you. I just had to wing those and figure it out as I went along.
I’m glad to hear you liked your Husky! Surely, if I had to buy one for myself, it would never be as nice as this one!10 years ago
I do pre-read my instructions and make a pencil note. I also make note if I SHOULD have,after finishing a step.
If in doubt,neaten,without taking of any seam allowance as you do.
I adored my Husky and still have it but I upgraded to industrial as I had the chance to do so economically and I was hammering my poor domestic machines.10 years agoTamara @justsewit
You can use your serger to finish a raw edge and to finish a seam. Craftsy has a few classes on how to use a serger and how to use one in different ways.
Did you do sewing in school at all? I did one term and we had sergers then but were only allowed to look and not touch so when I got mine I hadnt used one either. They are not as daunting as people think. I encourage you to get to know it and by that I mean know the ins and outs of how it is threaded and go through and experiment with the machine and the capabilities listed in the instruction book.
Making notes on patterns the first time you use them is a handy way to know when to do what when but when the pattern says finish the seam, this is where you can use your serger.
What a kind and very generous friend you have. Enjoy your new gift! Lucky lucky you!10 years agowith love Heidi @with love Heidi
I used to use mine all the time but I have noticed that now (since finding Oliver and S) I often use french seams instead of serging! You can definitely use the serger to sew the seams and finish them in one pass. The main times I would use my machine rather than the serger was doing top stitching (I would serge then topstitch), I would sew my hems on the machine (unless you have a cover stitch) and anything with tight corners. But is is so useful and looks so professional. I have taken to sewing my seams on the machine and then serging to give the “bought garment look 🙂 You might want to check you local sewing store and see if they have overlocker (seger) classes, my local one has a class for people who didn’t buy their sergers from there, I think it would be a $40 or so dollars well spent.10 years ago
Thank you all so much for your replies! I am learning a lot and feel so blessed to be able to come here and know I’ll have questions answered.
I will continue to play with the machines different stitches and will pre-read patterns and make notes.
I think I may have actually done something to the machine, though, and can’t use it until I take it in to the shop Monday. 🙁 The needles are hitting the bottom looper and scraping. The threads also will not make loops and stay connected to each other. From what I’ve read online, it sounds like the timing is off? Anyone have this happen? I’ve hardly used it and was just getting ready to serge some seams on the Music Class blouse I’m working on. Now I have to wait. It just happened all of a sudden. 🙁10 years ago
Did you hit a pin? That can bend things down below.
Are your needles in far enough and are they the correct needles for your machine?
Check your threading,overlockers are tetchy and need to be threaded with care,often (L-R) you need to thread the third thread before the fourth.
I bent something once and my husband turned the wheel,found the problem and gently bent them back but don’t do this if it has a warranty.
I am sitting here feeling so frustrated for you but it will get better.
Keep us posted?
~Nicole~10 years ago
Aww, thanks for sharing my frustration! I am bummed a bit. Yes, I re-threaded it carefully according to the diagram and the manual. I did not hit a pin, as I had only been playing with scraps and had not used any pins yet. I changed the needles to new ones that came with the machine, but when I found they were still scraping I changed them back so I wouldn’t ruin a second set.
The machine was a floor model but had been serviced when my friend bought it. I really don’t know much about the mechanics of sewing machines, but from what I’ve read online trying to troubleshoot, it sounds like I knocked it out of time. Not sure how that happened, but I can take it in Monday morning and have the guy look at it. Thankfully, it is under warranty. I am hoping he might be able to tell me if I did something to it so I won’t do that again!
I’m still giddy that I even have it!10 years agoSarvi @Sarvi
Bumping an old thread in hopes of fresh responses. Do you have favorite uses for your serger? Whether for particular types of fabric, finishing certain seams — or if there are certain things you’ve tried on your serger and found your regular machine does better, that would be great to hear too. Just got one and am really enjoying it already, but wondering what else it can do…10 years agoMasha RichartKeymaster@roundtheworldgirl
I have the cheapo Brother 1034D which works fine for my purposes. I got it about a year ago and was out of commission having a baby for a few months, so I’ve probably only really used it about six months. As a result, I don’t have a lot of thread choices for it. I thought when I got it that I’d be happy finishing my seams with white or black thread only, but as it turns out my aesthetic eye is choosier than I’d thought. On my most recent projects I’ve been using the old standby of zigzagging my seams (with a matching thread color). The serger gets used a lot on baby projects, though – I have used it to make baby blankets, washcloths and most recently dolly diapers for my niece and diapers. I think once I amass more colors of thread in the quantity necessary for serging, I’ll use it more.10 years agowith love Heidi @with love Heidi
I only overlock my seams in either black or white. I only use a matching or contrasting thread when doing a rolled hem. I suspect this may be because when I learnt to use an overlocker growing up Mum only had white and black. 🙂
I also use mine for gathering, especially as I have a foot that allows me to gather and and sew at the same time. I love making and wearing tiered circle skirts and they make easy popular gifts. it iss also great for making pettiskirts. The foot was about $35 and well worth it for the amount of gathering I do.
I expect to use it alot over the next few months as my machine is not going great and If I can do as much as possible on my overlocker then I can save up for a bit longer before buying a new sewing machine.
I also use it to make all my knit garments when possible.10 years agoMaggie @Maggie
I just got my serger about a month ago. I have the Brother 1034 too. I’ve mostly been using it for knits. I find if I change the needle thread colors the seams look good. I don’t change the looper colors since those only show on the inside.10 years agowendy @wendyls
I really like the rolled hem feature. It’s a nice option for more airy, lightweight tops. I absolutely love that it’s so easy to make things like lounge pants and leggins with a serger. I don’t think that I would bother with those things unless I had one, and in realty it’s what my daughter wears mostly.
I now use my serger to finish all of my seams, unless I can use something like a french or flat felled seam. I just find it faster to set up both machines and go at it, plus I love the tidy job of finishing it does.
I kind of hoard serger cones when they go on sale and also scored a few sackfuls from a dressmaker who was closing up shop. If didn’t have such an abundance of it already, I’d probably look into that translucent serger thread that someone on the forum mentioned some time back.
I’m surprised at how well my Brother 1034 has held up. As long as I pamper it it performs very consistently. Much more than my new sewing machine which is supposed to be of better quality.10 years agoSarvi @Sarvi
Thanks for all the great tips! I’ve loaded 4 different colors of thread (blue, pink, yellow, orange) to help me learn what’s happening where as I’m starting out, but found I liked the effect so much I even used it as a hem.
One thing I haven’t figured out yet — my sewing machine has little marks labeled with the distance to the needle, so I can see how wide a seam I’m stitching. There are little lines on the serger as well, but only a few of them. How do you tell how to line up the fabric?
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