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clight | Posted in General Discussion on

I want to buy a top of the line serger. What is the ‘top of the line?” A few years ago I saw percentage of ownership for sewing machines and sergers. The sewing machines were pretty evenly divided between 4 top brands. However, one serger was far above all others. I can’t remember which one. Things change, etc. I would like to know what users recommend, own , or wish they owned. Maybe someone has the statistics on the info. Thanks. Carmen


  1. fabricholic | | #1

    Hi Carmen,

    This is easy. I love the Huskvarna Viking Huskylock 936. Go to their website and you can see which stitches it can do. A lot of fellow Gatherings people have one. It is so sturdy, also. You can definitely feel the difference in it and the other models.


    1. clight | | #2

      Thank you for taking time to respond. I appreciate your time and kindness.


      1. fabricholic | | #3

        You are very welcome. I hope you get the serger that you will love.Marcy

  2. MaryinColorado | | #4

    I love my Husqvarna Viking 936,  it does everything beautifully.  Also the book Serger Secrets has lots of helpful information on many things to do with a serger with well written instructions and diagrams.  Hope this helps.  Good luck with your search and happy serging. 

  3. ctirish | | #5

    I love my Baby Lock evolve. It is so easy to thread, easy to use. Everything comes out beautifully. I had a Bernina serger before this one and I could spend hours trying to fix the threading and breaking thread problems. I don't even think about problems when I use my Evolve. Do an advanced search on serger here and you will get a wider group of opinions . Also, make sure you go and try one yourself, don't just let the seller show you how to use it and thread it. Good luck,

    1. clight | | #6

      I have a Bernina Serger--reason for buying a new one!! I do think it has the best sewing machine on the market. Thanks for taking time to reply.

      1. Cate067 | | #7

        It sounds like you really like your Bernina sewing machine?   I don't know if I will ever be able to afford a new sewing machine, but  Bernina is one of the ones I think about often.   I love how easy embroidery is on my ellure but I would like another one that stitches well and maybe can handle a continuous hoop. I keep looking at the Bernina and the Pfaff as my top choices.  The IDT intrigues me, keeping the fabric together when you sew.  I keep wondering if the IDT function has a patent and if it is going to run out soon.  If the patent is up then all of the sewing manufacturers can have the same function.  

        I have an Ellure from BabyLock and it is fine. I would like to find one that is quieter and when you are stitching it feels like it is sewing the stitches evenly. I don't know that mine doesn't stitch evenly, sometimes it feels like it is uneven. How is the stitching on your Bernina?  Are the stitches equal even if you change the speed at which you are sewing?  Have you ever tried comparing the size of the stitches at different sewing sessions to see if they are consistent.  Does you machine do embroidery?

        Thanks for your input, jane

        1. clight | | #9

          My extended family had used Singers since they had come on the market, and that was the first piece of furniture I bought when I got married. I had NO intention of owning any other brand.

          My Bernina sewing machine and serger are old. Yes, I have sewed many things on the sewing machine. The even stitches is its hallmark. It does not make any different the type of material, or how thick it is, (within reason) the stitches are all uniform. When I saw it go rapidly from sewing a piece of soft tanned deer hide to l thickness of sheer silk, without stopping, shuddering or changing evenness of stitches is when I decided to buy the thing. I might add that I paid $1800 dollars for it and they threw in the serger for free. That will probably indicate how long it has been since I bought it.

          Edited 2/26/2007 1:05 am ET by clight

          1. Cate067 | | #22

            I had a Singer Futura that was a gift in about 1974. I was making pinch pleated drapes for my mother-in-laws 14 foot wide sliders that went from the ceiling to the floor.  The two pieces of draperies were huge. I remember trying to handle them by myself.  I had that machine  until 2001. It was a workhorse, I did a lot of sewing with that machine.  Some days I wish I had kept that machine.  It would come in handy at times.

