Sew, What's New?

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Sent in by wanda:

"I am fairly new to sewing. What is the Serger used for other than hemming? I am thinking about purchasing one,but if hemming is all I would be able to do, I'm not sure it would be beneficial to me. Also, what serger is recommended for a beginner (about 3 years experience in quilting)?"

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Thank you for the information and the links. I will be trying this soon. 8-)
Wow!! Thank you so much for the example .... I just got a serger, a White 2900, for my birthday and I was trying to get the .. system down in my that is the way my little noggin works. Just that little tute. helped alot!!

I looked at the more expensive machines first, but decided it would better serve me to get a more affordable one and make sure I will use it... this will help me with the learning curve. I do not live where there are any classes..

I notice your addy is an edu. you have more tutorials... this one is so simple to follow. marky

Huge Thank-you Westbrook for all your great posts on the subject of sergers, you are a wealth of information and I sure do appreciate your willingness to share.

I have had my serger since Christmas but was scared to death on having to rethread it. I finally got the nerve to start using it this week . I completed almost all the way around a queen size quilt and...yep one of the spools of thread ran empty......I detest reading manuals because they never make sense to me but I think I have learned how to rethread it and hoping I am back to sewing today.

Again huge thanks.


p.s. off to check out the links in your messages.

I love learning and I love discussions like this because they're so informative and bring up more questions! Having said that.....

I've not ventured much into clothing yet. I had thought (obviously incorrectly) that serging would finish the seams versus actually 'construct' the seam. In other words, in my mind I was going to create the garment on my "regular" machine and then use the serger to finish and reinforce the seam. I can still do this, correct? Or I can simply use the serger?
It is called 'single needle' construction if you sew on a regular sewing machine and then use the serger to finish the seams or do decorative finishes. That is how I sew. It is considered a finer (more expensive) method of construction because it takes more time. I do not sew many knits. Sewing and finishing the seams at the same time on knit fabric is the way to go. Single needle construction often makes the seams bulky on knits.
you can sew it on your machine and then finish it on the serger ... but you'll be moving back and forth between the 2 machines ... if you use the serger start to finish you might be pleasantly suprised. using the serger constructs AND finishes ... i made 2 tops yesterday in less than an hour ... i LOVE my babylock.
that being said i work almost exlusively in knits ...

of course you can serge each raw edge and then sew them together if you wish, but a serger does it all in one pass!

Yes you can sew the garment on your sewing machine and then serge. But in no time you will omit the sewing and serge!

There are some rules to follow, first a serger can only sew straight lines, while you can serge a curve (slowly) it can't stop and pivot like a sewing machine does. Say you have a "V" neck. It can't do the "V" point, but you can stop a few inches before the "V" point and begin to straighten out the fabric. Though it bunches up as you straighten it it is ok.. serge slowly.

Serging a "V" is considered serging an inside corner (serging an outside corner is like serging a napkin and there are two different techniques that can be used for this... more later on that). Here is a link that best shows how to serge an inside corner or a "V" (and a V doesn't have to be a neckline it could be an inseam pocket, lapel, or serging a side seam when a sleeve has been inserted.

how to finish a seam

When I wash my cotton fabric to shrink, I open the fabric and then grab both cut ends, serge together and wash and dry. It is like magic! the fabric doesn't bunch and twist! it opens up into a big "O". Now you cut the serged edge and you are ready to go.

I saw this group hand had to join. i wore out 1 serger and now have another, and a coverstitch machine. I use if for everything. cannot do button holes, or hemming but I've constructed garments mostly on the serger. even pieced quilts. great for loosely wovwn fabric, before you wash, work with it. The serger crochet is fun but corners are tricky. My DH wears jeans untilthey are threadbare, so I'm always patching them. Still learning about the coverstitch machine...
There are so many possibilities to using a serger. I do have a combo machine that does coverstitches as well as serges. I love it & have had it since 2002. I'm now learning to do a blind hem on a serger as well as pintucks & applying a zipper. Doing spaghetti straps are easy with a serger as well as belt loops. Depending on the project, I use my serger as much as I use my sewing/embroidery machine. I am just beginning to tap into the possibilities that my serger can do.
Some of the comments that followed this request are great. But for one who as yet does not own a serger knowing what it can do is not enough. If possible could those who were willing to share its features please give some instruction as to the "how to's" of it all. I am sure not only Wanda would appreciate that but even myself as well. I thank you for your input.


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