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westbrook

Serges; Help!!!!!

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Some of us have sergers, some know how to use them, some have them hiding away in a closet to afraid to open the box. There are others that would love to have one and still others that don't know what a serger is.

 

Here is a thread just for us! If you need help please, just ask. You are not alone! that serger sitting in your closet? get it out! it is time to learn to use it.

 

Napkins make a great gift and are so easy to do! want to make matching place mats?

 

T-Shirts are a snap using your serger! and you can assemble a quilt in a day!

 

If you have a link for any serging technique please post them.

 

 

 

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Your trying to cost me money Westie? grin

 

 

 

wormie

John

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Now Wormy....

 

is your wife wanting a serger? no worming your way out of this one! she now knows she has help!

 

I have some recommendations for sergers and some not to buy!

 

Look at it like buying a tool! would you do with out a tool you needed? I bet not! well... a serger is a tool much like a sewing machine. Now if I had a choice between a serger or a sewing machine, I would take a sewing machine because a serger doesn't replace a sewing machine but rather it is like a BIG attachment.. though it stands alone.

 

A serger does not do button holes, zippers, you can sew in the middle of the fabric with a serger! but it does finish edges, sews knits (hint, hint, t-shirts made to order!), does rolled hems, puts a pretty finished edge on fleece, handles heirloom sewing nicely and in half the time and so on.

 

Mrs. WormWoman, just keep elbowing Wormy in the side!

 

oh to answer your question.. no I am not trying to cost you money! I am trying to help those that have spent or are wanting to spend the money on one get their monies worth! >smile<

 

oh and I have my favorite serger and it is under $300!

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I have a serger. She hates me. I walk by and I hear her hiss. OK, things are a little better now. But it is a beast of a different color for sure. I have TONS of questions as soon as I get my head out of turkey mode.

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Basically, like sewing machines, sergers all operate the same. Some have knobs, some dials, some slides to do tension adjustments.

 

Some you need to change a needle plate, slide a button/know, or remove a stitch finger to do a rolled hem. I just found a machine that does not do a rolled hem but rather a similar look by rolling the edge up rather then down... weird!

 

Some machines do only 3 thread, some 4, some 5, some do a only a 3 or 4 stitch, some do a 2,3,4 and others do a 3+2. Yes there are those that do an 8 or 10 stitch--- be still my heart!

 

but all in all they all do the same thing! cut and knit/sew the edge.

 

When looking at a serger, panic sets in... so many things going on inside! but let's not look at it as a whole but rather, look at each thread path, one at a time.

 

A serger has a whole new vocabulary to learn. Loopers, needles, tensioners or tensions, stitch finger, differential feed, stitch length, stitch width, knife or blade, tree or telescoping pole, and more. But that is all it is! it is a new vocabulary.

 

Loopers - there are two loopers;

 

Upper Looper which is also written as UL and always threaded first (only 1 machine I know of that threads second.. check your manual)

 

Lower Looper which is also written as LL and is thread second.

 

What do Loopers do? the Upper Looper (UL) loops the thread on top of the fabric edge.

 

The Lower Looper (LL) loops the thread on the underside of the fabric.

 

And now you know why they are called Loopers! do you know how many sales people don't know that! >rolls eyes<

 

Moving on to the needles. If you have a 3 thread serger there is only 1 needle. Usually referred to as the Right Needle (RN) and a 4 thread serger has 2 needles.. a Right Needle (RN) and a Left Needle (LN).

 

As the loopers are forming loops on the top and bottom of the fabrics edge, the needles come down and stitch them in place.

 

So one can say that a serger isn't really sewing but rather knitting the thread in place.

 

Now you know that a serger has an UL (upper looper), LL (lower Looper), a RN (Right Needle) and a LN (Left Needle).

 

about 5/8 of an inch before the needles stitch the loops in place is a knife or blade. Sometimes I have heard it referred to as a Knife Blade, I use them interchangeably.

 

You feed the fabric under the presser foot, the knife buts the fabric and then it is serged together.

 

Because of this knife you can't serge in the middle of the fabric. there is also no reverse on a serger. It just goes forward!

 

So back to the knife... because this knife is in the way, you can't just lift the presser foot and place the fabric in. Rather you leave the presser foot down and feed the fabric under the foot so the knife blade is able to cut the fabric first.

 

There are some exceptions to this rule and we will get to them later on. One of the exceptions is when serging a circle such as a place mat.

