To Serge or Not to Serge?

When I turned 30 last year I didn’t have any particular wish for what I wanted, so instead I got money. At first I thought about getting an ice cream maker, but the husband bought one for me for Christmas. So I still have all that money, which I wish to go to something for me as opposed to just getting lost in daily expenses. Well, I did buy myself 2 bracelets in December which I account as a birthday gift for myself, but I am keeping track of the money to make sure it goes to me and to something special.

But today I got an idea. Perhaps I should buy myself a serger. I like my sewing machine and it runs great, so I have always thought that I don’t need a serger, but of course I’ve read endless blog posts about people seeing the light when they bought a serger. Perhaps I too will see the light.

I figured I will get a used one. I don’t know anything about sergers and the money pit is endless. I think I can find a decent serger for what I have. Even though I will buy it used I will still go through a retailer to make sure it’s been properly served and to get proper guarantee and assistance. Buying it used will limit my options, especially if only the retailers’ ones are available and not Ebay, and I will need to be on the lookout.

So, since this idea is only a few hours old (although very strangely late considering my birthday was three months ago) and the fact that I know nothing of sergers, a thousand questions are running through my mind. Can I get any “known” brand (Husqvarna, Janome, Brother, Pfaff)? Will my traditional sewing machine become redundant? Can I learn to use a serger, it seems so complicated (I’m lazy and when I sew I just want to get going and know what I’m doing)? Will getting a serger help my sewing experience, perhaps daring me to expand my horizons? Will an old brand one (which seems to be in my budget range) be as good as a new un-brand one, or perhaps even better?

Anyone out there who are willing to share the serger experiences? It seems like a perfect gift for myself, but at the same time I want to make sure I’ll use it to its full advantages and not just let it collect dust (or will that be the fate of my regular machine). So, please share any serger experience to help me!

 (While I’m shopping I will probably also buy a rotary cutter and mat, but that doesn’t seem like an extravagant splurge).

11 thoughts on “To Serge or Not to Serge?

  1. I really like my serger/overlocker and I think the sewing machine and overlocker compliment each other in a good way. Before getting my overlocker I also thought of buying a used one, but they’re kind of hard to come by through a retailer and I got a brand new machine online for the same price. I TOTALLY recommend this site: http://www.sewingmachines.co.uk/

    I have written about my purchase here, maybe it will help you:
    http://projectsbyme.blogspot.se/2012/07/present-time.html

    Good luck!!

    • Hmm, international shopping you say? We have some retailers around here (funny since we’ve just got the one fabric store: Stoff och Stil, but several sewing machine vendors), but buying used still limits my options. You seem happy with your choice and it didn’t seem like much hassle ordering from the UK either. It’s definitely a great alternative.

      • It was no hassle at all! Russell at sewing machines direct is super nice. And you just order on their site, I paid via Paypal (which is an awesome thing) and just a few days later I had my machine!. I have a Brother 1034D too, it’s certainly not a luxury model, but it’s definately enough for me at the moment.

  2. You didn’t say what your budget is, but the Brother 1034D is a cheap serger that you may be able to pick up new. I wouldn’t consider ever being without one since I got mine. There isn’t really much of a learning curve – once you know how to thread it (and the Brother isn’t at all difficult to thread) it’s easy to use. I thought when I bought mine that I would use it for a year or so whilst saving up to buy one of the expensive air threading machines, but I now have absolutely no intention of upgrading. I’m completely happy with my cheap and cheerful machine. I even bought another one to give to my mum after she kept asking me to serge things for her. She’s nearly 70 and had no problems learning how to use it.

    I know some people use their serger to sew with (especially knits/jerseys) but I never do – I always sew my seams on my sewing machine first, then serge to finish them – but that is entirely a personal preference.

    The 1034D comes with a DVD that shows how to do some of the main tasks with it, and how to thread it – Brother have also put the content of the DVDs on Youtube. It was watching these on Youtube that made my decision to buy very easy.

    The other thing that made me choose that particular model was that so many people online (especially at patternreview) own the same one that the chances were if I had any problems with it I would be able to get help. As it is, I’ve never had any problems🙂

    • That does seem like a popular model indeed and from what you’re saying it’s easy to learn with an endless pool of resources. I’m getting more and more convinced.

  3. I have no regrets about getting my serger! It was a combo birthday/Christmas present from my parents a few years ago. I primarily got it for sewing knits, and it’s been invaluable for that, but I’ve also found it handy for finishing edges on wovens, too. Especially the jeans I made last year. You may not want to use it with really delicate fabrics, though, because it will chew the edges up! Mine is a Baby Lock, one of the more basic models. Probably the biggest learning curve will be the threading. I took a free class at the store that it was purchased from, and that was helpful. I know Craftsy also has a serger class, which I’d like to take at some point, but I have a bunch of other classes I need to take first that were already purchased.

    • If I were to buy a used one from one of our local retailers I would get a course included in the price. But with all the online resources perhaps the better way to go would be to order online from a cheaper country and make use of the internet instead.

  4. I say get one! I am currently learning to sew with knits and am loving it, but am finding my regular sewing machine, not only takes forever using the triple stretch stitch, but also does not have a professional finish. Also, I find with the very thin jersey that I’ve just used on a T-shirt, the triple stretch stitch tends to drive the fabric into the feed dogs, I end up with a mess. Happened about 4 times with the t-shirt. I have sewing class tonight and my sewing teacher had mentioned that she would give me her old one. Fingers crossed, that she remembered and that she meant it! If so, I will get back to you on what kind it is and how it works

    • My machine works fairly well with knits, but from what I have gathered getting a serger would be a whole new experience. I hope your teacher remembers it too!

  5. I also have the Brother 1034D and it is amazing! All my garments look professional and polished on the inside. Its especially nice when you don’t want to line something, you can just serge the seams instead. I say get it! That or a new fancy schmancy iron.

    • So many here to recommend the Brother 1034D. If I were to buy it in UK as suggested perhaps I can buy an iron too, maybe not the fanciest but a better one than the one we have.

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