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Thinking about getting a Serger

txgrammy | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

This is my first time here. I am thinking about getting a serger but know absolutely nothing about them.  I have a Janome machine (about 10 years old) I use for basic sewing I do for the grandkids. But would like to have the option of serging. Any ideas of what to look for? Thanks for any help!


  1. CLeoCre8 | | #1

    You'd want to invest in a 3-4 thread serger. I've got a white superlock 2000 which I really like, it opens up nicely to be able to thread it plus mine came with extra attachments that have come in handy. I had been around sergers for years since my grandmother had been a seamstress however since she wasn't around anymore for me to pick her brain I signed up for a serger course which wound up opening my eyes as to all that a serger does (it doesn't only serge!! wow!) There isn't much that I haven't tried with my serger. I wouldn't want to sew without one now. 


    1. txgrammy | | #4

      Thanks, Cleo, for the info. I will check out the White Sergers if possible. I have been hearing about them for so long and figure as much sewing as I want to do for the grandkids it would make it much easier and faster eventually.

      Anyways, I appreciate your sharing. It's always good to hear from people who have been there already.


      1. txgrammy | | #11

        Thanks to all of you for your ideas on the sergers. I am looking at the Janome 644D. I am away from home helping my hubby take care of his mom and there is a dealer here. They tell me that it is a good machine and will do all I think I want, which since I don't know enough about them yet sounds good to me. They are asking $399. I have looked online and that is a good price, down from $799. The lady there has been sewing and serging for better than 20 years and seems to know what she is talking about. She said this machine ranks up there with the middle to top of the line. Anyone know about Janome sergers? I have a Janome sewing machine and have really enjoyed it.

        Thanks again and God bless. Txgram

        1. Ckbklady | | #13

          I just read down the discussion and saw that you are considering the 644D - an emphatic yes from me! That is the new version of the one I have (534D) and it is wonderful! (and the price you are being quoted is good)

          In my first note, I forgot to add that on my machine (and likely on the 644D too) there is one tricky spot in the threading process. To solve this, I bought a little box of dental floss threaders (they're blue, very strong, stiff plastic loop gizmo, found in the denture care aisle in the drugstore) and used those - you thread the serger thread into the loop of the blue dental threader and then pass the skinny, stiff blue dental threader through the channel on the machine. Painless. A box of 30 dental floss threaders was $2.50, and they have lasted me a decade. They never break, tear or fray, so I bet I will have this box of them forever.

          :) Mary

          1. loomchick | | #14

            For anyone considering the purchase of a serger, I thought I'd just pass along that Hancock Fabrics has a sale starting on Wednesday for the Janome 9102D serger for $279.99 . . . I have not used this serger . . . although, I've used other Janome products and have been very pleased.

          2. withay | | #15

            I love my serger and it's just an inexpensive one purchased at Walmart. Still going 6 years later and only been to the shop once even though I use it constantly. I wonder how I got along before I got it. It makes everything look so much more professional. Sewing on knits is a breeze with a serger. The one thing I would recommend is to make sure the one you choose is easy to thread. I have seen some that are a nightmare to thread and that would discourage you from trying all of the wonderful things that can be done with a serger. I checked some books on serging  out from the library and then bought the ones that were most helpful. I encourage anyone who uses their sewing machine for more than light mending to consider adding a serger.  

  2. TSews | | #2

    I recommend visiting your local sewing store and taking a look at the sergers.  Sign up for a class.  I'm not aware if you'll be able to test the serger out before you buy-I imagine you can.  I bought a serger via mail order.  I could NOT for the life of me get it threaded.  I spent an entire weekend watching the video that came with the machine.  I decided if I couldn't figure out how to thread the thing after wrestling with it for an entire weekend I'd better send it back & get my money refunded.  The machine I bought came with long tweezers you needed to use to thread it.  I wear glasses & I've noticed my eye sight is diminishing so I decided I'd better just stick to my sewing machine.   I don't mean to discourage you I'm just sharing my experience.  In the future if I ever get the urge to buy a serger I'm definately going to sign up for a class.  I've heard of "self threading" sergers.  I have no idea how those work. 

    1. txgrammy | | #3

      Thanks for the info. I will definately check into a class. I am going to go look at some while out of town this weekend.  Have a great week. And thanks again.

  3. raven99 | | #5

    After sewing for about 20 years and considering getting a serger for about ten, i finally broke down and bought a serger about 5 years ago and I wish i had bought one sooner! I bought a 5-thread machine so I can sew the seam with a chain stitch and finish the raw edges at the same time--what a time-saver! Mine is a mechanical machine (not computerized) I figured I'd get something basic since I didn't know how much I'd actually use it. While I am happy with it, I wish I had gone the extra mile and bought one that also does a cover stitch for hemming. Definitely take some classes with the machine. Most dealers offer classes as part of the purchase price of the serger. By the way, when you go to the classes, bring some of your own fabric that you most typically use, and insist that they teach you using those fabrics, and pay special attention to balancing the stitches. In fact, its not a bad idea to bring your own fabric and have the dealers demo their machines with your fabric too, before you buy.

