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What sergers do you love?

Brenda1959 | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Hi all,

I am in the market for a new serger and am driving myself nuts trying to decipher what brand / model to buy. I loved the demonstration  of the Baby Lock Imagine I received at my local dealer, but then someone told me that I’d be nuts not to go for a Bernina serger. Of course there are so many other brands to consider also. I should tell you all that I have never used a serger before but I really, really want to. LOL, can anyone recommend one brand over another? I have been told that the tension controls on some machines require a masters degree to operate…, hmmm. Any suggestions / guidance would be so very much appreciated. Thanks


  1. Betakin | | #1

    You may like one brand serger over another just like you prefer one car over another. Features and ease of use by brand name may vary but they are designed to do the same thing. Just like cars..some sergers are noiser and may even vibrate..and need more oil.

    I suggest to check the reviews online by serger owners. PatternReview.com has many reviews and you will probably get some good reviews here on this thread in response to your question but IMO there is nothing like trying out the sergers for yourself at your dealer's to see which you feel the most comfortable using.

    I have owned several sergers of different brands and loved them all. Some models do have automatic tensions that never need adjusting, a time saving features where you just dial the stitch you need on the numbered stitch selection dial and the tensions are automatically set. Some models with the auto tensions cannot be adjusted if needed for special threads etc. while other brands can, you might wish to check this out first. Even some of the most expensive models might require much more tension adjusting while some less expensive and more basic models can usually do well with their tensions rarely needing adjusting except for certain types of varied stitches. Some models need a plate change to do a rolled hem where other models do not. Some coverhem models also take long to convert from regular serging to coverhem/chain stitch by having to go through many steps changing plates, feet etc. where some models do not.

    You will probably want at least a 4 thread serger with differential feed..most brands today have the DF and are 4 threads. There are also 5 thread sergers and 8 and 10 thread sergers for deco serging and of course cover hem and chain stitch. There are also coverhem only machines. I would read up on serging as much as possible and try out as many as I could before making a purchase. You will be able to check on the different brand websites about their different models, features and prices. Good luck in your choice. I hope you find a serger you will love using often and have fun in the process.

    1. Brenda1959 | | #4

      Hi Betakin,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your knowledge, experience, and obvious expertise. I truly appreciate it and feel more confident because of it in navigating the serger world now. Thanks again and take care!


  2. MaryinColorado | | #2

    I love my Husqvarna/Viking Huskylock 936.  I've had it for years and couldn't imagine life without this super machine.  The hardest part was learning to thread a serger, once I understood that, it is all a breeze to this day.  I do alot of creative serging with large threads and yarns so for me, this is the "Perfect" one.  I would buy the exact machine again.

    1. Brenda1959 | | #5

      Hi Mary,

      Thanks so much for your input and taking the time to pass on to me your thoughts and preference for sergers. I will take into consideration the Husqvarna/Viking during my research and will definitely include this make/model in a demo request at my nearest dealer.  Thank you again, happy 4th of July!


      1. MaryinColorado | | #7

        I hope you find a great machine and a great dealer.  They should give you free "know your machine" classes.  I like to buy the large manuals for my machines too, you usually have to ask for them, I think they are about $20.00 but have alot of info that just isn't in the little booklets that come with the machines. 

         If you go to http://www.husqvarna.com you can read about thier sergers and I also look at the presserfeet to see what new feet they have.  They have feet instructions you can print out and keep in a notebook.  I think the other companies might too.

        Happy 4th to you too!  Mary

  3. Saphire | | #3

    Many people have their prefrences for a brand but one thing to consider is which dealer you get it from.  If you have problems and need something fixed which one do you want to deal with?  With a repair it can mean the difference between getting it back in a week working or taking it back multiple times and each one taking more than a month. 


    1. Brenda1959 | | #6

      Hi Saphire,

      I was so surprised by the generosity of folks out there who took time to advise me regarding the world of sergers and yours, (advice) I will definitely pay attention to. I can see how the dealer can make or break you, (pun intended, lol). Thanks again,


  4. sewon | | #8

    I am really happy with my babylock imagine, because it is so easy to thread and change the needles.

    this is my 3rd serger - I started with a basic Kenmore and worked my way up, and this is the perfect machine for me.

    However, I have the imagine "wave" and never use the wave feature, so that wasn't a good investment.

