Shopping for a Serger - Threads


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Shopping for a Serger

A serger will speed up your sewing and finish edges in a snap, but before you buy one, do your homework so you know what youre looking for.

A serger will speed up your sewing and finish edges in a snap, but before you buy one, do your homework so you know what you're looking for.

by Judith Neukam
an Online Extra to Threads #108

If you're in the market for a new serger— whether your first or as a replacement— don't head to the store uninformed. Start by reading "What Kind of Serger Is Right for You?" in the August/September 2003 issue of Threads (#108), which provides guidelines to help you analyze your sewing needs, information about what various serger features can do for your sewing, and a comparison chart of 49 sergers currently available. You'll be able to start narrowing down the field to find a serger that will make your sewing faster, neater, and more efficient.

The test-drive: get ready, get swatch sets, go
For the most realistic assessment of how a serger will work for you, plan to test-sew the sort of fabrics you use most frequently. We recommend bringing along some stretch knits as well as a selection of woven fabrics. Assemble a set of representative swatches for each machine you want to try, and print out the Test-drive checklist as well. Sew (and label) samples, take notes, and then do your own comparison.

A serger will speed up your sewing and finish edges in a snap, but before you buy one, do your homework so you know what you're looking for. Use our handy Test-drive checklist to keep track of the machines you've examined. Serger

 

Serger test-drive checklist

Model name and number:  Date:

Attach the dealer's business card and any sewn samples for easy reference.

Familiarize yourself with the machine

 
  • Examine the serger, and locate major controls, dials, and switches.

  • Flip the presser foot up and down.

  • Evaluate the lighting.

  • Evaluate the noise level and vibration of the machine, and note the type of surface it's sitting on.

  • Hold onto the thread chain and stitch without fabric.

  • Disengage and re-engage the upper knife.

  • Is a trim-catcher provided?  Yes ___ No ___
Sew stitch samples
Test the following stitches, if present, and label the samples.

 

       2-thread stitches: Overedge / Rolled hem

       3-thread stitches: Flatlock / Overlock / Rolled hem

       4-thread stitch: Overlock

       5-thread seam (overlock plus safety chain stitch)

       Cover stitch


Request demonstrations
Ask the dealer to show you the following procedures, and try them yourself:

 
  • Engaging the differential feed (sew samples on stretch fabric and tightly woven fabric)

  • Chain- and/or cover-stitch conversion

Other considerations

 
  • What kind of training is offered with the purchase of the machine?

  • What type of maintenance does the dealership recommend and provide?

  • What optional accessories are available for this model?

Judith Neukam is assistant editor of Threads.

Photo: Judith Neukam

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