Saturday, August 10, 2013

What’s That New Machine?

So I got a serger. I’ve said all along that I didn’t need a serger/overlock, and insisted I wasn’t going to get one, and then I did anyway.

Let’s see how many different ways I can justify my purchase.

1. I’ve been leaving many of my projects incomplete because I just couldn’t face the endless miles of raw edge finishing. “If I had a serger, I’d be done by now,” was a thought that passed through my mind repeatedly.

2. Sergers in general seem terribly complicated, but the bottom-of-the-line Brother looked (relatively)straightforward and got consistently good reviews. I thought I could probably handle it.

3. After the Great Craft Room Overhaul of 2013, I sold a lot of stuff and made a bit of money, which was burning a hole in my sewing pocket. I could have splurged on more patterns and fabric (thereby RE-cluttering the room), or invested in this serger.

4. It was a Really Good Deal. Considering that I paid less than $200 for my main sewing machine, there was no way I was going to pay more than that for a serger, since it’s not a core necessity in the sewing room. But… there were refurbished Brothers out there for around $199. I told myself that if a new one went on sale for the same price as the refurbished ones, I would get it.

And you can guess what happened next. The very instant I saw the price drop to $199 on one of the sites I was monitoring, I hit BUY. (It was Amazon)

My new serger arrived, I set it up, I started using it, and nothing scary happened (yet).

For practice projects I wanted to make things that would not see the light of day, just in case. So, I now have two nightgowns, two pajama sets, and a robe, all in various knit fabrics. This allowed me to move levers around, change a couple of the threads, change the needles, figure out how the blade works, make a few stupid mistakes, and just generally get used to the machine.

 A plain and simple robe pattern looks a bit nicer with contrast trim and lace.
S7441, which I've had since the 70s.
(and have to add an inch or two every year)

 The blue pajamas above and the pink flower nightgown below are from B 5571.

The butterfly nightie is a mid-length, mid-sleeve version
of S7910 from the 1960s

I had enough small pieces of butterfly fabric left over to trim these pajamas.
B9824 was not meant to be pajamas, but it works!

I used up 12 yards from the huge stash of knits, and a lot of lace for this project, so I won back some more of my workspace.

mid-weight rayon-cotton-spandex
very lightweight textured rayon jersey
lightweight cotton knit

I learned a few lessons, but I'm sure there are many more to come.

Lesson: Don't get so excited by the speed and efficiency
of the machine that you forget to pay attention.
Here I sewed the neck band to the wrong side of the top!

Lesson: Make sure tucks and gathers are firmly in place before serging.
Here I marked the position of my tucks, pinned them in place,
 but completely lost control of them as they went through the serger.
Next time I'll stitch them in place on the sewing machine first.
My next challenge is to use the new machine to finish all those seams that are still waiting in the UFO pile.
Have you invested in any new tools recently?


  1. Congratulations on your new purchase!
    I have an on going battle with my overlocker in that it stubbornly refuses to work most of the time.I have serviced it,I have oiled its part with a nurturing care,I have dusted the fluff away from its innards,I have purchased expensive overlocker thread,expensive hosiery industry strength needles and I have threatened to break it up into small parts with an axe...all to no avail.
    My Mum used to work in a knitwear factory as an overlocker and she says that they are very temperamental.All the girls would just get their machines working nicely by Friday then the week end came and come Monday morning there would be problems again for the mechanic to sort out.
    So if you are on a good run at the moment then make the most of it!! I tend to just use the overlock foot on my machine now but it isn't the same.
    I love all of your makes by the way...keep going!!

  2. Katrina - you and your amazing sewing skills never cease to amaze me. I sold a serger I'd had for 20 years a couple years ago. Was sure I wouldn't be using it. I've regretted it ever since. Enjoy your new purchase! Looks like you already are.