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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: ~Amy~
Date: 09-05-2006, 09:38 AM (1 of 14)
I have the opportunity to buy a used serger. Its a great deal, if it is what I actually need.
I have been making my dd some dresses and I have the dreaded ugly inside seams.
My question is, does the serger also trim off the excess from the seam? I assume it does, but if it doesnt then I should wait until Im a bit more experienced.
Also, do they do straight stiches too? Im wondering if Ill be able to put my sewing machine out of site for a bit.

User: ~Amy~
Member since: 08-30-2006
Total posts: 29
From: MaryW
Date: 09-05-2006, 09:54 AM (2 of 14)
Hi Amy, welcome to Sew Whats New.
Sergers finish the seam allowances as well as trim away the excess fabric. There are many ways of utilizing a serger but for a beginner I think you will need your sewing machine as well as your serger. Some sergers do a straight stitch as well, others do not. I am sure you will find lots more suggestions on this topic from our members. :smile:
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: shadylady
Date: 09-05-2006, 11:12 AM (3 of 14)
You'll need a 5 thread to make a straight stitch without a SM. While a serger is a great addition to a SM, it can never replace it.
User: shadylady
Member since: 09-19-2003
Total posts: 58
From: Magot
Date: 09-05-2006, 11:13 AM (4 of 14)
Hi Amy - I am a baby serger and I would second Mary's comment about not putting the sewing machine away. Serging darts (when it chops things away) could be a bit scary! And I can't imagine how you would serge in a zip - I use mine tofor seam finishing and need to get a lot more hours under my belt before I will feel comfortable with really going to town.
love and kisses, Jan
Cells a Speciality
DNA to order.
User: Magot
Member since: 12-22-2002
Total posts: 3626
From: paroper
Date: 09-06-2006, 07:32 AM (5 of 14)
Well, to me,serging away the seams is as scary as anything else. I use that excess for alterations, in the beginning and down the road. If it is gone, well.... Another thing is that on really loosely woven fabrics, you still can have seams pulling out although not as often. I usually clean finish the edges of fabric before I sew. Often if it is a seam that I would trim away anyway around edges of sleeves, crotches, etc, I'll trim it with the serger instead of cutting away with scissors I don't normally sew them with the serger. If you get a fold in your sleeve it is a little harder to fix it was made with a serger. I use my machines in tandum and really like the results, but you have to consider that I'm a pretty old-fashioned, by the book seamstress!

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: plrlegal
Date: 09-06-2006, 11:20 AM (6 of 14)
I'm with you Pam. I only finish seams with my serger once I've made sure all fitting issues have been taken care of and the garment is in it's final stages. Otherwise, I finish the edges of each garment section before I start sewing the seams. I've had a couple of really good lessons in not serging seams and cutting seam allowances until I'm absolutely sure there will be no more fitting adjustments to be made.

User: plrlegal
Member since: 05-19-2001
Total posts: 318
From: LeapFrog Libby
Date: 09-06-2006, 06:37 PM (7 of 14)
The garments I make using my serger are mainly T-shirts and sleep shirts, and all sorts of sleep pants.. They go so much quicker on the serger.. I can make a T-shirt in less than 1/2 hour, start to finish without going to my sewing machine at all, now that I have my coverstitch machine for the hems..The serger handles knits so much easier than a regular sewing machine..For Me, anyway...
Sew With Love
User: LeapFrog Libby
Member since: 05-01-2002
Total posts: 2022
From: bridesmom
Date: 09-07-2006, 12:50 AM (8 of 14)
I use my serger for doing the seams and as much as possible on kids clothes. On stuff I make for myself or others, that needs fittings, then I serge at the end when I'm happy with results. Otherwise, you can spend some unhappy evenings taking out the serged stitches, or spend a day trying to figure out how to 'fix' a seam serged that should have been 1/2" wider - don't ask!!
Tickled pink with my Innovis 4000D
User: bridesmom
Member since: 01-21-2004
Total posts: 2026
From: mommydionne
Date: 09-07-2006, 08:38 PM (9 of 14)
For the kids stuff I just serge and go, fitting is not a big deal for the under 10 set,
For me I sew on my machine and serge later unless the fabric frays like mad, then I will actually serge around every piece and then construct. I actually like this method best for pants as well b/c you can still alter them later if needed, really does not take that long and is easy, (mess up on a crotch seam on a serger and that pair is done for!)
Unless we are talking knit t-shirts etc, those I just do on the serger b/c knits are a tad more forgiving re fit.:wink:
I really like my serger for curtains etc b/c with the differential feed you don't get the gathering effect on long seams (curtains that smile :mad: ).
User: mommydionne
Member since: 01-08-2004
Total posts: 838
From: ~Amy~
Date: 09-07-2006, 08:59 PM (10 of 14)
Thanks ladies,
I am getting a serger. Im very excited! Its used, about 10 years old. Its a simplicity. It has differential feed, whatever that means.
User: ~Amy~
Member since: 08-30-2006
Total posts: 29
From: paroper
Date: 09-08-2006, 04:24 AM (11 of 14)
It means that you can adjust it to sew knits without stretching them....this is a very good thing.

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: bridesmom
Date: 09-08-2006, 09:16 AM (12 of 14)
Congratulations on your new baby!!! I did the same thing, bought a really old used one, then after about 5 months, found an awesome deal on a brand new one, and sold the old one for the same price I bought it for privately. I've never regretted having it, there's lots you can do with it once you get familiar with it. There's a really good book called The Complete Serger Handbook by Chris James. A great book with lots of tips and ideas! In my library, its a must have.
Tickled pink with my Innovis 4000D
User: bridesmom
Member since: 01-21-2004
Total posts: 2026
From: MartySews
Date: 09-08-2006, 06:42 PM (13 of 14)
I've only had a serger for 3 years but use it on almost everything I sew. It's wonderful for making baby blankets, napkins, placemats, etc. I also use it to sew fleece tops and pants for me or knit outfits. I tend to tissue fit everything before cutting the fabric so I don't worry about things not fitting. I've even made an entire jacket on the serger including setting in the sleeves. Several books that I can personally recommend to help get you started are "The ABC's of Serging", "The Complete Serger Handbook" and "The Ultimate Serger Answer and Troubleshooting Guide". These can usually be found at your local library. With the differential feed on your serger you will be able to make ruffles, lettuce the edges of tops and make gathered skirts easily.
Happy Stitching!
It takes one moment to change a life.
User: MartySews
Member since: 02-23-2003
Total posts: 504
From: sew4funwme
Date: 09-18-2006, 09:16 PM (14 of 14)
I joined up the other night and was unable to post or send out replies. I felt I had alot in common with you so I wanted to drop you a line and say hi. I too am sewing for my daughter, two of them. Ages 2 and 3. Your daughter is so pretty.

Maybe you and I can give each other some tips. I enjoyed your outfits you have made so far!! great job!

Hope to talk to you soon.

User: sew4funwme
Member since: 09-16-2006
Total posts: 5
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