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Saturday, December 7, 2013

I love my new serger!

No seriously, I can't believe I didn't get one sooner.  I love my serger.  I have the super-basic Brother 1034D.  It was supposed to be my birthday present back in May, but I wasted months trying to figure out why there is such a price jump in sergers and if the more expensive ones are worth it.  I chose to get a basic serger and then I will get a cover stitcher at a later date.  The combined cost will be less than many of the fancy sergers I was considering.  Despite all my debating, I finally got my serger and I love it!

Why do I love it?  It is amazingly fast, and the finish looks great.  It is also easy to use.

I was a little intimidated at first, mostly because people talk about how hard sergers are to thread and to get the tension correct.  I watched the video tutorial, and then set out to serge.  I was a little upset at first because out of the box, the thread kept breaking and it was not working like the video.  Then I discovered one of the spools had the edge with the cut in it up, so the thread kept getting caught and breaking.  One of the bonuses of this almost tragic frustration is that I got really good at threading it almost immediately.  In fact, I prefer rethreading it when I change thread color to doing the tie and pull thread through method that even the video recommended.

How did I get to love my serger so fast?  I used it on real projects to learn.  I know people advise you to practice on scraps first, but I get bored.  So, after about 12 inches of sewing on scraps I jumped to real projects.

I had two knit projects cut out ready to go: the Bimaa Sweater (LouBee Clothing) and the Lily Blazer (Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop).  It turns out I did not choose the easiest projects - not that the patterns are difficult in any way - I chose difficult fabrics.


For the Bimaa, I chose the lightest knit ever from JoAnn Fabrics.  I made a 2T, because my daughter's measurements put her in the 12 month size but I've read that it fits tight and I wanted it to fit over onesies.  I should have done the 12 month length with the 2T width because the body and sleeves are about 2 inches too long.  Oh well, room to grow right?


I followed the advice from the video tutorial to change the feed differential to 0.7 for light knits and had no issues putting the Bimaa together.  The serger goes so fast I had to get over my quilter's need to pin every two inches (and more often on curves).  I felt very proud of my first knit garment when I finished it.  There are a few seams that are not as attractive as they could be on the starts and stops, but it's a learning process.


The only odd thing about this pattern is that the hood is huge!  My daughter has a large head - like 96th percentile huge head - and she swims in it.  It is also so big that it pulls the shirt too far back because of too much fabric weight, so it pulls at the neck.  If I were to ever make this hoodie in the smaller sizes I would probably try to draft down the hood a little.  Most likely, I just won't make the hood option again until she is older.  I will probably do the shawl option next.


For the Lily Blazer I chose a beautiful stripe that I am pretty sure I also got at JoAnn Fabrics.  Knit stripes are probably not a good choice for a second garment ever made on the serger, but I went for it!


Most of the stripes ended up matching, so I'm pretty happy with it.  I made the 12 month size.  I love the ruffle on her butt when she is crawling around.



The only other change I made was to use snaps instead of buttons because they are easier to dress her with.


The way this is constructed it becomes fully lined when you are done which is very nice.


My only complaint is that the sleeves are too long with the cuff.  I should have followed the baby example the pattern came with where the designer didn't add the cuff and just hemmed the sleeves.  Then, the length would have been perfect.  As is, I fold the cuff up completely and the serged edge shows.  The black thread against the dark fabric isn't really noticeable so in reality, I'm probably the only person that will notice.


I can't wait to keep using my new toy!

Linked to: Make it, Wear it from The Train to Crazy, Fabric Tuesday at Quilt StoryYou Flew Tuesdays at Feather's Flights and Friday Favs Party at Nap Time Crafters.

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8 Comments:

At December 8, 2013 at 3:04 AM , Blogger Mama Deborah said...

Good job! I reconigze your story of getting bored if you are not in a project. But try always by every new project if the settings of your machine are right. If you use clips whit knits is that better for your machine, you and for the knit. Because the clips can not come under the foot and knife. It makes no holes in your knit. And your work stays better in place.

A cover is like a car it has to make miles, because it works beter. At the top is button and that one is very important.

 
At December 8, 2013 at 10:51 AM , Blogger Heather Feather said...

Both projects turned out great for your first time using a serger! I love the fabrics you chose; they are so adorable! I bet they look so clean on the inside with the nice serged edges!

 
At December 8, 2013 at 11:04 AM , Blogger Heather S. said...

Good point about the settings! I should have mentioned that I did spend quite a bit of time getting the tension right before I started on my "practice" time. And using the thickest and thinnest knits possible did force me to learn about tension and the feed differential very quickly!

 
At December 8, 2013 at 11:06 AM , Blogger Heather S. said...

Thank you! I can't believe I was trying to sew baby clothes without using knits as long as I did. My sewing machine would just eat knits. Sergers are awesome!

 
At December 10, 2013 at 1:17 PM , Blogger Olga Becker @ Kid Approved said...

Both projects are so cute. I adore the striped jacket. Great job!

 
At December 10, 2013 at 9:21 PM , Blogger Heather S. said...

Thank you!

 
At February 18, 2014 at 1:36 PM , Blogger The Itinerant Seamstress said...

I just discovered the Lily Blazer pattern and went on Flickr to see who had made it - this is spectacular! I'd wear your version myself. I want to make one for my girls. How long did it take you to put together?

 
At February 22, 2014 at 9:49 AM , Blogger Heather S said...

I'm guessing it took a few hours. I was very new to knits and my serger when I made it so I know my cutting was slow, and I was being super careful with tension. The only trouble I had was my ruffle ended up too long - my fault as I was getting used to how to tell seam allowances on a serger, and with top stitching - because my regular machine hates knits. It's a very cute pattern.

 

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