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Promenade Patterns
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Hi Everybody,

Just to let you know I will be lecturing on Men’s Shirts at the National Convention in Springfield MA. If you are going to be at the convention check your book for the scheduled times. I would enjoy talking to you about your sewing ideas and suggestions.

May your bobbin always be full, Karen

Serger Stuff

Do you really need a serger?
                The answer is no.
     Do you really want a serger?
                            The answer is maybe. 

Advantages of a serger - 

Speed - usually twice as fast as a sewing machine

Finished edges - the seam is cut, sewn and overcast in one step

No bobbins - all serger threads come off the spools

Stretchy seams - knits can be sewn with ease

janome-888-serger

Disadvantages - 

Speed - mistakes can be made twice as fast

Finished Edges - the seam is cut, it can’t be let out

Tight stitching - serging can be removed but it is usually easier to cut off the serged seam to make alterations

A beginning seamstress or one that is set in her ways will probably not enjoy a serger. Learning to thread a serger overwhelms some people. From 2 to 5 threads can be used for the different programs. Each thread has a different path and a separate tension setting. To get the most out of a serger time must be spent learning and problem solving. Many people are afraid of their serger. They have it set up for one stitch program and never change. If the serger is capable of doing 20 programs and only one is used you are not getting your moneys worth from the machine. Understanding the various programs requires class room instruction, reading and practice.

Become very familiar with the instruction book for the serger. Carefully read every page while sitting in front of the machine. Learn the names of each part. Make a color copy of the threading guide and program pages and have them laminated. These are the pages that will be referred to most often. Experiment with different threads and techniques. Make a note book with samples of all the different programs the machine can do. Then there will be a piece of fabric, rather than a picture, to look at. There are many how-to books with serger instructions and projects. These instructions can be applied to all brands of sergers. With more reading you will find more ways to use your serger.

To get the most use from your serger, you need to have it set up. The best place is right next to your sewing machine. If it is put away you will not take the time to dig it out. Keep all of the serger tools and accessories near at hand and separate from sewing machine tools. The screw drivers, allen wrenches and tweezers for the serger must be available when changing programs. Having both machines set up will enable you to use each for the work it does best.

Maintenance - the best way to clean a serger (or sewing machine) is with a vacuum and a brush. Blowing on it just puffs the lint back further into the machine and your breath is wet so the lint sticks better. Refer to the owners manual for cleaning and oiling instructions. Depending on how much the serger is used it should have a tune-up every 3 or 4 years. Sergers require very precise timing between the needles and loopers. The technicians have special tools to measure clearances and tensions. Dealer support is very important to keep your serger running at its best.

Before purchasing a serger go to several dealers and look over all the models. Make a list of the options you would use most. The rolled hem program finishes the edges of ruffles quickly and easily. The over edge stitches seam and finish knits. Make sure the dealer had several classes that you can attend and find out about their service department. Do you have friends with sergers? Can they help you learn to use your serger? Which dealers do they recommend?

Sergers are for people who enjoy sewing and spend a lot of time doing it. If you use a variety of fabrics from loosely woven home spun style to tight stretch knit micro fibers, you might like a serger. If you are willing to change the way you sew and want to learn new techniques, you would enjoy a serger. If you want the inside of the garment to be cleanly finished a serger will do the job. If you sew at top speed, you will love a serger.

Consider your sewing plans for the future along with your personal style and interests. Sergers are a big investment not just in money but in time spent learning and space to be set up. Only you can determine if a serger will fit into your creative style.