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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: MrsSnuggly
Date: 06-25-2006, 12:00 PM (1 of 16)
Ok ya'll~
I have been sewing forever so this may not be the best place to ask this - but I figure might as well - as I'm not sure which forum to post in.

Here's my question:

I have a really nice sewing machine. It only does a little embroidery (Its a quilting machine, but DOES do some embroidery.) I am starting to get more and more into sewing childrens clothes, as I have now have children that need more than Halloween costumes. Do I save up and invest in a serger (which I don't know how to use and pretty much don't really like....) or a fancy embroidery machine (which could be more fun - say applique and the like, and may have stitches for overlocking like a serger.)???? I don't have space for a billion machines and love my machine (its only 2 years old).

I'm not in a hurry as I'll have to save up for awhile, but after this is decided I have to go research the types and the prices.
User: MrsSnuggly
Member since: 05-21-2006
Total posts: 104
From: bridesmom
Date: 06-25-2006, 12:37 PM (2 of 16)
I have three machines, sewing, serger and embroidery. If I could have my choice now I'd want to upgrade to a sewing/embroidery/quilting machine and a serger, so I'd have to say nix the serger though they are very nice to have and do make finishing off much quicker, and go with the embroidery machine.
Tickled pink with my Innovis 4000D
User: bridesmom
Member since: 01-21-2004
Total posts: 2026
From: beachgirl
Date: 06-25-2006, 02:46 PM (3 of 16)
I know you have to make up your own mind on what is best for you. I have 5 sewing machines all together & love each one. 2 are computerized Janomes & I love them. Both have 1 over locking stitch & 1 overcast Stitch, embroidery, quilting stitches & a whole lot more. I also have 2 sergers but am not an expert on those at all.My fault as I don't have a lot of free time to play with either one. If I need an over locking stitch I just use the one on one of the machines I'm useing at the time. Then I remember I have the sergers. No, they don't do all that a serger does by far so don't mean that at all. Your best bet is to try out all the machines you might be interested in plus the sergers & then decide what you will really need & use the most.
User: beachgirl
Member since: 08-31-2004
Total posts: 615
From: sewingrandma
Date: 06-25-2006, 04:43 PM (4 of 16)
Brandy, does the machine you have currently have a zig zag stitch? If so you can finish your seams with a zig zag. I did that for years without any problems. There are other types of seam finishes that you can use that hide all raw edges, and don't forget most knits don't need to have a finished seam, but they do need some sort of a stretch stitch (small zig zag). HTH.
User: sewingrandma
Member since: 03-06-2003
Total posts: 432
From: sable
Date: 06-26-2006, 10:54 PM (5 of 16)
I currently have 2 sewing machines, both quite old and one serger. I would hate to be without any of them and still want a embroidery machine. I have that as my next saving goal after replacing the PC, even once I get it I won't get rid of any of my current machines. I figure I can always find space to store just one more!
User: sable
Member since: 01-10-2005
Total posts: 76
From: SummersEchos
Date: 06-27-2006, 12:26 AM (6 of 16)
I have a serger and rarely use it. For my GC clothes they are mostly cotton and I just zip them up on the old work horse machine. Some people love their sergers, so I would say look at what you sew and then decided.

User: SummersEchos
Member since: 09-29-2004
Total posts: 884
From: MrsSnuggly
Date: 06-27-2006, 11:11 AM (7 of 16)
I have a Bernina 153 Quilters Edition - it does have 2 types of overlock stitches (and special foot) and 1 or 2 zigzags. I have been having trouble with those stitches though as the fabric has been pulling, making a small 'rdige", if you will, and although there are all sorts of nifty feet I can get but The amount of things you can do with an embroidery machine these days boggles me. And it seems people with a serger are able to get things done faster than I can with my "regular" machine. And although I have a space and a table, 3 or 4 machines would take up too much room I think.(How do you do that?!!!) Ok - well thanks. That's why ia sked - for all the opinions.

User: MrsSnuggly
Member since: 05-21-2006
Total posts: 104
From: MissTaraTara
Date: 06-27-2006, 02:37 PM (8 of 16)
I have a serger and rarely use it. For my GC clothes they are mostly cotton and I just zip them up on the old work horse machine. Some people love their sergers, so I would say look at what you sew and then decided.