    I also have a brother coverlock machine. I thought about buying a serger with coverlock feature, but decided that, since I would always use my imagine for serging, why pay for double duty. It was a good decision. 


    1. Brenda1959 | | #12

      Hi Sewon,

      I am so excited to have read your opionion of the Baby Lock Imagine, if you read my response to another Baby Lock Imagine owner, BorntoBead, you will quickly see why I feel positively breathless! LOL.

      But my confidence in my decision was only elevated by reading your thoughts on the Imagine, and for that I thank you, it is much appreciated.

      Take Care,


    2. blondielou | | #17



      I was ill, going through a move, divorce and remarriage and had bought my Imagine Wave and had not used it......


      So now I am opening it up and trying it out....  I have used sergers for a long time but only after my ex had set them up......he would thread them for me and perfect them to the fabric I wanted.....


      Now I have to learn how to do it all for myself......


      I have the DVD and the basic book.....unfortunately, where I bought it is over 50 miles away and would be very difficult to get them to have them go over the machine with me at this point (even if they would and when I asked, they were not interested at this point).  There is a closer place that sells them, would they show me?


      I am having difficulty in threading the upper looper and in threading with Wooly Nylon.  I have yet to get a good stitch (but then I never sew with cotton woven fabrics......always with cotton knit, cotton lycra, etc.)


      How do you recommend I go about learning how to do this?  Help, help, help!!!



      1. sewon | | #18

        I can help with the wooly nylon: I thread it as far as the little holes. Then I tie about 10" of regular thread to the end, making the knot very small. That way, it's the regular thread that goes through the airjet threading, and when you pull on it, then the wooly nylon comes through after it. Does that make any sense?

        Other than that, the one other piece of advice I have is that, when you bring your threads up and under the foot, the lower looper thread should be on top and the upper looper thread under it (it sort of wants to do that anyway)

        I don't check here at gatherings very often. My email address is below, please feel free to send me an email and I can try to help. I live in the boonies, we don't have any dealers of anything any closer than 2 days drive. I've found that it's really just a matter of understanding that these machines are not that complicated and then accepting that we are smart enough to figure them out.

        You can do it.


        [email protected]

      2. Ralphetta | | #19

        One of the reasons I recommend buying from a dealer is that your situation is not that unusual. Unexpected things pop up and prevent people from using their new machine or getting really comfortable with it. If you got it from a dealer you should be able to go back for a refresher class, etc. I hope your move wasn't so far that you can't do that.

        1. blondielou | | #20

          Thank goodness for the DVD that came with it!!!  It is very specific and helpful.....  The dealer is about 50 miles away and being ill with chronic headaches, migraine, failed neck surgery and fibromyalgia, that is beyond the scope.   There is a babylock dealer 5 minutes away......I may either go in acting like a new person wanting to know everything about it or telling them the truth......haven't decided!   Which would work better do you think?



          1. Crazy K | | #21

            Perhaps, the truth.  If the dealer is a reputable dealer, they should (note I said 'should') give you some assistance.  You have moved and are unable to go back to the original dealer.  That is the truth and if you tell them, they may honor it.  At least it's worth a try.

            My Husqvarna Viking dealer has let people in for free classes when they bought a machine and then had to make a move before completing the classes.........one lady even inherited a Designer SE and they let her go to the free classes since she lives in their area now.  It's worth a shot..........nothing ventured, nothing gained.

            I wish you well........btw, I have the Babylock Evolve and love it.  It is the easier serger to use and change and I have several.  My others are all quite user friendly but the Evolve is great.......and the quick-change sheet that I got is handy to have close by when changing things.  The video was good, too.


          2. Ralphetta | | #22

            Oh, I'm sorry that your are so far from your dealer. I think the last writer is probably right, be truthful. One of the reasons that I tell people to buy from a dealer is that a good one wants you to be successful and to keep sewing.

          3. blondielou | | #23

            I am just hoping that my closest dealer will be interested in me.....  If I am successful in serging, I would probably buy a lot of the accessory feet and possibly other items in their store.....


            Also, I would be more apt to look at them first for my next machine, this time a sewing machine.


            So, any dealer, SHOULD be interested in everyone.   As I don't work, I could go at non-peak hours that work best for them to have any one-on-one training.


            Has anyone bought/used the Imagine Wave Babylock's large workbook that you have to buy separately; and if so, what did you think of it and is it worth it?