    Buy the serger, I doubt that you'll regret it.


    Edited 8/5/2005 7:09 am ET by marionc

    1. Lorna123 | | #6

      Hi, I have had three sergers.  My first was a Frister Rossmann (I don't know if you have them in the US; I'm in the UK) which was problematic to say the least.  My second was a top-of-the-range Pfaff and again, it was difficult.  Sometimes it would take me two hours to get it to stitch reasonably, despite it being serviced regularly, and the threading was a nightmare.  This year I decided to treat myself to a Babylock Imagine Wave and it's a dream machine.  It's easy to thread, has automatic tension (wonderful!) and serges beautifully.  It wasn't the cheapest machine around but it was worth the money.  As it is so easy to use I find I use it much more than my previous machines.  The only thing I haven't tried is the fancy Wave effect, but it only cost about £10 more than a machine without it so I decided to go for it on the premise that I might use it one day, when I have the time.


      Happy serging!

      1. raven99 | | #7

        Hi Lorna, I've been hearing really good things about the Babylock machines lately. I checked out the Babylock Imagine Wave machine online and it does indeed look like a dream. I do love the idea of the jet air threading and automatic stitch balancing... do those features really work as advertised?Marion

        1. Lorna123 | | #9

          Hi Marion, I've only had my machine for a few months but it certainly does everything Babylock say it does with ease.  I couldn't be more pleased with it.








        2. woodruff | | #16

          I have a Babylock Imagine (not the Wave, which my Babylock dealer didn't love, at least not the first year they were out). Anyhow, I love the Imagine! After years spent fooling with the threading and the tension problems of cheaper models, I am delighted beyond words with this machine. It makes serging a joy.

          1. loomchick | | #17

            When I purchased my first serger over two years ago, a friend of mine recommended a book titled "The Ultimate Serger Answer Book" . . . Not only did it help acquaint me with serging in general, it also introduced, in clear and simple examples, how to trouble shoot different problems . . . Even though I use my serger a lot, can change threads quickly (by releasing the thread tension completely, tying on the new thread to the old, and pulling the threads through), and have grown proficient in re-threading my serger . . . I still find myself referring to this book.I believe there's also a video now . . . I found my copy at my local fabric store, but I also see it's available through Nancy's Notions.

  4. pingu812 | | #8

    I bought a serger about a month ago, and like you I didn't know which one of the many sergers to purchase. I had people telling me to purchase one from Wal-Mart, to the White 2000, to the Baby-Lock machine. I looked on the web and really liked the baby-lock sergers, but it was more than I could afford. I also read on some sewing sites, that on some of the less expensive sergers, there are problems with the tension holding. I ended up going in the middle and purchase a Husyklock 905, which is a 4-thread serger. I purchased the machine at a local dealer, I wanted the hand-holding if needed and if something goes wrong, I have someone to bring it back to.

    Good luck researching, but if I had the money, I would had looked at the Baby-Lock machines.

  5. loomchick | | #10

    I have a White Speedylock I bought on sale for about $150 . . . a really good price.

    This serger has a couple of features I really like . . . first, it has a thread catcher . . . this came in very handy recently when I was at a sewing party to help sew a large number of name tags for a conference . . . I was one of the people serging . . . and the only one not to have everything going directly onto the floor . . . second, it has a free-arm feature . . . this is handy for serging around small tubular shapes like cuffs . . . although, I make lots of wine bags and it's been a very handy feature.

  6. Ckbklady | | #12

    Hi there!

    I bought a Janome MyLock 534D used from a friend years ago and was delighted to find that it took the regular sewing machine needles (Schmetz)- that saved me plenty. Janome also had a very easy-to-understand video that had me threading it in a snap. The special feet available for Janome machines are also mind-boggling - great for one's gift list.

    I would absolutely recommend a 4-thread serger - you can always thread only 2 or 3 channels for special effects. To get familiar with the machine you buy, I would suggest that you buy four differently colored serger thread cones (bright colors like red, yellow, green and blue) and place them on the spools (or buy 3 cones if your serger only holds a maximum of 3 cones). Then I would take small colored dot stickers that match the colors of the four thread cones and stick them at each threading location on the body of the machine. It's a quick and easy way to learn the threading, which is nowhere near as hard as some say. It takes practice, but as long as you match the thread to the color of the dots, you'll get the hang of it quickly. So many serger seams are hidden in projects that the bright thread will not be wasted later on.

    Once you have the machine threaded, take a piece of white cotton and start to practice serging -the four colored threads really help you learn how to adjust tension for each one and to learn what each thread does. I did this in a serger class years ago and left the stickers on my machine, they were that helpful!

    You'll love serging - it will make all of your projects sturdier. Sewing shows start to pop up this time of year and can net you great "show special" deals on a machine you have read about and/or tested in your local store.

    Have fun hunting for the right serger!

    :) Mary


    Edited 8/22/2005 12:09 pm ET by Ckbklady

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