I would agree. Think about the desired finish that you want for the clothing you'll be making. I think many people like that the overlock yields a more professional appearance to the inside of an item but a zigzag is sufficient. I use my overlock machine mostly for seam finishing but I do plan to try other overlock techniques in the near future. I think the overlock does make sewing some fabrics, especially knits, much easier (I've never sewn with knits but this is what I've read). I have an embroidery only machine also but I don't embroider nearly as much as I thought I would when I first purchased the machine; hopefully this, too, will change in near future. Will you be using your embroidery machine to construct gifts, do you plan to make items to sell to others....something else to consider. Good luck! I hate decisions like this :sick:
User: MissTaraTara
Member since: 01-24-2006
Total posts: 227
From: Tom Land
Date: 06-27-2006, 11:11 PM (9 of 16)
You asked the wrong question. We are going to confuse the h___ out of you.
If sewing garments were my main concern I would go with a serger in a minute.
If embellishing those or other garments were more my desire I would finish my seams with a finishing stitch that your machine already has (If it is only two years old it has a finishing stitch) and go for the embroidery machine. If the Embroidery machine is the route you take don't limit yourself. Get something that will give you the versatility to do what you want. Machines that have larger sewing fields, and lots of usefull features are only a little more expensive than the basic models. Try to get one that is upgradeable. That way as new features come out you can add them to your machine.
Whatever you decide on make sure you will have good local support. Both sergers and embroidery machines (even the basic ones) can do so much more than you will ever figure out on your own. Find a dealer that really believes in education.
Have fun or don't do it, Tom
User: Tom Land
Member since: 09-21-2005
Total posts: 514
From: lizzybugsmommy
Date: 06-27-2006, 11:32 PM (10 of 16)
does your current machine have a place for a memory card? If so invest in those. I have 2 sewing machines and 1 sewing and embroidery, a serger and an overlock. I very rarely use the overlock when sewing usually use the serger for clothes. The serger is so much quicker. If it were me I would trade in my sewing machine for a do it all sewing machine embroider and purchase a serger. Only you can decide.What ever you get make sure you will be happy with it. good luck
Catherine lb_pml&cb=PW

Husbands gone fishing..... I've gone fabric shopping
User: lizzybugsmommy
Member since: 05-20-2006
Total posts: 207
From: DorothyL
Date: 06-28-2006, 07:20 AM (11 of 16)
I kind of mulled over the same question and decided on the serger now and the embroidery machine later.
Sometimes I think I made the wrong decision.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: paroper
Date: 06-28-2006, 11:29 AM (12 of 16)
Well, it's like this. In 1992 I left work to take care of my children and sew to provide a small (acually smaller than hoped) second income. I decided on a Pfaff 1475. The reason I wanted the 1475 was because of its lovely embellishing stitches and the software that allowed me to plot embroidery (this is in the early stages of home embroidery). At the last minute I also purchased a 1530 Bernina which would become the mainstay of my sewing room. It took more abuse than the Pfaff, sewed considerably faster, was reliable...the list goes on. At the same time, just because it was rumored that I would need one, I purchased my 2000DCE serger. I sew in the traditional way, most of the time, 5/8 inch seams (serge finished), etc., but the serger has become invaluable in my sewing room. I am a seamstress, regardless of where my heart is...sewing is my focus. I was always taught that the inside of my garments should MATCH and should be neat. I purchased a second serger early into my sewing career to help when I had two-colored uniform also provided a seldom used chain stitch where the 2000 gave me the 2 thread rolled hem option. (Now I have a serger that will do all that AND give a cover stitch too.).

As for the embroidery? In the last couple of years I purchased a 200E which does lovely (no, absolutely beautiful) embroidery. I enjoy it and I use it, often for profit, but my first love and focus is sewing.

The drawbacks to embroidery have to do with the expense. If you purchase design packs you find that often you don't use all the designs...although they are lovely. Embroidery is like painting and you often find that there are many many shading threads involved. No matter what you do you'll still need a lot of thread. Once you have your initial thread investment, it isn't too bad but you find that you are always looking for is a disease (same with can't get enough, free or purchased). You have to have things to embroidery upon, once you've done all your curtains, old jeans, shirts, t-shirts, underwear, etc you still need more. Stabilizer is expensive and you can't skip or scrimp or the design suffers. You have a lot more upkeep of the embroidery machine because the machine makes a LOT of stitches. In just two years of only doing embroidery on my machine I had already logged more than 7 million stitches. You change needles a lot more often than a sewing machine (normally). Depending upon the type of machine you purchase, you will certainly want software but you may also need a design converter box. he boxes are a pain. The need for your software, depending upon your machine may vary widely in price...but if you don't get a good package you'll always be looking for more. If you don't get a machine with a large stitch field, you'll have the same problem. Embroidery, although fun is addictive. I wish I had been more informed when I actually purchased my machine.