          4. MaryinColorado | | #32

            I don't know about that brand, but I always buy the large manuals for each machine that I purchase.  They have had a wealth of information that was worth the price to me! 

            I love to serge and use my serger for everything from Heirloom sewing to fiber arts!  They are incredible machines.  Good luck, you will gain confidence with practice!  Mary

          5. sewon | | #40

            Someone asked about the babylock wave extra workbook.

            When I first bought my machine, a few years ago, I announced to the family that this would be a good Christmas gift, and I did receive it for Christmas.

            I read it once, found absolutely nothing helpful, and it has sat on the shelf ever since. I was particularly disappointed that this manual comes in a big three ring binder, giving the impression that there's lots and lots of info in there (it's sealed), but most of the binder is empty -presumably for you to fill it up with your notes. I think this is bad advertising.

            So, I would not recommend the high cost of this workbook to anyone.

            On the other hand, if someone still wants to buy it, I would be happy to sell mine at 1/3 the retail price plus shipping.

          6. blondielou | | #41

            How much is the Babylock Imagine Wave manual?


            What do others think.....did it help them?




          7. sewon | | #42

            It was a gift, so I don't know what it cost, and I don't live near any dealers so finding out the price wouldn't be easy. If anyone else can advise of the going price, then I'll sell mine for 1/3 of that plus postage. But I really want to stress that I didn't find it helpful.

        2. dollmarm | | #24

          Hey Ralphetta and ALL : I am one of those too that bought a Serger and moved. 

          While my husband was stationed in Germany many yrs. ago - I got one.  I actually wasn't looking to buy one but it was St. Patricks day and I wore a green tweed pants suits.  Each person was given a coupon and if you had Green on you got a double coupon and it was good for anything in the store !  TO make a long story short I bought the SINGER ULTRALOCK 14U64A I used it alot for a while and loved it.  WE traveled alot and moved so it went into storage.    I am now having complications with the threads knotting up under the foot plate.  I have taken it apart and cleared and cleaned and it will be fine for a while and again it started.  I was making a sexy nightie for a friend and I had to stop it wasn't working.   IN the midst of all that moving - I can no longer find the book on it.  Singer does have those Sewing book but they are so so basic and I find them not that helpful.  I really can not afford a new  one for now.   Do I  need to find someone to take a look at it?  OR should I contact Singer and tell them what machine I have and the complications?  We live out in the country so it is a trip going in town to ck' out someone.  Can any of you recommend a book that is great for all Sergers and helps in detail so I can take that area apart and see why it still keeps getting stuck. 

          Too most of the places close enough do not sell sewing machine.  The lady that I thought would be most helpful at the cutting table in Joanns knows nothing of the machines and even sewing clothes - she quilts and that is her expertise.  Sincere Thanks to any of you for help in right direction,  :~)

          1. Ralphetta | | #25

            I have the manual for the 14U64A. I could make a copy of it and mail it to you.

          2. dollmarm | | #26

            Wonderful  PTL great !!!  Do you like yours and have U had this same problem?  My email is [email protected] send me an email and I will give you my snail mail. Let me know what the copy cost is and I'll reimburse you.  WOW thanks, :~)

          3. Ralphetta | | #27

            I sent you an email, if you don't get it let me know here on this site.

          4. dollmarm | | #28

            Hey great - got it and U will not believe this !!!!  I found the Operator's Guide for the 14 U 64A !!   I was in a hidden part I had the Serger stored while moving things around.  I have this really neat covered carry bag for it and I placed bubble wrap around the top to cushion those top delicate pieces and it was up in back part of the pkg'.  I have 3 machine and have their guide all together with other guide books and it was not there and I just assume I had lost it through out our moves.  TOO I had opened this up before and not seen it - my Angel must have set it just right for me to see it.  :~) When U ask me in the email u sent to check out some things I totally took it out again and it loosened the bubble packing and it fell to the side !!!!  RAHOO  !!!!  I will send this to your email too!  Thanks again too.  I was told too that it could he the quality of the thread?  Not sure, but I did buy a bunch of different colors on clearance so....  Again thanks,  :~) have a great Easter,  :~)

          5. Ralphetta | | #29

            Fantastic! I was just relaying to you the list of things listed on the back page of the book.The pressure was something that I tend to forget to change/check. I hope the rest of your problems are solved as quickly.Can you solve my problems now and come clean out my basement?