            Thank you for the info on the Bernina, the price has gone up somewhat since you purchased your machine...lol 

          2. SewNancy | | #23

            I have a Viking serger 905 a basic 4 thread serger and I am happy with it, but it is a pain to thread sometimes and I still have a hard time getting the needles in! But it serges beautifully. I added a stand alone Janome cp1000 coverstitch and I am really happy with this. It sewwd perfectly out of the box and it bound an edge the first time I tried it to perfection. The two machines would come to less than a top of the line serger with a built in coverstitch and I don't have to set it up and then back to serge!
            I don't remember what I payed for the Viking, but I paid $399 for the Janome. Which is a bargain as I had widely varied quotes. If you are sewing alot of knits I can't reccomend a coverstitch machine highly enough the hem really stretches just like RTW.

          3. MaryinColorado | | #24

            I agree with SewNancy!  Also the coverstitch and chainstitch don't use the cutter so you can put pretty decorative threads in and "drive" around on the fabric any which way for beautiful decorative work.  I have the Viking Huskylock 936 which does all the stitches I need, it does take a little time to get used to changing the needles, I used a little compact mirror at first until I got secure with which needle hole was which as there are 5 choices.  Now it only takes a few seconds and I have arthritis in my hands and fingers too.  Love my serger!!!  I bought a couple books on serging and decorative serging before my purchase and really researched what was available.  I made the clerks thread the machines and show me why I should buy thier brand but alot of shops can't or won't do this.  I did make appointments though to arrange the time with them.  Mary

          4. pinkit | | #25

            Thanks for your answer to SewNancy concerning the Viking 936.  Since I am limited for options here where I live it is hard to test several machines.  I did have the girl at our Viking center sit with me and show me how the 936 is threaded.  They also give lessons and have classes soo I thought this would be a good machine for me.  Glad to hear you are having a good experience with your machine.  I am an older woman and although I have pounds of patience I was fearful of getting into something expensive that I would not enjoy.  Also, glad to hear you researched some books I certainly hope to own some of those and maybe some videos also.  Thanks! your input means a lot to me.

          5. MaryinColorado | | #26

            You are very welcome!  I love my 936!  I use it alot, it allways runs smoothly, no vibrations.  It is a great machine!  You can do so much more than I ever imagined with a serger.  Never been in the shop except for yearly check up and cleaning.  I find it very easy to use, I tried a basic inexpensive serger first, only used it to finish seams, hated it, especially messing with the tensions, three months later, replaced it with the 936.  The 936 has the option of changing them and the differential if you want and even programming some in.  I have been extremely happy pushing the buttonfor the type of fabric and stitch I want and having the 936 do all the figuring out for me!  I use it for everything, even dollclothes and heirloom sewing.  It is a real workhorse and my favorite machine!  Mary

          6. fabricholic | | #27

            Mary,I have a stupid question. I moved the dials on my serger to 0 to change thread colors. I thought it would go back to the adjusted numbers for a 4 thread overlock automatically when I pushed the A. It didn't and I had to guess where to put it. It is serging o.k. but, I really would like to know where it was to start with. Do you know a good starting number for each one? Medium weight fabric.Marcy

          7. MaryinColorado | | #29

            On my machine, all the tensions and differential are on 4 which is normal..  I thought you had the 936?  If so, the screen should tell you where to set them when you push the a auto button.  Maybe you need to turn your machine off and back on again and choose 4 thread overlock.  It sounds like you might have hit the "manual settings" button which is for saving your preferred nonstandard settings into a memory.  HOpe this helps. 

            When I was in college, I was told the only "stupid" questions are the ones we don't ask.... Mary

            Edited 3/14/2007 11:17 am ET by MaryinColorado

          8. fabricholic | | #30

            I do have the 936 but, I haven't had it very long. I haven't read many manuals. Got the Designer SE and 936 about the same time and was swamped with manuals. I'm sure it says on the screen, I just have to look up where it says that on the screen. See, it was a stupid question.Marcyp.s. Thank you!

          9. MaryinColorado | | #31

            Look at the screen, it will tell you all the settings you need, including needle placement and cutting width.  Let me know if I can help any further.  I love this machine!  Mary

          10. fabricholic | | #32

            I love it, also. I haven't done much on it, yet. I just like how it feels so sturdy. I believe it is a workhorse. I bought a bunch of different attachments and haven't even used them.

