Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thank You, Uncle Sam!

So, this year I am getting a tax return. And I've decided to use it to buy my first serger. Woo-hoo! Thank you Uncle Sam. I am so excited by this, I can't even tell you.

I haven't really scratched the surface of the various sergers and their features. But I did read a few threads on PatternReview on buying a first serger. Based on that, plus my own personality quirks, I'd have to rank ease of threading/using as my #1 priority. At first, at least, I plan on using a serger primarily for finishing seams. But, I'd like a machine that has features that I can grow into. Most of all, I don't want to end up with a machine that I don't use because it is too difficult or fussy for me to master.

Anyway, as luck would have it, this weekend, Phineas and I visited family out of town, and it happened that the route to get there took us past Pocono Sew and Vac, which is where Phin bought my fabulous sewing machine. So, I had to pop in.  

Project Clio? - The Brother 5234
At Pocono S&V they showed me the Brother 5234 serger, which is part of their Project Runway limited edition line of machines. I am usually skeptical of special editions or celebrity sponsors, but right now this is the machine to beat. I had a very good experience with my first sewing machine, which was also a Brother. And several other sewists seem to like their Brother 1034 sergers, which I will also consider. The other machines that seem popular for first time buyers are the Juki 654 and Janome 634D.I'll also check those out.

Anyway, any of you who have sergers and opinions, please do feel free to chime in with suggestions or tips for me.  Thanks so much!


Karin said...

OOooh, lucky you! Sergers always sound wonderful. Then again, I am not sure I could figure out how to thread one!

Sheila said...

I have a Kenmore serger and initially I was so intimidated by it, but finally put on my big gurrl panties and tested it. The first mistake I made was removing the threads in the machine, when I was suppose to thread the new threads by cutting 6" from the existing ones and tie a knot thereby avoiding the dreaded process of re-threading the machine. Since then I have learned to thread the machine, but make sure I have sewing needle, tweezer and my progressive lens on hand.

Anonymous said...

Oh, congratulations. I don't sew knits often, but do use my serger for almost every project to finish woven seams. I think this purchase will change your (sewing) life.

I have a generic Babylock Protege that I got used for $250, but I don't love it. The stitching is constatly off.

Mae said...

I bought a mid-range Janome and it was a breeze to thread and use. When my daughter started a sewing and alterations business she borrowed my Janome, and then somebody gave her an old Janome that had been sitting around, unused, in a shed. I took the old one because I thought she needed a good one more than me. I got it serviced and it works like a charm, even though it still smells bad from its cockroach infested past.

Sewing Geek said...

I have two sergers. One is a Babylock Evolve that is several years old. The other is a Brother 3034 that I bought a year ago. I use the Brother for serging and leave the Babylock setup for coverstitch. The Brother is a little noisy, but it is easy to thread and easy to use. I used to have a Janome Coverstitch machine, but was never able to bond with it, but am quite happy with the setup I have now.

lakaribane said...

I have a Brother 1034D and I bought it for several reasons:
- Low price, around $200 IIRC
- Easy to thread (color coded AND drawings!)
- Uses regular needles AND regular thread with a little "booster seat" type cone
- Differential speed ie you can set how it pushes/pulls the fabric along according to your needs.

It's my first and only serger so I can't address the subtleties or the noise factor but I have no regrets. Took it out of the box and serged some scraps.

The only thing I would warn is that it's sometimes wrongly advertized as having a coverstitch feature and that is just not so. In fact, I added a coverstitch to my wishlist the minute I realized this.

Clio said...

Thanks for all the great info, everyone! Lots to think about.

People do seem to like their Brothers and Janomes. So, at least I am looking at the right things!

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Ooooh, you're gonna love it! My first serger was a White that was as hard to thread as possible, but it was still worth messing with it for that great seam finish. Once you thread it, it almost always works to tie on your next thread color rather than start from scratch (but about 1 out of 6 times something goes wrong and you do have to start from scratch). I have an old Bernette now that I don't really recommend as the 4 thread is too wide and the foot doesn't always feed the fabric into the stitch fingers.

karen said...

I have an old Baby Lock from the 80's. I was having difficulty seeing to thread it. I bought a Brother 1034 serger from Amazon. It was inexpensive and is easy to thread and works well. I'm very impressed with Brother--quality without extreme expense. I would definitely consider the Brother. You'll love it for the $$ and then when you have lots, you can upgrade.