 

The stitch that the serger makes looks like a chain, and it is often referred to as 'chain off' or a tail. When serging you will create a tail of about 6 inches before serging and when you are finished, you will chain off about 12 inches leaving about 6 inches on the machine and 6 inches at the end of the fabric.

 

This tail will be woven back into the fabrics serged edge to finish the end. This is done by using a blunt edge large eyed needle or a dental flosser (more on this later).

 

The stitch is formed on what is called a Stitch Finger. It is a little finger that sticks out on or under the needle plate. When serging with out fabric in the machine, look where the needle does down and you can see it being formed.

 

You have the ability to make the stitched wider or narrower by moving the knife blade over one way or the other. This means that the knife is taking more or less of of the fabric when cutting it off. You do have the ability (in 99% of the machines) to move the blade out of the way and not to cut the fabric. The width is the distance between the edge of the fabric and to the left of the raw edge... the right side being no fabric.

 

The length of the stitch can also be adjusted to create a satin looking stitch which is fun when using decorative thread on the edge of a place mat or the edge of fleece. Or your stitch length can be made to be very wide and long (the distance between stitches).

 

And then there is the Differential Feed (DF). This is the feed dogs. Feed Dogs move the fabric. A DF (Differential Feed) has two feed dogs, one in front and one in back. They move at different rates. This means that the one in front will move faster to feed the fabric in faster and the back moves slower. This function helps keep the fabric from getting stretched and making it wavy. This is a problem when using fabric that stretches like knit.

 

If your machine doesn't have a DF (Differential Feed), then when serging stretchy fabric, you will need to go a little slower and gently push the fabric forward.

 

A tree or telescoping pole is the pole that you pull up on.. hence telescoping, and is used as a thread guide. Often times if there is a problem serging.. it is because that was forgotten that it needs to be extended to its highest point.

 

Last and the most scary is the Tensioners or Tension Controls! I am not sure why these simple little controls are so scary but this seems to really put people off. The tension controls can be knobs you turn, dials you move around or slides that slide up and down. No matter which one your machine has they all do the same thing.

 

Tensioners change the pressure put on the thread as it passes through. In most cases the lower the number the looser the tension so it goes the higher the number the tighter the tension that is place on the thread. Tension discs are just that.. discs.

 

In a sewing machine we are told not to 'mess' with the tension dial (not true when getting into twin needle stitching or decorative threads). In a serger it is a MUST to continually adjust the tensions. It is nothing to be afraid of but if you keep a sample of the stitches you do and on the different types of fabric, it becomes a breeze to change threads, fabrics, and type of stitch desired on a serger. This includes any mistakes you make! these are also to be included in your sample notebook.

 

If you have come this far in your reading. You just got an Introduction to Sergers Class.

 

I wonder how many people will google or yahoo Intro to Sergers and find Mrs. Survival?

 

If you have come upon Mrs. Survival we welcome you! take a look around. There more to this site then my little lesson. We are a group of people that are preparing for any unforeseen circumstances in our lives. Whether it is earthquake, flood, snow or ice storm, hurricane, unemployment, family member moving in or illness, we are about preparing for those times when these emergencies could happen.

 

We welcome you to our family and hope the information is helpful.

 

My Motto;

 

Preparedness Is Empowerment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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So... I am ready! we will have you serging in no time!

 

get the serger out and find a place to set it up.

 

Look at the tension dials.. do they have colors on them? blue, red, orange, yellow? (can be green, purple, or any other combinations of colors) or no color? when you open the front door is there colors of thread showing how to thread the machine?

 

Put the same color thread on each thread spool. You need to match the color of the thread to the color corresponding to the tension/thread guide.

 

If you machine doesn't have any colors.. pick 4 (or 3) colors that contrast... such as Red, Blue, Green, Purple, or Blue (turquoise is ok too), green, yellow and red or similar combinations.

 

When at the store go down the toothpaste isle, look on the wall for dental floss. There is a Dental Flosser made by G.U.M. or Bulter.

http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.a...=BUY-PLST-0-CAT

This is to thread your loopers and when using Textured Nylon also known as Wooly Nylon or other heavier decorative threads this little tool makes it a breeze to thread!

 

 

and while down the isle pick up a pack of these or similar

http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.a...=BUY-PLST-0-CAT

this is to help clean your serger! This little spiral brush will get into all those little places to pull out lint.

 

I also use an artist paint brush, just a small one I got from the kids room.

 

Tweezers are a must!!! why? because if you have to move from right to left to thread through a stationary section of your serger, the tweezers really become an extension of your fingers. Joann's has them on the wall for about $5.00.