  4. Cherrypops | | #8

    I own a Bernina 800dl overlocker as we in Australia call them. It is a 4 thread but suits me at the moment. I have never had threading or tension problems. I have the elasticator foot for it and it's good too. It came with the basic instruction manual.

    I wanted to learn more so I bought the Palmer/Pletsch Publications "Sewing with Sergers" and " Creative Serging". Easy to read, good beginners books. There are more books available and some do come highly recommended but i can't bring myself to buy books without looking in it to see if it is the right type for me.

    Just take the time to review all possiblities. go to the major brands websites and visit your dealers. ask to see and read the instruction manuals (some sewing machine manuals are available for download online, I haven't looked for overlocker/serger). Find a wonderful dealer who is also willing to sit with you at the machines and let you use the display models. Take all kinds of fabric samples with you too. If they offer lessons use them.

    Cheers , CherryP

    Edited 2/25/2007 10:00 pm by Cherrypops

    1. clight | | #10

      Thank you for taking the time to reply.

      1. Betakin | | #11

        One of my sergers is an Elna 744 but it is now discontinued and made similar the Pfaff models. Both brand coverlocks can interchange feet and are heavy duty.  The Elna 744 is 4 thread with automatic tensions and 17 stitches in the dial a stitch program, including 3 style coverhems and chain stitch and the needle bar flips up to change needles easier. It also converts to coverhem fast and easy without having to change the needle plate or foot.  It is not a computerized model. Elna's newer model that replaces the 744 is the 745 which seems to be basically the same but it is a 5 thread, has a built in blanket stitch in the dial a stitch program plus the 2 thread converter is built in. Elna also has the top of the line 945 that is a computerized model that can take pro cards and it is also a 5 thread. My 744 is the easiest and the best one that I have owned and I have owned several of different brands and I sold sergers of different brands. Some top models are fussier than others or are more time consuming, needling plate changes for different stitches or converting to coverhem or even blind hem. I dearely loved my old Babylock but it was not the easiest to use as compared to some of the newer models. Some newer models are not as heavy duty as others.

        I think there are many "best" sergers for each individual and that is the one that feels the most comfortable for them to use. Several  people at different forums have asked repair techs which is the best and the answer was that Janome rarely if ever needed repairs. One of my sergers was a Janome (New Home)  that my DD now uses. It is not a coverhem model but it is a no frills work horse and the price was only $199. My Elna was $800.  I suggest to check the on line reviews by owners of sergers at Patternreview and also at the Epinons site then test drive some models of different brands to find which is best for you. Good luck, I hope your find a serger you love.

        1. clight | | #12

          Thanks for taking time to reply. I guess things have changed since I last heard and a number of sergers are a good buy.

  5. GranJanice | | #13

    Hi, I had no idea how to use a serger or exactly what it did, but when I had a chance to try it out in a quilt shop class I did.  At first, it scared me because I was completely dumb about it.  The knife was scary too.  However, I ended up buying a Baby Lock Evolve.  I absolutlely love it.  I am still new about using it, but I am looking forward to trying new things.  It has 8 threads and threads automatically by an air system.  I had no idea that I was buying one of the best on the market.  Go to their website and check it out.  Also, I have heard a lot of people saying they like the Huskylock one.  I was deciding between the two of them but chose the Babylock.  The Huskylock is also very popular.  I happen to own a Husqvarna Viking Designer SE.  I had a Designer I and upgraded to the SE.  I love that too.  I would also like to get a 2nd. - lighter weight machine - for traveling to and from classes etc.  Janice


    1. Betakin | | #14

      Well, GranJanice you did buy a serger that really does it all. You will be able to do a lot of deco work with your serger. That is something I would like to find more time to do. I bought my Elna for the different coverhems that it offered and especially for the triple thread coverhem. If and when I get into more deco work I might purchase the Pfaff 10 thread and still keep my Elna. I will be able to switch feet between them.  Huskylocks are very popular. The only negatives that I have seen posted have to do with the many steps it takes and the time involved to convert to Coverhem and many owners have purchased a separate coverlock only machine for this reason.

