Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Oh Brother, Here Thou Art



Meet Sergio.  We are busy getting acquainted at the moment.  Actually, I've only admired him from the other side of the room so far.  We are still at the stage of exchanging furtive glances.  I haven't actually had the nerve to talk to him yet....  Those threading instructions are insane.

I honestly had no hope that I would own a serger in the near future.  With baby coming along soon, I was pretty sure it would be months and months before I had saved up enough.  But my wonderful husband decided I was worth it.  Must have something to do with carrying around this child for past eight months ;)  I may actually attempt to cook dinner tonight in appreciation rather than flopping on the couch and complaining about my giant belly.   I had a birthday last week, too.  Whatever the reason, thank you J.  You are the awesomest.  Love you.

What's the perfect project to get to know your serger, folks?  Maybe a simple skirt?  I've been longing for a maternity maxi skirt.  That may be just the ticket.  A couple of rectangles.  And how on earth do you decide if the tension is set correctly when you use a serger?  I swear all those little troubleshooting diagrams looked the same to me.  Any good serging tips or links?
 

35 comments:

  1. Have fun with your new toy! I took a serger class (just one afternoon) and learned a lot. According to the teacher, the correct serger tension for a normal stitch is to put all the dials at 4 (or the middle-most tension setting). I always then test it out on a scrap before I sew my garment just to make sure. Good luck!

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  2. Super exciting! If the tension is correct then the fabric should be smooth, and the loops should be over the cut edge. If the tension is off then the fabric will bunch and loop threads will pull to one side or the other, or one will be really big and hang too far off the fabric. I think the tension was pretty much set fine on mine - I had to adjust the green dial a bit, but not too much.

    As far as the threading goes - it isn't as complicated as it looks! Really, once you do it a few times it should only take a few minutes. As a tip - when you are threading keep the presser foot up and pull the threads to the back, then lower the presser foot, turn the fly wheel a few times to get the looping started, then hold the threads and press the presser foot to get the thread tail started.

    Hope you have fun!

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  3. I just got this very same serger about 2 weeks ago and got it set up over the weekend. Just watch the video, it totally takes the scary factor down a few notches. In fact, I just used it to finish the seams on some pants and it was SO MUCH faster (and neater) than finishing up the seams another way. I'm super excited to learn about all the other stuff it does!

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  4. Congrats on your new serger! I love this machine ~ play around with some knit scraps - you'll get the hang of it. When I purchased mine, I watched the video and didn't mess with the tension at all. It's been about 8 months now and I'm still completely happy with it.

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  5. I was using my overlocker/serger only tonight and wondering how I ever lived without it. Regarding tension, my experience and one class have taught me that it's all a bit 'fiddle and see'. Ie, adjust those coloured wheels a bit this way, a bit that, until you find the right tension. Regarding serger friendly projects, anything jersey will be good to go!

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  6. I have had a Brother Serger for about 4 months. One-the instruction book is terrible. Watch all the videos and check books out at the library. Two-after you thread a time or two, it is a snap. Much easier than cutting and knotting threads to change as the book advises. Three-always, and I mean always, test on a scrap before you do it on your good fabric. I started out by making Halloween placemats for my adult children and then made Christmas tablecloths and tree skirts and then six (count 'em) six pair of flannel adult pajamas for Christmas. Much faster and neater than sewing and then cutting down the seam allowances. Since Christmas, I bought a Brother Embroidery machine. And I thought the serger instructions were bad! Ha!

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  7. I have that exact serger, and I have to watch this video nearly every time I re-thread the machine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ohtf7H_gyc There's also a thread dedicated to the Brother 1034D on PatternReview.

    I don't know if it helps, but I post all of my serger settings each time I review a pattern, so I've got my settings for quite a few different fabrics posted, from jersey to denim. After I've cut out my fabric for a pattern, I always use some of the left over scraps to test on the serger. If the tension looks off to me (the loops don't intersect at the cut edge of the fabric) I fiddle until it looks better. If it looks really really wonky, I put them all back to 4 and fiddle from there.

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  8. Have no fear! Go on and introduce yourself to, Sergio! If I can thread mine, I'm sure anyone can get the hang of it. I watched the video instructions and never looked back.

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  9. Happy belated birthday! I have no serging tips but man, a maxi maternity skirt sounds lovely.

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  10. Happy birthday, and yay on your new serger! I found the videos that came with the serger pretty helpful (and corny). For what it's worth, my dials are almost always set at 4. I never change my sewing machine tension either, so I don't know if that's helpful, heheh. Good luck figuring it out! Once you do, it'll be second nature.

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  11. Awesome gift!!! Everybody is scared the first time they use a serger (I hardly touched it the first year!), there's way more stuff going on than a sewing machine. But it won't take you long to get the hang of it. One tip in my serger's manual is to write down the settings for a particular fabric (type) and stitch combination. I keep a serged sample (swatch size) with a note on it indicating the machine settings, so it's easy to go back and see what I did.
    Do the maxi skirt! It'll be instant gratification.

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  12. Happy Birthday, Liza Jane! All the best people are born in February (hmm, wonder when my birthday is . . .). Jersey maxi skirt would be a great place to start. And you'll get the hang of it super quick. My biggest regret about my Brother is that I flirted with him too long - go on, sidle on up and have the conversation.