I've had a lot of fun on my 200 but considering the way I am using it, I wish I had looked at the Brother PR600 at the time I purchased. It is a commercial cross over machine and does caps EXTREMELY well, is faster, will make up to 6 thread changes unassisted, allows for monogram of pockets without removal...and the list goes on. Since I use my 200 almost exclusively for emboridery, I think the 600 might have been a better purchase and considering the furniture and other things I purchased for the 200 I would have spent about the same amount of money if I had purchased the hoops and support table for the machine. However, I have enjoyed a lot of social benefits, clubs, etc from the 200 and I don't regret the purchase.

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: bluebirdie
Date: 06-28-2006, 06:29 PM (13 of 16)
I used to wonder the same question.

Because I recently made the decision myself, I must agree that everyone has a different need thus probably different decision. My decision was to purchase a serger instead of an embroidery machine. The reason being I sew both cotton and knit, and I couldn't sew knit very nicely with my sewing machines even with fancy stitches. Using a serger with differential feed, my knit sewing actually passes as wearable! Before I started reading on this forum, I did not realize a lot of people sew mostly cotton and childern clothings. If I were to chose for those applications, I may have made a different choice.

After reading Pam's experience, I do not regret that I bought the serger first.
- Robin
User: bluebirdie
Member since: 03-12-2006
Total posts: 139
From: LeapFrog Libby
Date: 06-29-2006, 06:10 PM (14 of 16)
I have never regretted purchasing my serger.. I sew a lot of knits.. I have 3 grands, and I sew sleepwear and casual wear for them.. This makes a serger a must for me.. My machine does not like knits.. My serger is over 15 years old now and still going strong.. I needed a coverhem so I bought just a simple coverhem machine in addition to my other 2.. Saved a lot of money by doing this instead of getting a new serger that does it all.. Cannot afford one of those.. I have decided I am not rich enough to buy embroidery machine.. LOL (not rich, Period) Seriously at my age, I cannot justify that expense , especially as there is no one to inherit it who would use it.. I am happy with my situation.. I have friends who will do small embr. jobs for me when I need them.. (which is seldom).. :bg: :bg:
Sew With Love
User: LeapFrog Libby
Member since: 05-01-2002
Total posts: 2022
From: Patty22
Date: 06-29-2006, 07:08 PM (15 of 16)
I have the first serger that Bernina made and I'm not sure of the year I got it, but it has to be at least 22 years old. It has the 3/4 cone and it has been a real workhorse. I've never had to have a repair on it (knock on wood). It certainly isn't like what is on the market now especially since they have made life easier in refining how the different loopers are threaded - which can be a pain if you don't take your time with this model.

I remember when I first had it I was amazed at the speed at which it overcast in comparison to my sewing machine.

It has been a wonderful investment and it will only get replaced if and when it breaks down (meaning I would never replace it just to upgrade) because it suits my needs. It does have the plate and foot to change to go to rolled hems, but I only use it for doing napkins or tablecloths.

Since I mainly do garments or quilts, getting a machine exclusively for embroidery was never a consideration. Not that I couldn't incorporate the designs into either, but I could never justify the cost of the machine and the extras with thread and design programs. I think it would be different if I had a home business and there was a demand for this type of service.

However, if I had money coming out the whaazoooo, sure I'd run to the store and buy an embroidery machine :bolt:
User: Patty22
Member since: 03-29-2006
Total posts: 1194
From: MrsSnuggly
Date: 06-29-2006, 07:32 PM (16 of 16)
This is great. So glad I asked. And let's not pretend that I'm anywhere near above dirt poor - especially with gas these days....but if I am going to save for something I'd like the info first. It helps with the whole picture of what you're saving for....
User: MrsSnuggly
Member since: 05-21-2006
Total posts: 104
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