      Years ago when I sold Babylock models the air threading feature just came about. I think owners love this feature on the Babylock models. I hope you learn to use your serger to the fullest and I think you will love it even more.

      Edited 2/26/2007 3:03 pm ET by Betakin

      1. GranJanice | | #15

        Hi - Thank you for the nice message.  I plan to use it today.  Have a great day.

    2. clight | | #16

      Thank you for taking the time to respond. All of you 'sewers' are wonderful to answer my qestions. Carmen

      1. Cherrypops | | #17

        Thank you for calling  us 'wondeful' . I am glad you see us this way and I really appreciate you taking the time in letting us know! CherryP.

  6. SewNancy | | #18

    I have a basic, the 905 serger from Viking and I like it a lot. I have been reading the discussions at PatternReview and the one thing that I have seen is that people who have the top of the line Viking with the built in coverstitch wish they had bought a lesser machine and a separate coverstitch machine. It is a pain to switch it and at least one woman, Debbie Cook ended up buying the top of the line Viking and then adding a Babylock coverstitch machine. http://stitchesandseams.blogspot.com/
    She has a terrific blog site with a wonderful tutorial on her coverstitch machine. Take a look and take a look at the reviews on sergers at http://www.patternreview.com. They are really good and there are really good discussions on different machines. I have been wading my way through 111 pages on the Janome coverpro machines, which I am looking to buy.

    1. MaryinColorado | | #19

      I have the Viking Huskylock936 and love it.  I find it quite simple to switch from regular serging to coverstitch.  All you have to do is follow the clearly written instructions in the manual.  They lead you step by step how to switch back and forth.  Sorry you had a problem with it!  I thoroughly evaluated all the sergers before my purchase several years ago.  ( At first I was tempted by the jet air threading too, but the dealer couldn't thread it with my variety of threads and elastic I brought along) I preferred the Viking product which takes everything I dish out)  It is an incredible machine and a real workhorse, never had a single problem with it! 


      1. feismom | | #28

        I have both a Babylock Evolve and a Husqvarna 936.  I also have an older 4 thread Jaguar (White) that is still a total workhorse.  I love the air threading on the evolve and it is really easy to switch back and forth between overlock and cover/chain stitching (or do both simultaneously).  I especially appreciated it when making bathing suits with decorative stitching.  But I bought the 936 because the Evolve has a very tiny space between the needles and the post and you can't use it for mock flat-fell or decorative stitching other than at the edge of the fabric.  You might want to take this into consideration.  Both are excellent machines but it depends what you plan to use the machine for.

      2. jacksgranna | | #39

        I'm new here, and am just reading along for information.  I just bought a new sewing machine with embroidery capabilities, but am curious about sergers after reading this discussion.  What are they usually used for?  Thanks, from Miss Major Uninformed!

        1. MaryinColorado | | #40

          I use my serger for everything from sewing seams, finishing seams, hemming pants, bluejeans, heirloom sewing, quilting, rolled hems like on napkins, etc, to decorative embellishments.  A basic serger is good for finishing seams and trimming the fabric with a cutter at the same time, the coverstitch gives you the ability to make beautiful stitches on knit fabrics and is somewhat like crocheting where the threads interlock.  You disengage the cutter for coverstitch and chainstitch.  Chainstitch is very easy to remove so it works great for basting and also for decorative work. 

          My fav serging book that I think describes many ways of using this versatile and fun machine is "Serger Secrets".  Also sergers are faster than sewing machines.  Mine has three speeds which is a nice feature, especially when teaching the grandkids how to use it.  Mary

          1. jacksgranna | | #42

            Wow, thanks to both of you for replying!  I had no idea a serger did so many things.  I'll have to get a demonstration at the store soon.  Thanks for sharing your knowledge. 

          2. MaryinColorado | | #43

            You are very welcome!  My sister in law was here Sunday and saw the serger.  She had never heard of them.  It reminded me of when I first saw those nicely finished seams they do.  Now I don't know how I would manage without it. 

