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Serger: fondue pot or microwave oven?

Sarah_Kayla | Posted in The Archives on

I have a lovely non computerized Pfaff sewing machine that I use 3-4 hours
a day. Should I buy a serger too ? What do folks use sergers for? How
often do you use your serger? Does your serger sit on the bottom of your
closet like a fondue pot? or would your life be more difficult without it?

I have been noticing ads for sergers that thread themselves with a puff of
air. They seem lovely, but expensive.Is that $2000 money well spent?

thanks for your help!!!



  1. Jean_ | | #1

    Sergers are wonderful for sewing on cotton knits for children's and sportswear. They seam and overcast at the same time for a professional looking finish. You don't have to spend $2000 to get a good one, but make sure you get one with a differential feed. Chain stitch and cover stitch are both pluses but not essentials. Good luck with your search. BTW, don't think a serger will replace your regular machine. I almost always use both on the garments that I make.

    1. Ghillie_C | | #2

      *Sarah,In another forum we have been trying to help a member who carved a hole in a pair of pants when her serger ran away. Sergers have KNIVES and are dangerous to know!I discovered a few years ago that a local high class dress designer/custom dress maker never used sergers on their clothes (which I snoop shop when I can). That was enough for me and I have crossed the idea off my wants list.However plenty of people seem to love them, I guess it just depends on what kind of sewing you do, and how carefully you look where you are going.Ghillie

      1. Debbie_Michels | | #3

        *Hi Sarah and Ghillie, I just caught your discussion about sergers and was a bit surprised with what I read. I know you can create absolutely beautiful garments without the aid of a serger, but I personally think it is like living with a type-writer when we live in an age when children use computers.I have done both and I perfer the computer. I use my serger right along side my Bernina and as with any tool, you must educate yourself if you want to feel the thrill of the ride! I suggest a few great test drives before you cancel out the chance to feel the wind in your hair.Debbie

        1. Sarah_Kayla | | #4

          *Dear Debbie -So what advantages does a serger offer over a sewing machine?Sarah

          1. Susan_Henker | | #5

            *Hello Sarah,I have two sergers and a sewing machine. I make a lot of my own clothes because I teach sewing and that is usually the first question that my students ask, "Did you make that?" I use my sergers for all my seaming on my knit tops and pants, most of my garments made of woven fabrics, and to add decorative trims and edgings. I bought my second serger to get the cover stitch and chain stitch functions because I had become bored with 2-3-4 thread stitching. I find that serger cuts my sewing time in half or more. I have a Stretch and Sew mock turtle neck pattern that I can finish within 1-1.5 hours using my serger to do all the construction and my regular machine to blind hem. Same goes for a pattern for pull on pants from Burda. Sorry this is so wordy, I guess I am very passionate about sewing.Susan

          2. Debbie_Michels | | #6

            *Hi Sarah, I guess you have had at least one response to your question. But I am not sure what your question is. I sew as a profession, and when my clients see me use my equipment they are always amazed. Simply put, a serger trims your seam and wraps the cut edges with loops of thread. I use my serger on all the garments I make, both to finish edges and improve the appearance of the inner garment. Simple examination of a mass produced garment will show you what I am writing about. You can go far beyond the simple explaination I have given and use a serger to beautify a garment with decoration as well. I hope this helps you.Please go give one a try...you don't need to invest a great deal of money to own and use a serger. Debbie

          3. Linda_H | | #7

            *Debbie -- Like Sarah, I'm thinking of getting a serger. Since you do a lot of sewing, I'm curious what make and model of serger do you have? I'm considering a Pfaff or Babylock but am definitely open to suggestions. Thanks. Linda

          4. Vicky_Isliefson | | #8

            *For anyone considering purchasing a serger, there is a great book by the "Singer Sewing Library" (one of those skinny black ones about 9" x 11") called "Sewing with an Overlock Machine" (or somthing close to that). I was able to get it from the local library to look at it. It outlines the different kinds of sergers and shows you what you can do with one. When I had the book, I showed it to my husband and told him it was my new "tractor" book (substitute car, boat, golf, snowmobile -- whatever your husband is nuts over). It took him a couple of minutes, but he got it! Anyway, my serger is one of the great tools in my sewing room.

          5. Debbie_Michels | | #9

            *Hi Linda, I have a Bernina funlock 006D. It is a very simple machine with 3/4 cones and I have had no trouble with it. Try out all the machines that you have an interest in and buy the one that you can "drive" the most comfortably. All are close in design, some are faster, some do more with reguards to stitch variations. I will buy a machine that does a cover stitch next. But for now, I am pleased with the performance I am getting. It is a personal thing like buying a car only not so expensive. Have fun. Debbie

          6. Mary_Harris | | #10

            *Hi Sarah,I purchased the Baby Lock Imagine last year. It threads with that puff of air and it is really easy to use. Either 3 or 4 cones. I purchased it on the Net from a place in Florida for about $650.00 without any extra stuff. What a great thing to have. I have a sewing machine as well, but use both of them when making clothes or costumes. The serger is great for keeping seams in tack that have a tenancy to fray like silks and some raw lines etc as well as just adding a finished touch to the garment as a whole. It cuts down on pressing seams out too. Take a trip down to your local fabric store and test drive a serger or two. See for yourself if it something you could use.

          7. Wendy_Wagner_Benes | | #11

            *I like your analogy and to answer your question, it is a microwave oven, not a fondue pot. The serger will not completely replace the standard sewing machine, but it will 1) cut your time in half and 2) create a garment that looks better on the inside. Other responders have focused on knits. It is true they are fabulous with knits - but I use my serger for everything. I would hate to have to go back to sewing a garment without one. I would hate how it looked in the end, and I would hate how long it took to make it.As others have mentioned, the more you educate yourself about how to use all the features of your serger, the happier you will be with it, and the more you'll use it.Advice others have given about the standard features to look for is good. Read up and try out a few to find one that has the features you need without the added expense of features you don't. (I think the puff of air self-threading is a bit silly - threading the serger isn't that hard if you just put in some practice. $2000 is REALLY expensive for a serger).

          8. Sarah_Kayla | | #12

            *To Everyone:Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. I have made an appointment with a friend to go serger shopping. I will let you know what I end up getting.Last night I cut out a skirt and I'm debating waiting to sew it until I have the serger in my house, On the other hand, It is HOT here and i need to wear something aside from jeans...Again, thanks for all of your thoughtful answers.Sarah

          9. Jan_Kerr | | #13

            *I bought some 300.00 Singer sergers for my sewing class, and never had a bit of trouble with them, and that's with 12-14yo's (boys and girls) working on them. You really don't need the TOL serger! That way you can have the serger and the fondue pot!

          10. Paula_White | | #14

            *I have and use 3 sergers, 2 are home models, and the other is a commercial machine. But it all depends on WHAT you are going to sew. Quilting- a straight stitch sewing machine it all you need. Tailering a lined jacket- you don't use a serger either [or not much]. But if your regular garment sewing is clothes that you plan to machine wash having those seams serged is a must. Most regular garments are best to be made with the aid of a serger. A serger never replaces the sewing machine. I also do some mass production garments in my home for a local business. These are totally constructed on the serger and then topstitched and zipper application with a straight stitch. Construction time for zipper front, standup collar, short sleeve, three back pocket, knit biker's jerseys is about 20 minuets. They sell these for $40.00 each, but I only get $4.00 per jersey. I bought this industrial serger from a garment factory that was closing [leaving the US to have their work done in Mexico] for $200.

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