Serger Fail

by ilene on March 29, 2012 · 5 comments

in sewing

Remember one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to learn how to use my new serger? I wrote more about my serger aspirations here.  I excitedly and somewhat naively thought that once I got my serger, I would be churning out all sorts of apparel. I imagined myself making all these fancy shirts and cute dresses, I really thought that I would be an emerging fashion designer and all these people would be complimenting me on my fashion forward clothes as I walked the streets of San Francisco.  HA! Psh!  It took me awhile to even muster up enough courage to open the box and learn to thread all four spools of thread.  I watched the instructional DVD a few times but even with all the diagrams on the machine, there was one confusing thread that I just couldn’t get right.  My friend had to came over and threaded it for me and I was finally all set up.

For my first project, I decided to try to make a simple tank top.  I thought it’d be easy enough. I had some  yellow and white striped knit fabric leftover from my circle scarf and decided to trace one of my tank tops to make a pattern:

My plan was to just serge the bottom hem, then the sides and top shoulders together.  In theory, it shouldn’t have been too hard.  But what started as a loose flowy long tank slowly started turning into a short midriff as I kept messing up the bottom hem and cutting it shorter and shorter.  Then one of the needles hit a pin and the needle tip broke off. Oops!!!

I couldn’t find any info in the instruction manual on how to change out a needle or even what kind of needle I should get to replace it so I stuffed the whole machine back into its box and shoved the whole wretched thing behind a bunch of boxes.

And that was my first serging experience. Fail.

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1 nicoleigh March 29, 2012 at 8:42 am

Oh man! I LOVE using my mom’s serger for anything and everything that I can think of. But yes, one thing you must remember, as you learned…you MUST remove any and all pins before you get to the cutting blade and needles. Bad things happen if you don’t remove them.
I hope you get the courage to get it back out and try it again, well, once you get the needle replaced. If not, feel free to send it to me, broken needle and all! 🙂

2 Kim March 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I saw the title of this and thought ‘what the heck is a serger’ … then I went to your previous blog ‘the urge to serge’ … its an overlooker 🙂

3 Sherilyn April 1, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Athough some sergers require special serger needles, nowadays most sergers will allow you to use a regular sewing machine needle, either size 80/12 or 90/14. And yes, it’s VITAL that you remove all pins before the fabric gets to the knife. You’ll ruin your knife and have to replace it if the knife cuts a pin. Hmm. How do I know that one is a for sure thing? Hmmm. Anyway the next time you take your serger out, get out a stack of scrap fabric and play around. Don’t try to do a project right away. A serger is a little bit tough to get at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will be turning out more clothing than you did before. If possible, try to take a class at your local dealership. It’s worth it with a serger! Using a serger is really a new skill, and, like everything else, it takes lots of practice.
You can practice with only one needle in. Sergers work with 3 threads as well as with 4. You probably need to loosen a screw to get the broken needle piece out. My biggest warning – be sure that you screw it back in tightly afterwards. Those little buggers manage to vibrate loose and lose themselves very easily. Then you can practice with 3 threads. If you broke the right needle, keep all of your tensions the same. If you broke a left needle, you may need to tighten up your looper tensions just a bit.
Don’t give up! But do get help. It’s worth it!

4 ilene April 2, 2012 at 10:06 pm

wow, thanks for the tips, sherilyn!!! I’m going to give it another shot!!! thanks for the encouragement!

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