Friday, December 18, 2009

a brave new (serged) world

Mere months ago, I was talking dismissively about sewers with fancy, modern machines. I was just fine with my vintage Kenmore straight-stitch machine, thank-you-very-much!


shows how much I know. I love the look of fabulous tailored clothes, and I've definitely been trying to integrate more dressy items into my everyday wardrobe, but realistically, most of the time I'm a jeans-and-t-shirt kind of girl. So it makes sense to sew with knits. And my last adventure sewing with sweater-knit on my Kenmore yeilded, at best, a mixed result.

So I caved and bought a serger. (Actually, it's my Christmas present--thanks Mom & Dad!) I did a good bit of online research, since I know nothing about sergers, and I don't know anyone who owns one. I read reviews and compared prices. I also found guides to serger sewing published by university extension services, like this one from the University of Missouri. The advice I found on forums really varied--people swore that both Singer and Brother machines were terrible, although I'm always a bit suspicious of broad, ranting critiques like that. It did seem, however, that people who bought bottom-of-the-line machines of any brand were rarely satisfied with them. Finally, this is what I decided on:

Its a factory-refurbished Janome 3-4 thread serger, and I bought it on ebay. From what I could tell, this was a mid-range model, but because it was refurbished, I was able to get it for under $200. For someone on a budget, I figure it was a pretty good investment.

Having never used a serger before, I'm sure I have a lot to learn. I've read the extension service guides, watched some of youtube videos, and I'm planning to check out a book on serger sewing from the public library. But so far, I'm really happy with the machine. It took me and the Mr. (who has a knack with machines) 30 minutes to get it threaded. And I've only tried one stitch--the standard, 4-thread stitch. But I love the polished results I was able to get on my Mom's jacket by serging the seams, then top-stitching them with a double needle stretch-stitch on my Kenmore.

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