Sergers

I need help from anyone who reads this and has serger experience! :)

Since I’m going to the states in three weeks, I’ve been thinking of things I “need” to buy there (like kitschy royal albert tea-cups for my collection that currently consists of 1 tea-cup), and I thought that it might be a good time to buy a serger.

I feel like I’m getting to the point where I might be good enough to sell some of the garments I make on etsy. What I don’t feel comfortable with yet are the seam finishes. I zig-zag them but it’s just not the same. If someones going to buy a hand-made item from me(that won’t necessarily be cheap, since fabric here is expensive), I want them to be happy with it, and I want it to last. And ok, I’d like it even just for sewing for myself. I want nice seam finishes! Plus I might get interested in sewing knits again.

The reason I want to buy one in the states: it’s cheaper! Plus the dollar is really weak (when I was a kid I had the formula x dollars is x+ a half x swiss francs (1$=1.50 CHF), and now a dollar is about 0.80 swiss francs!).

I have to admit, I don’t know an awful lot about sergers, other than that they can finish seams by cutting and at the same time “wrapping” the seam-allowances in thread, and that the stitches are stretchy, so that one can sew knits with them. And I still need to figure out how I’d get it back home across the atlantic, but the bigger problem is: which one? I’ve looked at a few online and I’m thinking I shouldn’t go for the cheapest (which is what I did when I first got a 90$ sewing machine, it worked fine but I just don’t want to risk having to pay more for repairs than for the serger itself), but I can’t afford the fanciest ones either.

Does anyone have recommendations (model/brand/type)? What are the important functions for finishing seams? Is it ok to order online or should I look for a store in NYC and try them out? Or are they cheaper in stores in the US? Should I not be scared of the cheapest one (brother on amazon for $200) if I’m going to use it mainly for seam finishes?

I am reading a lot of stuff online about sergers (haha, I have no idea what they’re talking about most of the time), but I thought I’d ask here anyway incase someone reads this.

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11 thoughts on “Sergers

  1. I bought the Brother…on Amazon, LOL! No regrets at all. I wanted it because it used regular needles, regular thread and has differential speed (it’s like 4WD on cars, handy for the tricky stuff). If it has cons, I would say it vibrates a lot. I’m not an expert but I’ve sewn clothing almost entirely with it and they haven’t fallen off of me yet!

    If you can buy a more expensive one, do it. If not,you would not be wasting your money with this one.

    • Thanks, good to know it’s not just a piece of “garbage” :) I’ll see if I can get together more money for a more expensive one, if not I’ll be getting the brother :)

  2. I’ve heard excellent reviews of the Brother model on amazon. Very excellent. I personally have a Baby Lock – the Lauren version. It’s a good little serger, but if I could do it all over again, I would go for a Juki. I was in a serger class for both Baby Lock and Juki after I bought mine, and those who had the Juki’s I quickly became jealous of. They come with loads of easier switches and such – definitely get a 4 thread serger and make sure it has differential feed (this is for knits) and a blind (and/or called a folded hem or 2 thread hem) hem feature (mine does have the blind hem, but for some reason it doesn’t work very well). Hopefully this helps. xoxo, Sunni

  3. Hi my name is Vanessa,i’m from Venezuela and i bought my brother serger last year while traveling to USA (for the same reason you are planning to do so, it is cheaper there than in my country) i’m very pleased with it. It is very user friendly and since i got it, i make almost all my projects using with the serger instead of the sewing machine, because you save time in the finish and the garment looks much better. I had a cheap chinese serger before and i had to get rid of it because it was a piece of junk, very dificult to thread and i never was able to figure it out how to make it work!!! i hope you find this helpful, enjoy your trip and happy shopping.

  4. I have sewn for over 40 years, and I am on my third serger. I currently have a Baby Lock Imagine Wave BLE3ATW. I bought it because my old Bernina Serger died after 20 years of great service, and parts were no longer available. I do a lot of sewing for stage and dance groups, and a serger is a must! It elevates the work you do from amateur to professional. What I like about the Baby Lock is that it uses a puff of air to thread the machine. When I am on a deadline I do not want to stop from 30 min to rethread the machine. When it works, it’s lovely. BUT I have had to replace the “puff-of-air” twice now, and that is annoying. The machine comes with a great cheat-sheet and DVD instructions, plus my dealer threw in a specialty foot package that I haven’t used yet. (TOO BUSY!) I mostly use 3 three thread overlock (along with regular sewing machine seam) to finish seams, and use narrow rolled hem A LOT. The other thing I like about this machine is no tension to set. You can adjust stitch length and width easily, and remove the cutting blade if necessary. My best advice is to go to a patient dealer, sit down and test drive. Ask questions! See if you can easily thread the machine, change settings, and get up and running in a few minutes. If you end up frustrated or confused, go for a simpler model. Bells and whistles aren’t good if you can’t use them. Hope this helps! BTW the red dress you post a photo of looks beautiful. Simple done well ALWAYS works. Keep working on the fit, and you will go far!
    Marguerite

    • Thank you so much for the detailed comment! I think I’m going to buy that cheap one on amazon for now (especially now that the dollar is weak) and when I have the money for a good quality serger, I’ll get one here in Switzerland, where I can go to a dealer, sit down and try the different machines (and then I won’t need a transformer for the plug either!). Trying them is probably the only thing that can help me decide what I want.

  5. I’ve heard lots of good things about the Brother 1034D (I think that’s the right one). It’s cheap, reliable and easy to use, but you still have to do everything manually. Personally, I have a Babylock Imagine with the jet air threading and you couldn’t pay me to go back to manual threading and tension. I do realize the transformer thing is a pain but if your budget can stretch, you might look for a Babylock Imagine without the wave stitch (cheaper). Not having to fiddle with the threading and tension is such a huge timesaver. Now I sew rather than wasting my sewing time trying to get the threading and tension just right (ugh). I had a low end Elna for years. It was okay but I spent three times as long adjusting the tension as I did actually sewing on it. Now I’m a Babylock girl all the way. Best of luck!

  6. Keep in mind the difference in electric current between the US and Europe. US machines will be 120V and European current is 220V. You will need to get a converter to use the machine in Europe and protect the electronics of your machine. Something to keep in mind. I have to do the same with my US machine. Also keep in mind that a replacement lightbulb that you find in Europe will be 220V and will glow very very dim when installed into your US machine.

    • I am aware, but thanks! :) My parents used to live in the US, so we have a few household electronic devices that need a transformer, I’m going to buy one in the states.

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