          6. dollmarm | | #30

            Hahahahahahahaaa   I can't even afford me but I gotta'  teheeheee  :~)  Sure would be great to have a cleaning friendship group and we help each other clean, it sure would go a lot faster and not be so boring by yourself.   :~)  Thanks for all your help - I will take it out, clean it up and check it all out to see the whys and wherefore's of this machine.   I pray what ever is causing it - it will be soon be corrected and the problem eliminated.  Sincere thanks,  :~) Do you use our Serger much?   I used to and with moving I just kept in the bag. Now we should be settled, although hubby talks of one last move - closer to family.   (scream scream scream) :~)


          7. Ralphetta | | #33

            I haven't been able to do much sewing in the last few months. I've done some quick alterations from time to time. That's when I really love the serger. I frequently need to lower the crotch in RTW pants. I LOVE the serger because I don't have to rip any seams open, etc., I just stick the pants under the serger and wham! they're ready to wear. One day, shortly before leaving the house, I put on an expensive, bulky, long cardigan that I hadn't worn much recently. Staring in the mirror I realized that the armholes were big and the sleeves looked much too baggy and that's what made it look dated. The newer styles have slimmer sleeves and fit more snugly in the shoulders. I turned it inside out, marked new seams from the chest to the pit and then tapered down the arm, put it under the serger and ...ta da. I walked out the door wearing my newer, more fashionable sweater within about 15 minutes! that's just one reason I love my serger.

            Edited 3/22/2008 10:02 pm ET by Ralphetta

          8. dollmarm | | #37

            I am the same with not using mine as much.  With moving so much for years - it stated closed up more than it was used - I want that to stop very soon.  I have those Capri to make and ............  so many other mends that need the Serger. I stay busy with the family and I am re-desiging my Craft area and actually the whole Great room as soon as my hubby replaced the back door and windows so I am not as spread out as I would like to be.  I will take that machine apart using the guide and see if I can correct that thread issue.  Hey thats great on the cardigan correction,  tiz' wonderful when we can correct a problem so quickly and easily with one machine.

            Thanks for all your help,  :~)

      3. MaryinColorado | | #31

        Go to: http://www.sewingwithnancytv.com in the search box, click on "techniques" there are 3 serger videos with sound to watch with good instructions.  This works great if you have high speed internet, (if not, it takes more time and patience, but it worth it).

        The thing to remember with the upper looper, is to always thread it first.  When you thread the lower looper, the thread will actually go over the top of the lower looper.  Then thread the needles last. 

        You might be able to pay a fee to take "learn your machine" classes at a dealer. 

        Have you tried going to the website for your machine?  They might have a tutorial or instructions or an education place where you can write in your questions. 

        Hope this helps!  Mary

        oops!  I mis spoke.  There are some sergers that don't require specific thread order!  I'm an old dinosaur and haven't kept up with progress, sorry!!!  See the thread from Crazy K regarding your machine and hers!  Mary

        Edited 3/23/2008 3:20 am by MaryinColorado

        1. Crazy K | | #34

          Hi Mary,  I have a Babylock Evolve (the model just preceding the Wave) and it has the jet-threading feature.  I just re-checked the instruction book and there is no threading order with these (I was thinking that but double-checked to make sure!).  I have several sergers of different brands and I must say some are much more fussy with regard to threading.  The Evolve takes a lot of frustration out of looper threading!  I'm glad I started with an Elna and learned how to thread but the jet-air is really great!

          Just wanted to mention that........your post recommended the threading order but on these machines it isn't necessary...........

          Happy Easter!


          1. MaryinColorado | | #35

            Ooops!  Thanks for the heads up!  I didn't realize that there is a serger that thread order doesn't matter on.  It makes sense that this is finally addressed by the people who design them!  I haven't looked at sergers in the stores since I bought mine many years ago.  I don't necessarily go by thread order on mine because I know how to put the LL thread over the top of the UL.  How many threads does yours serge with?  I've often wondered if I'd enjoy more than 5.  There is always something new to learn here, it never ceases to amaze me.  How could anyone think sewing is boring?  They just don't know how much fun we are having!!!  Mary

          2. blondielou | | #38

            I just got into my Imagine Wave and love it.  I have had 3 other sergers but my ex always threaded them for me so when we divorced I had to buy one that I could learn how to thread (I have had a neck fusion and limited neck motion so I found moving my neck/head threading my old serger I just couldn't figure it out).......


