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Serger Books

jatman | Posted in General Sewing Info on

This may be a really stupid question, but I’m thinking of getting a serger.  However, before I do that I wondered if it might actually be helpful to get a book on sergers first.  Something like Serger Secrets by Mary Griffin.  I have no doubt that I’ll eventually get a serger but it may not be right now, could be a year from now or maybe longer.  I just don’t know yet what I want exactly and what functions I want it to perform.

So – is it silly to get a book on sergers if you don’t have one yet?  Or are the books out there informative enough to help me possibly decide what functions I want in a serger?

Any help is appreciated!





  1. Ralphetta | | #1

    I think it would be a lot better to get books from the library.  You could acquire general information without getting stuck with books about todays sergers.  Sergers are evolving like all other technology and the books frequently don't deal with newer features.

    I'm saying this because I went to buy a camera, after carefully reading a couple of books so I would know what I needed.  The guy in the store just grinned and told me my info was dated and that everything on display was miles ahead of what my books said because so much progress had been made in the 2 years it took to publish the books, etc. 

    But heck, I'm a big, big library fan.  If I find something there that I really like, THEN I go buy it.  I think reading some books would be good, I'm just suggesting you find a way to do it without buying them yet.

    You will absolutely love having a serger, it makes things so much easier and more professional looking. For example, I like to roll up my sleeves but didn't want to make time-consuming french seams, etc. so I didn't if I was wearing something I'd made because my home-made seams were exposed.  With a serger I sew the seam and finish the edges in one quick step.

    1. jatman | | #3

      Hi Ralphetta!  I would love to go to the library to find this but I live in a country where English is the second language and while I can find some books here in English most how-to books are not.  I've just conquered being able to transact business at the post office, grocery store, etc. without using English.  It'll be a while before I'm able to grasp something as technical as sewing/serging I'm afraid.  Thank you for the suggestion though.  If I lived in the US, I'd be going to the library!


      ETA:  Thank you for pointing out how quickly technology moves.  I didn't even think about that part!


      Edited 6/16/2007 12:45 am ET by jatman

      1. Ralphetta | | #6

        I was afraid you  might be at a distance from the library but hadn't considered a language problem.  I have fun looking at Amazon.com and spend way too much time reading excerpts, etc. and buying books.  Maybe someone could recommend a DVD on serging.  That might be fun for you.

        1. jatman | | #9

          One of the reasons I love Amazon is because of the 'preview' function.  I have wasted much time on their website, too!  It's better than not being able to look in the book at all but still sometimes not quite enough for me.  It leaves me wanting more so I guess it does what it's designed to do!

          Patternreview.com has a bunch of new DVD's on their website so I may need to take a look and see if there are any on serging.  Good idea!  Thank you!


  2. MaryinColorado | | #2

    Serger Secrets is my favorite!  Mary Griffin, Pam Hastings, Agnes Mercik, Linda Lee Vivian, and Barbara Weiland , all put thier expertise into this book edited by Susan Huxley.  The photos and instructions are very clear and creative.  By Rodale Press.

    Make Friends With Your Serger is done in workbook style and also has very good illustrations and instructions.  by Linda Lee Vivian, the "serger lady".  http://www.lindaleeoriginals.com

    I think these books will inspire you and help you with your decision.  I love my Huskylock 936 serger/coverstitch machine and don't know how I ever managed without it. 

    Yes, I believe you will be able to decide if a serger is right for you and which serger capabilities you would like by reading either of these books, especially Serger Secrets!  (More colorful and more variety with all those authors).  Hope this helps.  Test driving is the only way to know which machine is right for you though.  Mary

    Edited 6/15/2007 6:47 pm by MaryinColorado

    1. jatman | | #4

      I think I picked Serger Secrets because I'd seen it suggested many times on this forum (maybe by you?!).  I think I'll go ahead and order that one and take a look.  I've been toying with the idea of getting a serger for a while and don't really know what all of it's capabilities are or can be, so hopefully this will help.

      Thank you!


      1. MaryinColorado | | #5

        I think you can get it at a local book store like Barnes and Noble.  Also Linda Lee's website has both books, and I think I may have seen it at Amazon.com and maybe at http://www.clotilde.com or http://www.nancysnotions.com  Maybe you will find a sale! 

        I use alot of specialty threads in my loopers so if you test drive machines, you may want to take along some heavier threads like YLI Perle Crown Rayon, Glamour, Jeans Stitch, etc if you are interested in decorative looks.  Some machines don't work with these, it made a difference to me.  Also, the height the presser foot will lift varies.  I love making gathers and ruffles by adjusting the differential feed.

