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Choosing a Serger

Cocopop | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Hi Everyone,

I am trying to decide whether or not to purchase a serger. I have recently retired and am spending my time sewing and taking classes. School is out for the summer and it will be a good time to learn about sergers and how to use one.  I have done some research and see that the tension adjustments are the hardest thing to deal with after threading. I don’t want to spend all day fiddling with tension but not sure if I want to spend over $1000 for a machine with auto tension adjustment.  My local dealer sells Janome and I looked at the 1110DX model. Does anyone have any suggestions?  I also have a Bernina and Viking dealer where I live.


  1. ohiostar | | #1

    Congratulations on your retirement!

    Check out Viking's 910 Serger. It is midpriced for Viking, but it offers a computerized advice window that displays the settings for the type of stitches that you want. You set the controls.

    It was my first serger when I decided after 25 years of sewing to get one. I learned the threading in a couple of hours of threading and re-threading, and then I was on my way. When I bought the next model up, the 936, this year, I kept the other and now I have 2 sergers, one does coverstitch and is always set up for that, and the older is my go-to machine for other needs. Without knowing what type of sewing you will be doing, the 936 may be more machine than you need. BTW, Vikings 905,910, and 936 have been around for a long time. They have recently come out with a model that starts with an 'S'. Not much of a difference except in price.

    Hope this helps

    1. Cocopop | | #2

      Thanks, Ohiostar,

      I will check out the Viking 910.  This is like buying a car!


  2. Ralphetta | | #3

    Just to let you know that my serger is about 25 years old and although it takes a little time to adjust the tension if I'm switching to a different weight fabric, etc., it is not a really big problem. It takes a few minutes to get set up, but the finished results are definitely worth it. I just love mine and don't know what i would do without it. Don't be discouraged if you can't have a high-end machine; it's not a reason not to get one.

    1. Cocopop | | #4

      Good advice. I'm still sewing on an old Singer that works excellently. I'll keep your advice in mind before I make my final selection.  There is a great difference in price for the instant tension adjustment machines.  Thanks Lots, Cocopop

    2. ohiostar | | #5

      This is true Ralphetta. Most sergers haven't changed all that much. Probably the biggest thing added is the differential feed. But so many older sew-ers are coming back to sewing and having all this new and fabulous equipment to work with, with so much to learn.
      I stopped sewing garments in the mid-80's to concentrate on my professional quilting business and when I came back to garment construction it was 18 years later. I used a serger briefly to trim the edges of quilted quilts before I washed and bound them, but I had never sewn clothing with one. I had heard how difficult sergers were to thread, and to figure out the tensions and adjustments. The Viking 910 shortened my learning curve while still allowing me to override any recommendations. The 936 does automatically set differential for whatever fabric I tell it I'm working with, and what tensions to set. What this machine has that most don't is space on the right hand side of the needle.

  3. Palady | | #6

    Welcome to the world of "serger users."  Though some feel the expense is unworthy, much depends on your individual approaches to sewing.

    I'm in the arena that sings their praises.  Cost does come into play of course.  The best you can do is test run different models & see which one "speaks" to you. 

    A bit on the Vivking.  There's a 936 Group on Yahoo that is gold mine for information in the fomr of files & photos.  Some of which are applicable to the 910.  The 936 has the capacity to convert to doing a coverstitch. 

    As to the learning curve - again, MO, it's an individual thing. 

    Know also, most all the companies have web sites you can search.

    If time permits, yo ucan consider browsing -









    1. Cocopop | | #7

      I will go to these sites and look at what they are offering. Thanks for the links. I'm really excited about becoming serger savvy and making my garments look more professional.   Cocopop



      1. Palady | | #8

        Please keep us posted on your decision.  By-the-by, the 936 URL is -


        HQ home Page, with a menu on the left side, that might be on interest  -




        1. Cocopop | | #9

          I haven't been online in a few days-got distracted with all of the current news events.  Anyway, I looked at the Viking sergers the other day and liked the way that the 910 and 905 looked.  I wasn't happy with the customer service aspect at that particular dealer.  People were calling while I was there and the person that could help with their problems was not in that day.  Also, they offer three classes.  This kind of makes me nervous. I can just imagine needing help and someone is on vacation.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I know that everyone needs a vacation.  Also, repairs would be sent out and you are at their mercy when you get your machine back. 


          1. beo | | #10

            I have the 905.  Love it.  It's my first serger---I've had it for a little over a year and use it constantly with no problems.  Luckily, my dealer has an in-house repair person and turn around on any service is about three days, if you have a sewing business, a week if you are a casual sewer. 

          2. MaryinColorado | | #11

            I love my Viking 936, it is sturdy and versatile and does whatever I want it to.  Once you get the basic threading down, it's easy to do on your own.  The sewing advisor is wonderful and you can copy the manual from their website now.  Free classes to learn all these machines can do are wonderful, but you can always ask questions here too. 

            I do highly recommend that you find a dealer that does onsite service and repair by a brand certified repairperson!  I have never had a problem with mine, but do take it in for check ups and cutting blade replacement. 

            I hope you find just that perfect machine for you!  Mary

          3. Cocopop | | #12

            Thanks for the good wishes. The one decision that I have made is to go to a dealer that does in house repairs, service, and classes.  We have one here where I live that I've stopped in to ask questions a couple of times.  THey are a Janome dealer but will order whatever is requested.  Has anyone tried the Janome 1110DX?


          4. Crazy K | | #13

            I don't have the 1100DX but I did buy one for my granddaughter a couple Christmases ago.  I did try it and it seemed like a great machine.....very sturdy stitched without a lot of vibration like some of the lighter ones do........

            BTW.........DGD LOVES the serger and has used it.......she wondered how she managed before she got it!  Sound familiar??  She's in college now so her time to sew is limited to visits at home..........

            I felt that we got her a well-made serger that will grow with her and she will be able to use it for years to come.......

            There is my two-cents worth!


          5. Cocopop | | #14

            Thanks for answering Crazy K!


          6. Cocopop | | #15

            I decided to try the Brother 1034D serger since I can return it easily.  The reviews have all been good and I know someone that swears by it.  It is inexpensive enough that I ordered it and can play with it a few days to see how I like it.  I'm still nervous but I can read for days about something and then still not move forward.  So I just leaped in with both feet. 


          7. MaryinColorado | | #16

            Congratulations on your new serger!  I look forward to hearing about your adventures in serging and hope you will love your new machine!  Mary

          8. Cocopop | | #17

            Thanks Lots, MaryinColorado.  I can't wait, I'm like a child at Christmas!


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