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  13. Awww your husband is such a keeper! You've gotten great advice on how to deal with Sergio and I'm sure that you and he will become great pals! BTW, happy belated birthday!

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  14. Happy Belated Birthday! Congratulations on the arrival of Sergio!
    I bought the Craftsy Beginner Serger Sewing Class (http://www.craftsy.com/class/beginner-serging-machine-basics-and-techniques/123) a while ago when it was on sale and found it very helpful when I watched it. At the moment I only use my serger (or overlocker here in Australia) to finish seams, but I'll use it on knits one day. :)

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  15. The best way to get to know your serger is to use it. A simple skirt is a great idea. Keep that manual handy. If it was bought at a specialty sewing store they may offer lessons. Anyway have fun with it and Happy Birthday!

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  16. I say just jump in and go for it! That's the best way that I've found to learn. If there's a video, play through it once, and then have at it. Have fun! :-)

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  17. Happy birthday! So pleased you got your overlocker. You won't regret it! I haven't got much to add on tips except sometimes I just tie the next thread on and it kinda threads itself. It's a lucky day when that happens!

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  18. Congratulations on your new arrival! I have the same machine, it is brilliant! I don't bother changing the tension from 4 across the board but I do change the differential on the side for slippery or stretchy fabrics, that really works, enjoy!

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  19. Happy Birthday! Enjoy the serger!

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  20. happy birthday :) that's the best gift ever, i can tell you (i bought my serger a bit over a month ago, and i'm in love with it).. my first project was jersey peplum top, and it was done in less then 1 hour..

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  21. Congrats on the serger - and a belated happy birthday. :-) Good luck with the serger - I know there is a great maxi skirt tute out there, and it really is a perfect way to start - no scary curves. :-) Have fun!

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  22. yay! oh you'll wonder in no time how you ever got by without it. every fabric is different, so i just fiddle around with the dials until i get it right. have fun with it!

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  23. Happy birthday, girlfriend! Threading and dealing with tension is actually way easier than it seems. I rarely have to mess with the tension (I have the same serger). Just keep a little pile of scraps and test it out first! One word of advice-- just make sure to always check that your fabric is flat and that no other parts of the garment are caught underneath-- it's a huge pain in the butt when you realize you've snagged extra fabric up under the presser foot and cut a hole in your garment.

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  24. Congrats on your newest addition! Sergers scare me too. lol

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  25. Happy Birthday! congrats on getting your Serger! I am taking the Beginner Serging class on Craftsy and learning loads.

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  26. aaaahhh, wonderful!!! happy birthday, baby! (and happy baby too.)

    my elna came with a little guide for tension settings for different kinds of fabric. i start there. try threading each dial with its corresponding thread color, sew on some scraps, then you can see which dial you need to fiddle with before you start your real seams. you'll have to re thread it (unless you like carnival colored seams), but it really helps you get going. eventually you recognize which thread trail is which. i keep a pile of papers with settings & a fabric swatch.

    also, the book ABCs of Serging by tammy young & lori bottom is awesome. i checked it ot at a library and took notes, but i only got a quarter of the way through, it's that thorough!

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  27. How exciting! I want one so bad but alas I don't see it in my future.

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  28. I bought myself a few great books about Overlockers/Sergers (see them here: LibraryThing.com), the 'The Ultimate Serger Answer Guide' comes highly recommended by other readers :).

    Plus, your post made me re-visit my Pinterest boards - and I just spent a half-hour moving all my favourite serger/overlocker pins onto a new separate board of their own (Sewing - Sergers & Overlockers: Tutorials & Tips) LOL!

    This video about serger tension is particularly good :)

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  29. Congratulations on the new overlocker! What a great pressie! I have the same one, and can recommend this youtube video on threading.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ohtf7H_gyc&feature=mh_lolz&list=FLH2KvB9HzmXRZ6gDGgnmxfw

    I had problems with the Lower Looper (blue dial) thread snapping in the same place after I had re-threaded it. The dvd that came with my overlocker was pants; the youtube video zooms in on the troublesome bit with the lower looper, and I've had no problems with it since. Also I too can recommend the Craftsy Overlocker Class, and this is one of the machines featured on it. Good luck with it! :)

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  30. Happy birthday Liza!
    What a fabulous birthday pressie :) The best way to work out all the quirks is to use it, I think your plan of a maxi skirt is excellent, and Tshirts are a good tester too. You're probably past the stage of making more maternity wear and planning regular clothes again, yes?

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  31. I have a hundred different books and manuals for my serger. One is particularly useful in that it tells you what tensions to use for what fabrics with what desired outcome of stitches. I can't imagine living without it. But, I have no idea where it came from since it came with my serger when I purchased it used off of Craig's List. I could try to do some research if you'd like. By the way, happy belated birthday and happy almost baby birthday!!

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  32. Congratulations! I wish you both a happy and long relationship! I recommend StephC's series on sergers and about differential feed, very educational

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  33. The Brother is so easy to thread with that sliding lower looper. You'll wonder why you were ever intimidated. As for tension, I always just set mine in the middle of normal. The only time I have tension problems is when I've missed a step threading.

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