Serger Sewing machine

October 13, 2019
Sewing machines and sergers

However, if I had to pick between a sewing machine and a serger, I would hands down choose a sewing machine. It can still do so much more. But my swerger {sigh and swoon}………she is like my little happy-to-please assistant, trying to eliminate extra work as she happily hums along at ferocious speeds for me. Love her.

So what type did I get?

I read online, looked at reviews, checked out all different brands, tested some out at stores, etc. I did it all. In the end, I decided to stick with my little Bernina brand…….just because she has been so good to me. But I do know that many other brands of sergers work just as well and have different features that people really like. I just happen to be loyal to the good ‘ol Bernina brand now.

The 700, the 800, the 009, the 1150, and the 1300.

The 700 does a certain number of things, the 800 does even more, and the 1150 even more. And then the 009 is a coverstitch machine (which is like a serged top-stitch seen on knits around collars and sleeves, etc) but doesn’t cut through the fabric at all. It doesn’t do all of the other serged edges like the other 3 I mentioned……but all in itself, it is capable of a really nice finishing stitch. I really wanted this feature and really had my eye on 1300….because it had it all, including that coverstitch. But let’s be realistic. It’s a lot more pricey.

So I decided that I liked the 700 but And while sewing on the 800 vs. the 1150, I liked how the 800 sewed just a little bit better. It seemed to really bust through those seams and I liked that about her. I’m not sure why the 1150 didn’t win me over, and maybe it was just the particular machine I was sewing on…….but that 800 and I got along great. And had everything I needed. And it was right before New Year’s and the sales were fantastic. The dealer didn’t want any more sergers in their inventory before the new year began. I’ll help you with that, thank you!

So, if you have never used a serger, or seen one at work…….you may be confused as to all the fuss.

Let me show you a bit more about using a serger/overlocker.

Have you noticed those really fancy stitches on the inside of most manufactured clothing?

This is the work of a serger.

First of all, a serger uses more than 2 threads at a time, like a standard sewing machine does. It can use up to 5 threads but my machine only uses up to 4 threads. 2 threads on the top and 2 threads on the bottom.

Some people hate threading their sergers and talk about the extra time it takes to load her up. Yes, it does take a little longer, but isn’t as bad as I was led to believe after reading reviews about threading a serger. But because there are 4 threads (maximum), it does take a bit more time and practice to get it right.

You have to thread the 2 bottom threads (lower loopers), which are the 2 spools on the right, that you thread through the bottom of the machine and that can seem complicated. But most machines have diagrams right on the machine to help you out.

Then the 2 top threads (upper loopers), which are the 2 spools on the left, which you thread through the to part of the machine and into the 2 needles.

And again, you can sew with 2 or 3 threads as well, it just depends on the type of stitch you want for the type of project you’re doing. And a user’s manual would show you how to achieve each stitch.

You can also adjust your cutting length, your stitch width, etc……..but playing around with it has been most useful for me.

When everything is set up and ready to go, you can hold onto your strings and just start sewing away. With a sewing machine, you don’t want to sew without your fabric under your presser foot…..but with a serger, you can push your pedal down full speed and watch as the serged stitch is created.

With a serger, there is a little knife that cuts your fabric as you slide it under the presser foot. This trims the edge perfectly before the machine creates the nicely finished edge. As shown below, there is an upper knife and a lower knife. They are both really sharp……so don’t let you pins go under there. They will get sliced in half and will nick your blades.

To serge on your fabric, you lift the presser foot up the same way you do with a regular sewing machine and slide your fabric under the foot. Line up the right edge of your fabric with the seam allowance you need to use, just like a regular sewing machine. Then your machine will cut where it needs to……but just follow the seam allowance markings on the machine.

You will begin to see the far end of the fabric coming out behind the presser foot, with a nice serged edge.

Once you have finished serging your edge, just keep the presser foot down and allow a trail of thread to continue sewing. And then cut off. You always want to leave a trail of serged thread attached the machine, so that the threads stay in place.

And to show you the different threads at work, I used 4 different colors. See how they all work together?

If you are sewing around a project and want the end of your serged edge to meet back up with the beginning……here’s what I do.

I sew all the way around……..

………..and then overlap the beginning of my serged edge. Then I gradually run off the fabric, leaving a trail of fabric behind.

**You can also untangle your loose ends and tie them in a knot to assure nothing unravels……but I never take the time to do that. But maybe I should. :)

When sewing a corner……here’s what works for me.

I begin by serging along a straight edge and then when I get to the corner, I move one stitch past the end. Then I lift up the needle and presser foot, turn my fabric, lower the foot and the needle, and then start sewing again right at the very top of the fabric.

Now you have a nicely finished corner, without any mess or loose threads.

How about sewing on a curve? That can seem tricky on one of these powerful machines. You can still sew on a curve though. Just do so slowly and re-adjust your needle, presser foot, and fabric as you go.

And you will achieve a nice little serged curved edge.

And don’t worry, you can pick out a serged edge just as easily as a regular sewing machine stitch. Just slide your seam ripper under the long stitches, and cut through them. This will release the other threads that you can now pull right out.

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