            When I test drove them, I took along several pieces of a variety of fabrics and threads.  I found that some machines didn't like the thick threads like Candlelight and Glamour that I like to use in the loopers. 

            Best wishes on your quest!  Mary

        2. Ralphetta | | #41

          Sergers are great for knits.  But, they also give a professional looking finish to all your seams.  As an example,  I  like to roll my sleeves up and didn't feel comfortable doing it when wearing blouses I had made because the exposed seams looked home made.  If you are sewing with sheer fabric, you can sew perfectly finished narrow little seams that look professional. Also, I use my serger a lot when altering things.  If I need to take in the side seams of an inexpensive pair of pants there is no need to rip out the existing seam.  I just stick it under the serger and sew a new seam.  It doesn't replace a sewing machine...but with it you will be able to sew more professionally. If you can afford one, you won't regret it.  There are MANY more ways to use it.

    2. clight | | #20

      Thanks, Nancy, for taking time to reply. Is the coverstitch what you find at the bottom of T-shirts, etc.? I had never heard of it until I received these messages.

      1. SewNancy | | #21

        Yes, exactly. You can also apply binding with the accessorie binders which bind and sew. This gives that very proffessional look of rtw. Take a look at Debbies tutorial, it will answer all your questions.

  7. Crazy K | | #33

    I just saw this posting so am probably too late.  I have an Elna 745Dex which is my 'workhorse' and I love it for utility sewing.  I also have a Janome Compulock, a Janome 234, and a new Babylock Evolve 8 thread.  I am really enjoying the ease of threading the Babylock.  The instructions for changing from one stitch to another are very explicit and easy to understand.  I am doing lots more coverstitch now and really like that.  I do a lot of sewing for children and the coverstitch holds up better than a twin needle or zig-zag stitch.  Twenty-two grandkids make for lots of t-shirts, flannel pants and all sorts of other things!  The Compulock also does coverstitch (but is harder to change) and does the 5 thread safety stitch which is good for some fabrics. 

    Maybe the most important thing no matter which brand you choose, is to find a dealer who offers classes to show you how to use the machines.  I've had to learn most things the hard way and then I bought a Designer SE sewing/embroidery machine and the dealer offered classes!  Wow!  What a difference that makes

    Hope this helps.........and good luck!

    Crazy K

    1. MaryinColorado | | #34

      Great advice!  22 grandkids, wow, that is quite a family!  Lot's of little blessings to sew for, how fun.  My three grandkids keep me on my toes and very busy, I cannot imagine what it woud be like to have 22.  Do they live nearby or scattered about?  I remember having over 100 cousins when I was a teenager but missed the one family reunion when all were together.  We are scattered all over the US and Germany.  Mary

      1. Crazy K | | #36

        The grandkids all live in the USA presently but one is serving in Iraq.  I'm in Minnesota, the furthest away are in Texas.  Everyone is so busy that we don't get together often.  They range in age from 22 down to just under 1 year.  These 22 come from a blended family of 9 children.

        I also try to sew for the homeless in our city through the Salvation Army.  I live next door to a lady who is with a quilt group that makes quilts for the homeless.  I am not a quilter so I do fleece hats, scarves, hooded scarves and have made some fleece blankets for children.  My hubby and I also deliver the quilts, bedrolls and anything the quilt group gathers to the Salvation Army building downtown. 

        1. MaryinColorado | | #37

          It is wonderful to have humanitarians like you in the world.  I think what you and others are doing is great!  I pray for our brave young men and women serving our country.

          Freedom isn't free!  Mary

          1. Crazy K | | #38

            You are so right............there is no 'free' in freedom!  I think I failed to mention that along with a grandson in Iraq, we also have a 20 yr. career Army son-in-law over there for the 4th tour.  My father was a Marine during WWII.  My husband didn't serve because of his bad knees but I am VERY proud of these young men and women.......they are indeed American's finest!!!!


    2. clight | | #35

      Thank you for replying. YOu must be a wonderful person to help all of those little kids. I taught for 35 years, so I know what it takes to help the little ones. God bless you. Carmen

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