THings to look in a Serger
Hi, I am thinking of getting a serger,the problem being I don’t know what to look for. The basic requirements being that I would love to sticth knits without stretching, sew swimwear, be able to edging,rolled edging. any one has suggestions. Thanks for the help.
I just got a new serger for Mother's Day, my husband bought me the Simplicity serger (Frontier, I think) on the costco website. It's my 2nd serger, and I'm really happy with it. It has better features than my original serger, like a differential feed that controls the feed dogs for working with very lightweight fabrics or single layers. I used the rolled hem plate once so far, and got a beautiful result. The best part of all, and the most surprising for me, was what a bargain it was. Only $225 with shipping, and it comes with a video and a manual. If you're a costco member, you should take a look.
You could spent 200 or 6000 on a serger. But for most people the 6000 models are ridiculous. You definitely want:
~differential feed. This is what allows you to sew "knits without stretching." I think most any serger has this now.
~adjustable cutting width and stitch lengths
~for rolled hemming you want to make sure you can easily turn that feature on. Some sergers I've seen require you to change the presser foot or needle plate before making a rolled hem. That will be annoying after awhile.
For me, those are the basics. Some sergers allow you to make 2-thread rolled hems also. I had one of those and it was nice if I wanted a tiny, tiny, miniscule rolled hem. But the model I have now is more sturdy and even though it doesn't have the two thread capability I haven't missed it.
One other thing you might want to consider is the "profile" of the serger, in the area around the needle. My previous serger was large, shaped almost like a sewing machine. I'd thought that things would be easier to handle that way. But I was wrong. My serger now is much smaller and it is noticeably easier to turn curves .
Probably no matter what serger you end up with, you are going to wonder how you lived without it. So you really can't lose!
$6000? What serger is that? I work for a dealer, we're not the cheapest game in town but even our top of the line models in either brand are half that at full MSRP!
It's true that serger prices span a large range though, and silkscape has given you some key things to consider. Differential feed (the ability to feed fabric at different rates to prevent stretching or deliberately stretch for effect) is a feature that's now found on even more basic machines where that wasn't always the case. Rolled hem conversion or conversion to other stitches is something to consider. I work on some models that do not require a chang of foot, needle plate, very little to do to convert.... but lower end models may require more steps, part of the higher prices as you go up the line in models is for convenience - like power windows on a car rather than manual rollups. Ease in threading is another consideration. I know some people with sergers that are particularly difficult to thread and they never rethread - they tie on thread when they want a different color, but if they have to rethread it's a pain. I can't tie on well and find it much easier to rethread from scratch but my serger's exceptionally easy to thread (not one of the jet air threading models either!) Before making a decision I would have a dealer walk me through threading some step by step. You may decide you'd rather save $ and invest the time in a more complex threading/stitch conversion system, or decide you'd rather spend more for something you may use more due to ease in use/conversion.
I read two books cover to cover before shopping for my first serger almost 10 years ago, one was Chris James' "The Complete Serger Handbook", the other was Singer Sewing Reference Library's "Sewing with a Serger". They give excellent information on what all a serger can do - so I knew to ask "how do you do this or that" - to see how I had to convert to a rolled hem for example - and they also give many creative uses for the various stitches as well as extensive troubleshooting help for when your machine's not forming stitches just as you think it should.
Good luck with your new purchase!Karen
The serger I was thinking about, that was thousands of dollars, had eight threads, jet air threading (might as well buy a jet) and was computerized. I looked it up...the Evolve I guess. You are right, it's only around $3000. I could swear it was more, maybe it was when it first came out. or maybe I was thiinking of an embroidery machine I also looked at that day (about 2 years ago?)
In any case, I don't mind threading too much either so I wouldn't pay for the jet threading. I also wouldn't pay for computerization b/c I'm a person who's good with instruction manuals anyway. I'm not sure serger computers do anything more than give you the manual on a screen, do they? I mean, they are not like on sewing machines where you can manipulate, upload, and program stitches.
A lot of sergers, when I was looking for my second serger a couple years ago, claimed to provide automatic tension adjustments. I'm not sure I'd trust that. And I would never want a serger that didnt' allow me to manually manipulate tensions easily, if there is such a thing.
I think that if you are a person who needs personal guidance/instruction then you'd definitely want to go with a dealer for a serger. That didn't matter to me and I like Kenmore sewing machines a lot so I took a chance on the Kenmore serger and I wasn't sorry.
Edited 9/10/2006 9:04 pm ET by silkscape
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