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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: abcameo
Date: 05-29-2006, 07:37 PM (1 of 13)
I only got to sit down and try the serger for a few minutes yesterday and a little today. I had a time of it, trying to figure out simple threading for a 2-thread flatlock. I finally discovered about the converter and how that thing has to snap into the looper gadget!

Anyway, I was finally feeding some test fabric through (knife disengaged) just by folding it over and trying to flatlock on the edge of the fold. I had the damnedest time trying to keep the fabric feeding in straight and on the edge. It kept wobbling all over the place. Is there a trick to keeping the fabric aligned on the right?

I used to love this little magnetic fabric guide I owned, it worked great, but I know magnets will ruin the computer, so that's out. Is there something a little more substantial than just putting a piece of masking tape down as a guide?
Many thanks,
User: abcameo
Member since: 11-02-2004
Total posts: 131
From: chris b
Date: 05-29-2006, 10:38 PM (2 of 13)
You didn't mention which brand you have. On my Elna I bought the seam guide they make that has a lip on it that you can adjust to which ever seam allowance you are using. It is really nice, IMHO and worth every dollar that I paid for it.
Pfaff 2170,Pfaff 7570,Elna 945
Singer 301A,Singer Redeye,Singer 15 HC
Simplicity 2/3/4
Pfaff Creative 3-D digitizing,3-D Fabric Decorator
Pfaff PCDMac2.2
Embird,Studio,cross stitch,
EQ5....and adding all the time!
User: chris b
Member since: 01-10-2001
Total posts: 109
From: DorothyL
Date: 05-30-2006, 06:56 AM (3 of 13)
Ahh Amy,
You have a whole new set of skills to learn now.
And sergers are such delicate, particular creatures.
Practice everything before you try it on a project.
And never doubt the power of masking tape.
My machine has a large red sticky back label to help me guide.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: paroper
Date: 05-30-2006, 10:09 AM (4 of 13)
Some of the computerized machines are shielded, still others may have nothing to stick a magnet to if you had one (plastic). You might check with your dealer to see if theirs will allow a magnet. A few years ago I bought a neat little gaget that has two sided tape on it. It is just a little lucite bar that has two sided tape. It adheres to the machine where ever you put it. It is thick enough (about 3/8 inch) that nothing rides over it. I've used it for unusually large seam allowances (like 5 inch) when placing laces or other things. It would be easy to make something like that.

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: abcameo
Date: 05-30-2006, 12:01 PM (5 of 13)
I've got a Huskylock 936. It has a guide that slips on in front that indicates what size seam you're stitching, but I need the type that goes up along the right side of the seam to butt my fabric against to help guide it steadily.

I should have told you that I was trying to use a 2-thread flatlock stitch along the seam of a very thin tube of hand-knitted fabric--like a spaghetti strap type thing. What I'm trying to make is a baby's headband to match the little top and cardigan I knitted. I wanted to sew together a seam of the knitted strip to form a tube so that I could slip thin elastic inside to create the headband.

This was pretty much my first try at using my new serger but, because the tube is so skinny, maybe it was too ambitious to tackle. Regular larger sized fabric would be easier, I'm sure. There's left side margin to hold onto--only the front of the skinny strip as it feeds into the needleplate. It was wobbling all over the place, and ended up being too skinny in some spots to slip elastic in. I thought a flatlock stitch (instead of a rolled hem) would be good because it would allow the strip seam to open up a little wider when I was done.

