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View Full Version : Should I upgrade to a serger?


mama2cuties
01-17-2010, 10:57 PM
I learned to sew when I was a kid, but I've never made more than one or two things at a time & then I'd put the machine away for 6+ months before I'd feel like pulling it back out. Basically...I'm no sewing expert.

I decided to start making DD's summer wardrobe & a lot of patterns have mentioned that a serged edge is preferred, but it's fine to just zigzag stitch or trim with pinking shears. Is it worth it to get a serger? What other advantages would there be? I'm never going to have the time to make things to sell, so this would be strictly for personal use. Does the garment look any more professional from the outside?

Thanks in advance for the help & opinions!!
Katie

aecryan
01-18-2010, 12:00 AM
I love, love, love my serger. I bought it off of my local CL for $90 and she included $60 worth of thread. I will never use it to sell either, but totally worth it imo. Also, the clothes that I have made since having my serger have been faster and more professional looking.

Kymy
01-18-2010, 12:17 AM
Will woven fabrics sewn with them look different from the outside look different? Probably not. Knits... they are much easy to sew on a serger & you can get a much more retail look that way. Also it is nice when I make gifts that they look a little more professional.

I also LOVE doing rolled hems. Super fast & easy, & they do a great lettuce edge on knits too!

If your not going to get one to sell stuff I think it would totally be worth it still, but I would probably buy a nice used machine or a new Kenmore... I wouldn't want to pay more then $300 for one for that type of use, but it's definitely worth getting in my opinion.

benjibums
01-18-2010, 12:32 AM
I think it really depends. I was making quite a bit of clothing for my ds without a serger and yes I think from the inside it would have looked more professional but from the outside you can't tell. If you plan to keep up with your sewing and sew each season wardrobe for your daughter than I think it would totally be worth it but if you are just going to use it every now and then probably not becuase not only will you be spending money on something you don't use all that often but you will also have to take time to learn how to use it.

mama2cuties
01-18-2010, 11:30 AM
Knits... they are much easy to sew on a serger & you can get a much more retail look that way.

Yea, I've been having a rough time with knits on the sewing machine and I've been lusting after that lettuce edge that I can't do. I'm really glad to hear that you ladies love yours & also that it makes the project go a little quicker - that's always a plus! I've been looking at a few listings on Diaperswappers, but I'm afraid that something will get damaged in transit. CL is a great idea, tho! Off to check what's out there :thumbup:

Oh - one other question - how often do they need to be serviced? I do my sewing machine about once a year, but it's from 1966 - my mom's HS graduation present from her parents. It's awesome, tho - wouldn't trade it for anything. That and my grandma's handmixer. Those are my two ancient appliances that I LOVE LOVE LOVE :yes:

Kymy
01-18-2010, 03:23 PM
Yea, I've been having a rough time with knits on the sewing machine and I've been lusting after that lettuce edge that I can't do. I'm really glad to hear that you ladies love yours & also that it makes the project go a little quicker - that's always a plus! I've been looking at a few listings on Diaperswappers, but I'm afraid that something will get damaged in transit. CL is a great idea, tho! Off to check what's out there :thumbup:

Oh - one other question - how often do they need to be serviced? I do my sewing machine about once a year, but it's from 1966 - my mom's HS graduation present from her parents. It's awesome, tho - wouldn't trade it for anything. That and my grandma's handmixer. Those are my two ancient appliances that I LOVE LOVE LOVE :yes:

I was told once a year just like my machines, but I am really lazy about it! I was told by my guy that as long as I keep it clean & make sure to oil it I can go every 2 years... but he has seen the inside of my machines too. Once a year seems like the standard. You just have to make sure you remember to oil it because they have more metal on metal parts.

Rachel
01-18-2010, 07:45 PM
I'm intimidated by sergers.. they seem so hard and scary! And if you make a mistake, is it more difficult to fix? I occasionally make little F ups and just whip out the seam ripper and fix it, no harm done. Like, I'll do ridiculous things like sew something face to back or something if I'm not paying attention.. DOH!

I've heard a few people say they have a hard time sewing with knits.. why is that? I have a kenmore machine (not sure the model, but it retails around $100ish. It was a gift) and I LOVE working with knits (because I can leave my seams raw and not worry about it! hehehe). I've never had trouble with it. Where do people usually run into problems, and why have I been so lucky to avoid it?

kstgelais4
01-18-2010, 09:08 PM
I couldn't do without my serger! Now that I have one I wouldn't want to. I think it gives a much better finish to each garment. I can also do so many different finishes on edges, like a lettuce edge or rolled hem. I think you NEED one. lol.