 

Find a three ring binder and if you can pick up sheet protectors. I found them at wal-mart really cheap. I think there was 50 for $3.00 (under actually). This is to slip your serger form with attached sample to it into the protector and then placed into the notebook.

 

oh goodness.. I gotta run! see you all on Monday!

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Originally Posted By: WormGuy
Your trying to cost me money Westie? grin
wormie
John


Originally Posted By: westbrook
Now Wormy....
is your wife wanting a serger? no worming your way out of this one! she now knows she has help!...


If I recall correctly, WormGuy sews! So, uh, maybe the serger would be for the Mr, not the Mrs. happy02

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Why didn't I ever think of the dental floss threader ?? Good idea, thanks ! The threader to one of my sergers broke and they don't make them anymore. I tried different ones from the fabric store and none of them seem to work. Will try the floss threader. I have a lot of them.

Sergers are so great for lots of projects. You can easily make cloth napkins and tablecloths. I serge my ravelling towels to make them last longer, or cut up towels and make my own washcloths or dishcloths.

You NEED a serger, not want one.

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I am thinking about getting Mrs Wormie a serger for Christmas, again. She says she's not ready for one but I know she would like it. So, give me your recomendations as what to get or not get. I have no clue so be gentle. grin

 

 

 

wormie

John

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Well...she won't be very surprised when you give it to her since she'll have read all about it here. smile

 

I have a CHEAP Brother brand serger bought at Wallywoild years ago. My advice...avoid the thing like the plague!!! It's junk. At the time, we thought it would be a good learning tool until I was ready to upgrade, but the truth is that it is so limited in it's capiblities that I found myself frustrated. Plus, there was no one to help me learn what I was doing with it. The manual is a joke. You'd be much better off going to a certified shop and getting a warrented/guarenteed (Sp) machine. The tension disks on mine are aluminum and when I used nylon thread in it, I ruined them. This week the belts started slipping and it spit out a looper needle, so I'll be wasting more money getting it back up and running. Please, do her a service: Buy Quality.

If you buy from Bernina, Pfaff or Viking, they'll give her classes with it. It'll cost you more, but it'd be worth it to have some usable features (2-3-4 thread, rolled hem, overcasting, etc). Even if she thinks she doesn't need extra features, once she learns to use it, she want them.

Good Luck!

 

 

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OlMama - I think we have the same machine...makes a wonderful doorstop, doesn't it?!?! rofl Only mine was bought at Costco in 1991. Yep...big, heavy, noisy...ugh. DarleneSwoon

 

Westie - thanks so much for that Lesson 1. It took me a few months to realize all that...and even when we talked over Darlene's serger, I finally *understood* loopers...I dunno why it never clicked before.

 

I'm saving my wishing money for one of those new Air-thread sergers. I know they cost around $1200 on sale, but they seem to be the best...I know you're sold on that what - Viking? White?

 

When mine was brand new (I was going to say before it was a pain in the b*u*t*t, but it always has been), I used the life out of it for years. Now that I've gotten a career, and a Pfaff that does all but cut the fabric, I don't use it as much. I believe that if I had one that worked better, I would use it more.

 

Keep the lessons coming, Westie! I know I'll learn something new!

 

 

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I have a Huskylock (Viking) 936 --- shrug

 

not my kind of a machine. I don't care for the automatic settings. I prefer having the ability to fine tune my stitches. I love my cheapo White 2000 (the new model is the 2900). Janome bought them out! getting rid of the competition.

 

I have thread many machines and this white 2900 is a dream!

 

I have 8 sergers and all med to high range and my favorite is this el cheapo white! threading is a breeze!

 

the air threading is ok, but to thread a heavier weight thread is a bit tricky! you just can't thread it, you have to thread it with standard thread, loop the other thread and pull it through.

this tells me it isn't really made for the more exotic threads.

 

I am looking at the Juki now... probably won't get it since I need to get rid of my others... except my white.

 

more later when I am not so tired.

 

 

 

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I have an old White, too. It is the best. I have a Babylock, too, but the White seems to be better. Had it for 20 years or so, only have had to change the cutter on it. No other repairs ever.

I have heard from others the air threading ones are not that great. Ladies have told me to keep my White instead.

Nice to hear other folks experience with their sergers.

 

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I need a new sewing machine, my Singer 9210, went ka-pluty !

 

Your right about Sergers, they are versatile, fast and can seam a coat lining at lightening speeds! I would love to own a good one. For sure!

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