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Serger confusion

ladymary | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Hi. I’m Lady Mary, and this is the first time I’m signing into this bulletin board.

After years of sewing, I’m finally in the market for a serger, but am very confused about which one to buy.  I do a lot of period costuming and home decorating sewing.

I’m hoping there are experts out there who can make some suggestions!

Thanks for your help.

Lady Mary




  1. carolfresia | | #1

    Hi, Lady Mary,

    If you can hang in there another couple of months or so, Threads will answer all your questions. We have an article on sergers and serger-sewing coming up; it should be out in July. It will help you decide what features you'll need for the kinds of sewing you do, and will include a comparison chart listing the features of many sergers on the market now.


    1. ladymary | | #2

      Carol --  Thanks for your response.  I will be HAPPY to wait for the July issue, as the article you describe sounds like exactly what I need to know.

      Thanks again.


    2. mgm | | #3

      Carol,  will the article describe in detail the features and stitiches of the newer sergers?  i.e. 5 & 8 thread machines.  I'm particularly interested in how things like cover, flat-lock and chain stitches work and how they compare from machine to machine.


      1. carolfresia | | #4

        I haven't read the article yet, but its working title is "Understanding Sergers," so I hope it does contain that information!! It is slanted to help readers understand what sergers can do for their sewing, in order to guide them in selecting features they'll find useful, and also provides a chart listing sergers and their features. We did not test and compare all the models (there are way too many for that), so you'll have to test-drive machines on your own (which is always advisable in any case), but this should help you narrow the field before you head out to your dealer.


    3. Bobbiesue | | #10

      I just bought the July Threads and can't find the serger article. I am thinking about buying a serger and am clueless. Before I sit with a salesperson, I want to know what to look for, stitches and other things. Is the article coming in the next issue?



      1. carolfresia | | #11

        Yes, and I'm sorry for the confusion. The article is in issue No.108, which is the Aug/Sept issue--but it will be available on the newsstand in July. So you've got a couple more weeks to wait, but it will be around soon!


        1. Bobbiesue | | #12

          Thanks I will be looking forward to it.


  2. joress | | #5

    I think Sew News this month also has a serger article, but it sounds like the article in Threads might give better advice on using the serger. I'm looking forward to reading that article next month!

    1. carolfresia | | #7

      Thanks for the heads-up. I haven't gotten my copy of Sew News yet; will have to keep an eye out. The more info. the better, I think--hope both articles will be helpful to serger buyers.


  3. DianeN8 | | #6

    Hi.  I've had 3 sergers. The first two I bought used, and of the two the Pfaff Hobbylock was the nicest and most reliable.  I have now traded up to a Babylock Evolve, and couldn't be more pleased.  There is no hassle with adjusting tensions, the nightmare of everyone who ever serges. True, this is a more expensive machine, but it is such a relief not to mess with the tensions!  Here's what I've learned in my serger journey:  Try them out in the store. Then plan to take the lessons offered.  I think it would be very difficult to figure out a serger by yourself. Don't be afraid to ask dumb sounding questions. Then sit in front of your serger and practice what you've learned before you try sewing a garment.  If you purchase a serger that requires adjusting tensions, use a different, bright colored thread for each looper and thread. That way you can tell what is giving you a problem.  Start a card file. As you practice, use scraps of different kinds of fabric, then tape a small sample of the fabric and stitch on the card and jot down where you set the tensions. Later, when you're sewing a garment, you can refer to that card as a starting point for setting tensions.  And think about the kind of sewing you do to determine what kind of stitches you want a serger to make.  I like the ones that can do the coverstitch because it makes great hems.Many sergers do not offer this.  Good Luck!

    1. carolfresia | | #8

      Two more tips: First, take a class or two from the dealer or elsewhere to learn how to use the features of your serger. The learning curve can be a bit steep with thes multi-thread/multi-functional machines, and it's great if you can spend a few hours and walk away feeling comfortable with your equipment.

      Next: take a look at the Basic column in issue 106, which is about setting serger thread tensions. This was written byt someone I took a one-day serger workshop with, and it's a really easy, straightforward way to check that your tensions are all where they should be. Even a basic machine is a cinch to set if you follow her guidelines.


      1. JulieP25 | | #9

        Thanks, I too am looking for a new serger to replace my old 3/4 thread no differential feed nightmare. I'll wait for threads article to come out, now that I know. Threads always has great info and is a great magazine. I cherish each issue. Jules

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