Friday, October 20, 2017

A Sassy New Serger

Yesterday, this little girl arrived!

I entered a contest with this dress (someday I will post finished pictures) and I won the grand prize - which means I am adding a new toy to my sewing arsenal!  And it sounds like this particular model is a goodie!!

If anyone has any suggestions on threads to avoid or use I would love to hear.  I avoid the cheap stuff for my sewing machine, but generally do not purchase the super expensive stuff, either, and I assume the same applies to a serger?  Is wooly nylon really as fantastic as people say?

Any advice would be welcome because I am a complete newbie to this whole serging thing . . . the last time I recall using one was in college in the theatre costume department.

Time to stop fearing all the knits . . .


  1. Overheard nail spitting #1:

    "I'm still getting over her having won the Bernina back in 2011. It's as if an enemy state just conspired to gift her the means to challenge us."

    "Well I'm still haunted by the arrival announcement she posted on February 8, 2012. No one could have guessed how quickly she'd climb an advance machines learning curve."

    "Followed promptly by the acclimation report she gave on March 7, 2012. Never you mind how exponentially her production ramped up thereafter."

    "And now THIS!!!"

    "Ya, and it won't give her any re-thread dread, either."

    "This could give her own knitting a second platform."

    "Just you shush. A form-fitting sheath with a shoulder-showing portrait cowl is likely to emerge."

    "In a mohair blend?"

    "With long sleeves, and in a deep brick red."

    "The kind of dress Shirley Maclaine, or Yvonne Craig, would have rocked in mock-croc slingbacks and mobe pearl earrings."

    "Never you mind that her production turn-around time will become shorter and shorter with this addition."

    "A barrage of posts is certain to follow, likely they've been developed and could be launched at any time."

    "She hasn't perfected use of the serger just yet, but if past is prologue..."

    "Now if she wins a knitting machine she'll be unstoppable."

    "Recall, she boasts two hands and a nearby cup of tea."

    "Suddenly a sewing blog is scarier than international affairs."

    "THAT Laura Mae!"

    "Yes, THAT one!"

  2. Congrats! That dress is gorgeous and would love to see the finished photos!

    Grainline did a post a while back on sergers:

    1. I got the recommend Mettler yarn cones and now even my cheapest Singer machine works nicely!

  3. like Kathy above, I thought that grainline article v good.... congrats on your new serger. I bought one this summer and its so useful. personally I am using a mix of cheap and good threads but if i am using cheaper ones, then all 4 threads are the same etc. I also transferred thread from the big cones to empty spools using double sided sticky and bobbin

  4. I have a Janome serger which I now love. Threading was challenging but my secret is to use a long, 4 inch doll-making needle for this task. I was told by Jamone salesperson not to use embroidery thread so I only use quality serger thread. Karen

  5. Grainline's tip number 2 is my favorite of all: Purchase one color thread that matches your fabric for the upper looper, and use basic neutrals for the rest. Depending on what you're making and how seams will be pressed you might want a matching color in the lower looper too, but even so, having two spools of every color rather than four is so much cheaper, and easy to store!

  6. Stick with the Mettler cones. Superior to any off brand. Mine is a 20 year old elna, it's been a workhorse.
    I have yet to try wooly nylon so I hope people tip away

  7. I have a similar machine and use it constantly! My first tip is take lots of pics of how its threaded. The instructions may say that you can tie new thread onto the old thread to avoid threading from scratch, but this rarely works. Be ready to spend time learning to thread it and practice on scraps before you start your first project. My second tip is to buy four white, four black, and either four grey or four red cones, depending on whether you sew mostly cool or warm tones. These colors are all you really need. More expensive threads are nice when you work with slippery knits or silk, but otherwise inexpensive thread works fine. Start with cotton jersey for your first project, and work your way up lightweight knits. Wonder under is your best friend for double needle hemming knits.

    Sorry for rambling, but I sure wish I had known these hints when I started with my serger! Have fun! I don't know how I got along without one. Can't wait to see what you make.

  8. Congratulations! So regarding thread, I think you'll have to experiment.

    Personally I found that I can only get away with using cheap thread or thread which is slightly fluffy (and wasn't cheap) on the upper and lower loopers. I have to use good quality thread on the left most needle. I will mix threads quite happily and the overlocker doesn't seem to mind. Of course it depends on what I'm sewing. I'll use better quality and generally finer thread on all 4 cones if it's something I want to look really nice on the inside, is a bit special or is a little sheer.

    As someone else has said, I would suggest getting 4 cones of white (or almost clear), 4 cones of black (or smoke) and then a few sets in the colours you use more often.

    Whenever I'm having overlocker problems, it's usually down to the thread. I'm always amazed at how much difference putting a better quality thread on the machine makes. Have fun with your new toy!

  9. I use any serger thread, and have never had any issues with my 20 year old Kenmore, of course, YMMV. Experiment. My one recommendation is to buy "Sewing With An Overlock - Singer Sewing Reference Library Paperback", as far as I'm concerned it's the best serging reference book ever! I buy copies for all my friends when they get a serger. You may have to hang out in used bookstores to find a copy, but that's not too bad, is it? 8-) Oh yeah, I hate hate hate woolly nylon, it melts when you press.

  10. I would agree with ElleC. I have this book too and it helped me understand tension and adjusting really well - much better than trial and error. I have never found rethreading to be scary - just a pain, but then you can always tie new threads onto a length of the old and pull it through.

  11. I now have a Babylock which is auto-tension, but before that I learnt how overlockers worked from my mum's Husqvarna from the 70s. Some ideas:
    1) Use 4 different colours for a 4 thread overlock, and make a sample, then stick that sample (and which order the colours went on the bobbins) on your machine. You will have a quick reference guide for which looper needs the tension adjusted.
    2) If your machine came with a sample, stick that to your machine as well - as the high-holy-grail of what tension can be achieved
    3) Thin silk thread makes a beautiful 3 thread rolled hem. Not couture, but soft, lightweight and so pretty! (I just wind thread onto empty bobbins instead of buying 3 or 4 of the original).

  12. personally I hate the woolly nylon thread. I know a lot of people love it, but I have not had good luck with it. for one thing its a lot harder to take out if you happen to have to take out the stitching. it sticks to everything, shreds and catches and melts. so to me its just gross.

    when threading if you want to tie off and pull through, I find it works better to pop the tread out of the tension first then put it back in the tension after you pull it through. you will have to thread the needles each time.

    your needle threads use about the same amount of thread as your regular sewing machine while the lower loopers use gobs more, so always put your bigger spools to the lowers. sometimes I even fill bobbins for the needle threads so I don't have too have four big spools.

    I usually use 100% polyester maxi-lock thread that I get from waywak which seems to work fine on all the sergers I have used. my personal serger is a Juki but I use a Janome quite often too. it may even be the same one you have. it works really well. personally I don't know how I ever sewed without a serger I love it. try not to be too scared of it, they really are wonderful.