            Even though my sergers could use 4 threads, I never used 4.....  I know Babylock sells one that has 8 I would never have any use for that (think of the cost of thread!). 


            I always use 3 and I sew seams with the 3.....both knits and wovens ....seams that withstand ballroom dancing.....  I sew using a lot of Wooly Nylon thread.   I also use a lot of the rolled edge stitch for hems with my full skirts.    I don't quilt or sew for children; perhaps for that you need 4 or more threads.....  3 has always worked perfectly fine for me.....



          3. MaryinColorado | | #39

            I'm so glad that you are able to use your serger now!  That's great news!  Happy sewing!  Mary

  5. Born2Bead | | #9

    I bought my Babylock Imagine this past February and I love, love, love it!

    I own a Bernina sewing machine so I started looking at their sergers first and comparing to the Babylock.  The automatic threading and never need to adjust tension completely sold me on the Babylock.

    I've been using it like a fiend since I got it and I have no regrets.  Hope that helps.


    1. Brenda1959 | | #11

      Thanks Born2Bead,

      It does help, alot actually. I happened to be flipping through my local newspaper yesterday and found myself dumbstruck by a newly posted ad....Baby Lock Imagine serger for sale, never used, $700!!!

      I made a bee line for the phone and told I was the first caller, (later found out that at least 24 other calls were received by the seller). Anyway, long story short, I bought it and already love it!!! And he wasn't exaggerating, it really does appear to be in new, never used condition. WOW, feel like I just won the lottery, so excited!

      Thanks for taking time out to respond to my question and happy serging.


      1. Born2Bead | | #13

        Brenda - I'm so excited for you!  What a steal!  I know you're going to love it.

        I'm thinking I paid about $1000 for mine new so it sounds like an excellent deal.  It will make you want to serge everything in sight!



  6. Crazy K | | #10

    I have two Janome's (one is the computerized Compulock; the other a little basic one); and Elna 744DEX which is my workhorse and I love it.  I also have the Babylock Evolve 8 thread.  It is the model before the wave stitch.  I love the Babylock in the ease of threading and changing from one stitch to another, however, I use my Elna for most serging and the Babylock is used mostly for coverstitch.  Yes, a big investment for just the coverstitch but my Elna is 10 years old and I figured I may as well have a replacement for that in the event that she dies.  I love them all........perhaps for different reasons but they're all great.

    Hope that helps.

  7. fabricholic | | #14

    I have to agree with Mary. I love my Husqvarna Viking 936. I am not an expert like Mary, but it is nice and smooth.

    1. MaryinColorado | | #36

      Oh you are too kind!  I'm just a gal with the urge to serge!  I'm like a kid with a favorite toy.  I wish I had the patience and discipline to learn how to do the proper fitting for my own figure.  It's my major downfall in sewing.  I was spoiled all those years when I was tiny and learned how to make everything smaller.  I seem to have an aversion to making things bigger.  That could be denial!  ha ha 

      I am wrong about having to thread all sergers in the same order,  it seems I haven't kept up with the latest technology.  I like to "keep my ear to the ground" even though I am still totally satisfied with my 936!  Mary

  8. User avater
    matzahari | | #15

    I currently own two elna sergers (both four thread) and they are amazing never fail machines. I had a bernina for a while but found it impossible to work with and very very noisy. Eventually I sold it on ebay. If I had to replace my elnas (744 and 614)  I would go for a programmable elna or one of the self threading babylocks.

    Once I finally owned a serger I wondered how I ever  lived without it. sometimes i  use the serger for everything but the topstitich sewing.

    what I strongly suggest once you buy one is to thread and rethread it dozens of times so you fee completely comfy with it. also thread it with 4 or 5 different colors at once so you can see the interchange of the threads and come to understand what happens with difference tensions.

    Once you make friends with it, it will be one of your best sewing buddies.

    1. Crazy K | | #16

      I have an Elna 704Dex Plus and I love it.  Mine is 10 years old and I've never had any trouble.......except a few time there was 'operator error'!! LOL  When I first got it I was too far away for lessons so my 'lesson' was about 10 minutes long in the store.  Well, I sweat blood a few times getting it threaded correctly but I would always get it somehow.  After using it I couldn't imagine sewing without it!  I also have a Babylock Evolve that I've had about a year and a half.  It's a dream to thread and use.  I still use the Elna for most things however...........it is my workhorse!

      Happy Serging!


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