Kymy
01-19-2010, 03:53 AM
I've heard a few people say they have a hard time sewing with knits.. why is that? I have a kenmore machine (not sure the model, but it retails around $100ish. It was a gift) and I LOVE working with knits (because I can leave my seams raw and not worry about it! hehehe). I've never had trouble with it. Where do people usually run into problems, and why have I been so lucky to avoid it?

I can't find a picture example but there are generally a few reasons.

1.) stitch type... long straight stitch works but has limited give (may a shirt pull it on & hear pops of threads breaking)... zigzag works but looks a lot more home made & looks odd on the outside of seams. Some machines offer a stretch stitch, but it is smaller, slow & uses a lot of thread.

The type of stitching sergers use are very stretchy & work great with some of the stretchiest fabrics (as long as tension isn't too tight)

2.) stretching of the fabric... the non-stretch stitches can cause the fabric to remain stretched out where the stitching is while the rest of the item shrinks back. Also it can take practice to get the fabric to feed right with out having to pull on either side which also stretches it out wonky.

Sergers stitching is meant to stretch so the stitch isn't as much of an issue. Most sergers now have differential feed which allows you to adjust how the machine pulls it through to prevent the stretching while stitching and ending up wonky, kinda stretched & no lay right.

I too can sew knits just fine on my regular machine, but it is SO much easier & faster on a serger it's crazy!

Rachel
01-19-2010, 04:50 AM
I do zig zag on hems, straight on seams. I have a stretch stitch and do that sometimes but sometimes I forget. And the stretching of the fabric.. hmm? Mine doesn't stretch at all while I sew! It just feeds right through the same as woven fabrics. But yeah, I guess you're right, I HAVE had a few things where it stretches and I hear the thread break. Especially when I forget to do the stretch stitch! I guess for those reasons, this http://indietutes.blogspot.com/2007/07/peasant-blouse.html makes an ideal project for knit fabrics on a machine :) the side seams aren't likely to get put under the kind of stress that would cause the thread to break, the hem can be zigzag stitches, and since the neck and arms are elasticized, you'd probably have to be trying to overstretch it to the point of breaking thread. I'm so addicted to that pattern for the simplicity, ease, speed I can crank 'em out, and cuteness!! If only that style looked cute on a boy, lol. Poor kid, all I've made him is one pair of pants and a blanket! And a couple little toys.

I might watch craigslist for a serger though.. I would love to not have to worry about unfinished seams in woven fabrics. Hm. Maybe next christmas? Why is it that I finally figure out what I want for christmas in january? I got friggin everything on my list: a couple books, a dvd, a digital kitchen scale, some spry gum, and a nutmeg grinder. I'm so uncreative and boring :P

mama2cuties
01-19-2010, 11:15 AM
thanks for the link! i have a Simplicity pattern that is similar, but the neck is too big - by the time i get the elastic tight enough, there is just too much fabric bunched up & it bugs my daughter.

Chey
01-19-2010, 11:42 AM
I honestly could not live without my serger, but if I had to have one or the other, you need a sewing machine first. A serger is something to compliment a sewing machine. There are lots of sergers out there that will get the job done for a good price. If you can afford it I would splurge for a 5 thread serger with a cover stitch option. I seriously regret not going that route. When I get a new serger it will be a 5 thread. I love my 4 thread, but feel so limited with it sometimes.

Rachel
01-19-2010, 02:24 PM
Is there a site somewhere that explains the difference between different types of sergers? With pictures?

Kymy
01-19-2010, 03:55 PM
Is there a site somewhere that explains the difference between different types of sergers? With pictures?

I actually found something with some pictures, not sure how how much use it is because I just glanced over it, but it looks like it explains the different things it does. http://sewing.about.com/od/sergersoverlock/ss/serger.htm

But I can tell you there really isn't any difference in most of the machines under $500-$700 besides brand/quality. They all do the same & nearly all have the same features. Even used the 5 thread & ones that do coverstitch which are kind of the 'extra' options (besides the pricey baby lock air-threading system which is even way more) aren't cheap. I know because I have been looking for one to use just as a cover stitch.

sbbeana
01-19-2010, 05:40 PM
I don't think I could ever sew knits without my serger. I highly suggest getting one if you plan on making clothing because of all the wash and wear they go through. If you're just gonna make things like pillow, blankets, etc then there's no big reason to get one.