I have my first class on Saturday. I'll ask about using the magnetic guide. It would be great if that is allowed despite the computer.
User: abcameo
Member since: 11-02-2004
Total posts: 131
From: bluebirdie
Date: 05-30-2006, 04:48 PM (6 of 13)
Although I used 3-thread narrow instead of 2th flatlock, I also found it challenging to serge thin knit strips. Spray starch iron plus turning on differential feed helped a bit in my case. Actually I had problem with knit in general before differential feed.
- Robin
User: bluebirdie
Member since: 03-12-2006
Total posts: 139
From: Kylnne2
Date: 05-31-2006, 08:39 PM (7 of 13)
Fabric should feed straight once the serger is gobbling it up. I usually use something on my machine as a guide the end of the plate or something like that. Some of my past sergers and my Elna has a built in seam guide on the extension of the looper cover door that is like a lip that sticks up. This has several lines or grooves in the plastic to use as guides, plus there are guide lines on the end of the foot especially nice for coverhem but can be used for serging. You can purchase a stick on guide from fabric stores to put on this place for most sergers. I think all sergers should have the built in seam guides.
I edited to add..Different feet help in sewing straight lines. I don't know what Viking has but Pfaff and Elna have a foot D which is adjustable and is their version of a blind hem foot.(different style from other brands) This foot is very adjustable to be used with various stitches. It is very multi purpose and one of the suggestions is to use the foot for accurate sewing of straight lines especially when using 2 thread flatlock on stretchy fabric and swimsuit fabrics. Inserting and attaching lace is also recommended with this foot besides decorative hems and blindhemming. I have even used it to insert the tiniest of piping. It helps to sew very accurately. Viking probably has something similar.
User: Kylnne2
Member since: 07-10-2004
Total posts: 629
From: DorothyL
Date: 06-01-2006, 07:14 AM (8 of 13)
Kylnne -
I think I will call my dealer about the Blind stitch foot if it is that versatile.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: abcameo
Date: 06-01-2006, 12:47 PM (9 of 13)
My serger has two clip-in changeable front covers--one creates a full flatbed for coverstitch sewing. The other leaves the needle and kniife area open. This one is marked with seam guides - 3/8, 5/8 & 7/8 and is right in front of the machine--where you guide your fabric in. However, I'm trying to figure out how it really works. I mean, you clip it in, but there's no slot where you have room to slip in your fabric. So how are you supposed to use it as a fabric guide for your seams?? Do you angle your fabric outward to match one of the guides as you feed it to the needles? Whoever heard of angling your fabric outward to sew straight? This is (sort of) what it looks like:
Snaps on front to become the coverplate.
l 3/8 l 5/8 l 7/8..l
just solid plastic all..l
in here. No slot in....l
which you place......l
fabric. I would think.l
it would have a slot.l
__right in here but it doesn't. So how is this used as a guide?

I have a feeling I'm going to be really embarrassed when someone explains how simple this is to use. :nc:
User: abcameo
Member since: 11-02-2004
Total posts: 131
From: DorothyL
Date: 06-01-2006, 02:40 PM (10 of 13)
Isn't that the width of your seams, like, if it runs up along the 5/8 line you will have a seam 5/8 inch in from the edge? You can extend the line with that masking tape you are trying to avoid.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: plrlegal
Date: 06-01-2006, 03:29 PM (11 of 13)
Amy if you place the right edge of your fabric on one of those marks (3/8, 1/2, 5/8, etc. and the top edge at the beginning your presser foot, where it will start feeding into the serger, with the knife down, the serger stitches on what is technically the stitching line for a 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, etc. width seam, while trimming and finishing the right edge of the seamallowance. I think my serger probably finishes a 5/8 seam allowance down to about 1/4 to 3/8 inch finished. I'm just taking a guess about the width of the finished edge because I've never actually measured one I've done on my serger when it's finished. Hope this garbled explanation helps your understanding a little.

User: plrlegal
Member since: 05-19-2001
Total posts: 318
From: bridesmom
Date: 06-03-2006, 10:10 AM (12 of 13)
My only suggestion is to go slower when sewing something that little. I find that if I a sewing too fast (which is easy with a serger) that I get wobbly. Start out slower until you get the hang of it, then you can go faster.
Tickled pink with my Innovis 4000D
User: bridesmom
Member since: 01-21-2004
Total posts: 2026
From: abcameo
Date: 06-03-2006, 11:12 AM (13 of 13)
I was watching the video again and, Patsy, it seems like you're right about how that seam guide in the front works. The fabric lined up with the mark and started at the beginning of the presser foot and, even though there was no slot for fabric to fit through, the knife was cutting away, and the fabric fed in straight.

I've got to get used to the serger gripping and really holding fabric in position. When I sew on the regular sewing machine, I've got to pretty much keep my at least one eye on the fabric aligning to my guide. It seems like the serger handles this easier--except in the case of spaghetti strap sized seaming.

My first free class is this afternoon. I'm looking forward to it. I've beem getting my questions together...
User: abcameo
Member since: 11-02-2004
Total posts: 131
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