        1. jatman | | #8

          Hi Mary!  Thank you for all of the links!  I will check them out and hope for a sale but I have a bunch of things I want to order from Amazon so it may win out (one stop shopping!).

          Thank you, also for the tip on test driving!


  3. Betakin | | #7

    I suggest more than one book. The library is a good place to start. Fabric stores, machine dealers and book stores have many sergers books and so do used book stores for less money. Many sewing mags have articles regarding serging too..so don't forget to check the monthly magazine's.

    I have collected serger books over the years plus I have given many of them away. Newer books are so much nicer with colored pictures so you can actually see the threads and machines on the pages where older books were just black and white with drawings. Serger Secrets is also one of my favorites. One of my favorite oldies is Know Your Babylock. To list a few of some of the books that I have kept and not given away:   Serger Shortcuts, Sewing with Sergers,  The Complete Serger Hanbook, The Ultimate Serger Answer Guide, ABC's of Serging, Singer's Sewing with a Serger and my newest is Creative Serging. Creative Serging shows some  info on deco serging abd coverlock, including making coverlock plaid. Elna also has 3 books out on how to use your Serger's different Feet and also how to get the most from your serger and coverlock and how to use deco technique. Nancy Zieman of Sewing with Nancy has several books out too. I have one of her booklets called Serge Ahead.

    Many sergers come with a video on how to use them. It would also be good if you could see a few videos on different models to give you an idea of the brand. I hope you can test drve a few to see which one you are most comfortable using. Good luck on your choice, I hope you find a serger you will love.

    Edited 6/16/2007 2:34 am ET by Betakin

    1. jatman | | #10

      Hi Betakin!  I was looking at a couple of the others you suggested, too.  Like ABC's of Serging.  Nice to know what you kept in your library.  I may look at that one again (I think Amazon had a preview of it, too) as well as a few of the others you mention (Creative Serging sounds really interesting).

      I may have a serger picked out I'm just hesitant to take the plunge.  It's a Bernina 1150MDA.  I had a very basic Singer sewing machine forever (still have it actually) but it would not do any buttonholes or really anything other than a straight stitch so I went out and bought a Bernina 80e and I love it.  Reviews seem really mixed on Bernina but I have found (almost) no problem with it.  I live in the land of Husqvarna so I have been looking at those, too, but it seems that they are a little bit more complex and more expensive than the Bernina's (both the sewing machines and the sergers) so I'll have to look at that a little more.

      Thank you for your input!


      1. Betakin | | #11

        I think that is a great choice for a serger. Isn't that one with the micro thread control where the threads hug the edge of the fabric? I recently did a test run on one of these sergers at my dealers and it had a great stitch. I think the Bernina sergers are still made by Juki.

        There are so many sergers and machines today from which to choose.  I have never owned a Bernina because where I live they have been out of my price range. I do own some Janome products and Pfaff, Elna and Viking. Janome makes machines for several companies including Bernina's less expensive models in the past. I suggest to test drive as many as possible and I am sure you will find the best one suited just for you. Good luck to you in your machine and serger purchases.  

        1. jatman | | #12

          I haven't actually test driven the Bernina serger yet.  I've visited it several times in the store though!  I'm still deciding but yes, I think you are right - it has the micro thread control.  I think this is why I need the serger books - I'm not sure what it all means!

          I've heard good things about Janome, Pfaff, Viking and Elna (as well as Babylock).  There are almost too many choices! 

          Thank you for your help!


  4. Pattiann42 | | #13

    When you get back in the States.........be bold and go to different dealers and ask them to tell you (and demonstrate) why you should buy a serger!

    Is there a difference in electric service in Sweden vs US? 




    1. jatman | | #14

      Hi Spicegirl!  I started to go into that part of it, but then stopped.  Yes, there is a difference in electrical current.  When I get home with my Bernina I will either have to get a new cord, an adapter or a transformer for the current.  I'm fairly sure that it is dual voltage but I need to check on some things before I slap an adapter on it and plug it in.  The cost of buying a machine from the US and having it shipped to me was prohibitive and I think I paid less for my machine here than I would have at home since it didn't have as far to travel from the maker to the seller.  But electrical current has been one of the main hesitations in buying a serger here - 1 piece of equipment is fine but how many transformers do I want to have in my sewing room when I get home?

      I think when I get back to the US for my visit in July I will try to sneak in some serger price comparisons.  Maybe one of those older issues of Thread will have a serger article in it!  Hmmmm....



      1. Pattiann42 | | #15

        I get the message.  Have a safe trip!

        1. jatman | | #16

          Thank you very much, Spicegirl!


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