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Need info on sewing cabinets and sergers

artsdoc | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I’m looking at two items: a serger and a roomy sewing cabinet.  This will be my first serger and I want one that is fairly easy to thread and really dependable.  As far as the cabinet, any word on Hancock’s order/delivery service on the Koalas?  I want to conserve money but also believe that I will get what I pay for–only good dealers considered for the serger.  There are many cabinets offered online-has anyone reading this ordered one and how did it go?  Readers, I like to hear what you think about both of these items.  Thanks, Artsdoc


  1. MaryinColorado | | #1

    Hi! I love my Husqvarna/Viking Huskylock 936!!!  I have arthritis and this was a seriouse consideration when researching sergers.  I use this machine for most of my sewing, my poor Designer 1 gets neglected in comparison.  I especially like the way it handles so many fabrics, threads, and techniques.  Hierloom, art to wear, artquilts, jeans, coats, etc., easy to switch from one stitch to another with little effort or time. Comes with a video.  I also got free classes.  There was a special going on so I also got about five specialty feet and the coverstitch specialty feet too! Cannot remember when I got this machine, probably about six years ago or maybe more.  It is a real gem.  Still looks and acts like a brand new serger!

    There are some out there that supposedly thread themselves which tempted me.  I interviewed everyone I could about this and test drove many machines at several dealers as I am close to a metro area where there are many dealers.  I really love using yarn and heavy decorative threads in the upper or lower loopers which some machines did not seem to tolerate as well.

    I have not had any problems at all.  Once a year I take it in for a check up just to be safe.  I never use a can of spray air to clean it.  Just a tiny vacuum and brush work great. 

    Hope this helps!  Mary

    1. Ramc | | #13

      Because I am frustrated with my serger... actually with the repair time... I was looking at the discussions of the Huskylock. Mine is a 936, bought in 2004. I do find the threading rather difficult, and I do change the looper threads often since I sew clothing and want the colors to be as close as possible. I use just about all the stitches it  will do and really do like the results that I get. I use the cover stitch quite a bit also, and like it for "jeans" style stitching as well as for hemming (re-hemming bought)Tees.

      I do not find that the instruction book is well organized. Also, the pictures in it for the threading are really too small to be clear. Fortunately, I also have a one page chart that enlarges them.

      Last year I managed to loosen one of the stitch fingers on the S plate, so that all I could do was  narrow 3 thread, not 4 or 5. It took 3 (yes, three) months to get another plate!  Just recently the machine decided to be "overloaded" all the time. I am told that this means that the "board" needs to be replaced (fortunately, it's in warranty). I have been without the machine for two weeks now and am wondering how much longer this will take...

      If I decide to buy another serger (it won't be soon, I think), I will definitely consider ones with easier looper threading...and I will ask people in this discussion about their experiences with sergers.


  2. MaryinColorado | | #2

    nancysnotions website also has nice cabinets.  They are in Wisconsin.  This is Nancy Zieman's site, from Sewing With Nancy on PBS.  Other than that I know nothing about commercial cabinets.  Good luck in your search.  Did you try patternreview.com?  They compare machines too.  Mary

    1. artsdoc | | #3

      Thanks for the site and information.  artsdoc

      1. artsdoc | | #10


        The site you mentioned had the perfect cabinet for me and I ordered it today.  Thanks for the help!



        1. MaryinColorado | | #11

          Congratulations!  Which did you order?

          1. artsdoc | | #12

            Koala lite 530.  Upon investigation I learned that the 530 is a true Koala, made and designed like the regular Koalas.    The deal maker was that a chair also in included in the deal and the whole thing was shipped without cost and was $995!  It fit my space and pampered my budget, leaving more money for the serger!  Very good site to deal with, too.  So, thanks, again .

  3. User avater
    matzahari | | #4

    I have ordered koala and roberts and horn cabinets on line, got a better price than in store, fast delivery and I have been very very pleased.  All are extremely well made and while not cheap they will last a lifetime. My most recent addition was a roberts cutting table with mat. It's completed my sewing room and I couldn't be more thrilled.

  4. user-122474 | | #5

    I LOVE my Babylock Imagine Serger, it has jet threading - which eliminates numerous headaches, it is more expensive but you do get what you pay for,  in fact three other friends bought the same machine, all with no regrets.. years ago I did have a serger which was difficult to thread, and fix tensions, it was in the shop frequently and took forever to get ready to sew - to the point of getting out of the mood to do my project.  Good luck - go to the website and check it out at Babylock.com, and go to a reputable dealer for insite

    1. artsdoc | | #6

      Thanks.  I have looked at one of these and am thinking about it.  Artsdoc

  5. IVIE | | #7

    I have had a viking 936 serger, but after trying the Babylock evolve serger, serging is a breeze. It features jet air threading and pretty much self adjustable tensions. It also doesn't require percise threading order like the 936. The only thing I miss about the 936 it is less noisy and doesn't vibrate as much- these are mild inconviences compared to the cumbersome threading issues and fiddiling around to get good tension.  The light is a bit better on the 936. If sewing time is a great issue then I would recommend the Evolve. 

    I bought the Koala outback online. It's great, however the extension that serves as a cutting table is way too low if you are going to be cutting something for any period of time. The other thing is where you sit, there is not much room as you push in and your foot pedal hits an area where it serves to support your optional machine insert.

    1. artsdoc | | #8

      Ivie, thank you for your reviews.  i am currently looking at the Huskylock 936, the Bernina 1300MDC and 1150MDA, as well as the Babylock you mentioned.  Demonstrations from all have gone so smoothly, although I wonder about the gathering and attaching --how easy that really is.  As far as the cabinet, that is very good feedback on another point I have wondered about, the spaciousness of the area beneath the machine.  Some koalas are smaller in that area than others. 

      I am so enjoying hearing from people who have tried products I am interested in!  Thanks again! 


      1. MaryinColorado | | #9

        Just a quick note.  I do not follow the precise order of threading the 936 every time.  Once you know where the threads belong, it is a snap.  I often change only the upper or lower looper threads. 

         I have not had the problems mentioned. 

        Although dazzled initially by the jet air threading idea, when I test drove it would not take the variety of threads I use.  This may have improved. 

        I got carried away with ruffling and gathering when I first got the machine because it was so easy to do and my grand daughter's bedroom needed redecorating anyway.  Then there are the baby doll clothes for her....now it is doll making for fun...Any excuse to play! 

        To gather I  adjust the differential feed and stitch length.  It will gather even more if you put your finger behind the presser foot and let the feeding fabric build up a bit.  I only use the gathering foot to gather and attatch at the same time.  Also wooly nylon will gather even more than regular serger cone thread.

        I am not suggesting one machine over another.  You will find out which one "feels" right for you and your purposes when you test drive them.  Good luck.  Hope you have many hours of happy serging. 

        Oh and check out Linda Lee Vivians site, Home of the Happy Serger.   It is http://www.lindaleeoriginals.com


  6. Betakin | | #14

    If you can, I suggest to go to a dealer and try different models and brands of sergers just as you would try different cars if purchasing a car. They all have different features, sound different, and have varied prices and vary in how easy to use them and it is important in finding one you are most comfortable in using. You may wish a serger that is heavy duty, has a recessed knife or you may find one with the upper knife next to the needles more easy to use to do curves and small items.

    I have never owned a serger that I did not like and I have owned 6 sergers of different brands and I used to sell Babylock years ago about the time the air threaders came about. I could tell you about one of my present sergers that I have owned for a couple of years. I purchased it new from a local dealer for $800 and it is the most expensive serger or machine I have owned.  It is also the easiest serger coverlock I have owned and it does more. It is a 4 thread non computerized Elna 744 that is now discontinued.  It has a tilt needle bar for easy threading for the 5 needle positions. Three needle postions in front are for chain and coverhem and the back two postions are for serged stitches. It threads easy with looper threading helps for the bottom and chain looper. It has automatic tensions, just dial the stitch you prefer of the 17 stitches on the stitch program dial and the stitches include serged stitches,  stretch knit, chain stitch , flatlocks and rolled hems, and narrow and wide double seam cover hem and triple seam coverhem. It converts very easy to coverhem by just adding a little table and threading the chain looper no need to change the plate or the foot. It stitches off coverhem with just using the needle tension release button. I love that it is quiet running so that I can sew late at night in my apt. It also has a back tack feature that inserts the chain into the seam. Many feet are available and this serger can use the Pfaff Coverhem feet. Pfaff Coverlocks and Elna's are still made in Japan and are very heavy duty sergers.

    I see on the Elna website that Elna now has a new 745 that is a 5 thread with a built in blanket stitch on the selection dial and built in converter for 2 thread. There are also 2 new non coverhem models and one looks similar to Janome models. Janome has recently taken over Elna as their parent company so I don't know what changes in manufacturing the newer machines might have. The computerized 945 model is still on the website and does not appear to be discontinued at this time like the 744 is.

    I wish you the best in finding a serger you love to use and use often.

    Edited 12/14/2006 12:15 am ET by Betakin

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