qotd: 5/19/11

kay_in_paMay 19, 2011

When I bought my Juki last year, it came with a $200 gift certificate from the dealer. It turns out that because my machine is Juki's break into the home quilting machine market, they don't yet have many specialty feet for it, other than the several that came with it.

I was interested, particularly, in a rolled hem stitch for doing things such as napkins. Well, lo & behold, when I searched their site, I found a Brother serger that has that function, plus several others, built into it for under $200. So I bought it with my gift certificate.

BUT, and this is a huge BUT: I've never used a serger before.

So, the question of the day is:

Do you use a serger (particularly as related to quilting), what functions do you use, and what advice can you give someone who's barely glanced at them before, but now has one sitting in the box by the backdoor... And I'm too intimidated to even unbox it!

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Lucky you! - a new toy to play with!

I use mine to serge the edge of my quilt before it's quilted. It closes up any of those pesky little outer seams that sometimes come apart in all my handling of the top. And this helps a lot during that final pressing before it goes on the longarm. I serge again after it's quilted before I attach the binding. The serging seals together all 3 layers, making the binding easier to attach, IMHO.
I'm anxious to read the other ideas. We don't always use our equipment to it's fullest advantage.

Have fun!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 9:51AM
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Kay, I have had a serger for many years. The first thing is to learn to thread it. That was the most intimidating feature for me. My serger is about 23 years old so yours may not be the same, but there is an order in which to thread it. If it isn't threaded in the correct order it breaks the thread.
When I bought mine I had young children at home and I used it to make clothing for them. I don't use it for quilting related items. I do like to make rolled hem edges and to overlock the raw edges when I hem pants.
Linda OH

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 9:56AM
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I'm fairly new at using my serger as well. And I'm in Linda's boat...I use it for clothing, rolled hems & overlocked edges.

I do like Cindy's idea of serging before adding binding, but I'm not sure about feeding all that bulk along while using my small table space. Something to think about..

Oh, and I should add: Don't be intimidated about threading. Mine is a new model and it's clearly marked what thread goes where. I also used a label machine to mark on the machine which thread path was called what. That helps when troubleshooting, and you only have to figure it out the first time to actually label it.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 10:38AM
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I have a basic serger (no frills!) that doesn't get much use any more. I have only used it in clothing and home dec construction, and I don't sew clothes any more! I do have a pile of fabrics I was planning to make clothes with, so I'm thinking when I get those done I may sell my serger.

It's a very basic White brand with differential feed. It does a great job, and also makes beautiful rolled hems. Okay, now I think I talked myself in to keeping it! LOL


    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 10:42AM
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Congrtas on the new serger Kay- everyone needs to add one if they collect sewing machines :)

My serger is 20+ years old as well-I just had to have one! I thought it would allow me to sew clothing faster ~ big joke - no time to sew is no time to sew regardless of the machine!

I have used my serger thru the years for home decor - alot! It is great for finishing off the edges for hemming. Rolled edges, I still do on my very old Pfaff 1222E - used it last year for altering a chiffon Bridesmaid dress - alot of rolled hemming.

As far as quilting....I would be concerned about the edges getting cut off as you serge and distortion. But, Cindy-you are way more experienced than I am. One of the frustrating aspects for me making the D9P was the sliced edges coming apart even thou I shorten my stitches - maybe serging them would be the answer.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 12:11PM
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They are a very useful tool but don't use it as much as I would if I had a place to keep it set up.
I have made a whole quilt with it--trip around the world with st. seams. Great 1/4" but it does make quilting a challenge, I sent that one out.lol. The results was very satisfing.
I used to put all my bindings on with the serger. Again, a great 1/4" to turn to but I did sew it down by hand. Have not done that in a while but feel it is not too bad a way to use.
It is wonderful for making clothes with knit material, eg. tee shirts, baby things. My prefered way to do them.
I do not have a lot of different feet with mine but do have rolled hem capabilities. Mine has differental feed which is also a useful tool.
Mine is probably about 15 yrs. old and isn't easy to thread but has worked very well for me.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 2:40PM
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I forgot to mention, I watched a very, very old (and funny) Eleanor Burns episode where she was introducing the brand new serger to piece a quilt. Everything about the episode was nostalgic & funny from her new machine to her hairdo, and puffy sleeves. I loved it!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 3:01PM
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I've got a Brother serger that also cost me about $200 about 8 years ago. I hemmed 40 tablecloths for my sister to give to the high school and that paid for the serger (free shipping too). I do not use it in my quilting, but I do use it to serge the raw edges of pattern pieces before I sew a dress or whatever. And I made lots of pillow cases with it. Yes, finding the time to use all our toys can be a problem.

It may be that you can set the machine to not cut off the edge as you serge - read the manual.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 7:54PM
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I've never even touched one.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 10:01PM
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Love my serger! Never thought of using it on the edges of quilts before binding...what an excellent idea! Thanks for sharing that tip.
I use mine for clothes, napkins, home decor stuff but now will try it for quilting.
Saw a fons and porter program where a ruffled quilt was made completely on a serger. Very cute! Check out the link below.
My advice....just yours out of the box, set it up and play!
I don't think the newer ones are that hard to use and it should have a manual that will walk you through what to do and how to thread it. I think you may find that you will wonder "how in the world did I manage all these years without a serger?" At least that was my experience! :)


Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.babylock.com/projects/quilting/

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 6:58AM
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I've had my serger for 5 years and am still learning. I use it alot to finish edges on clothing. I used it to make covers for outdoor grill and smoker. Also a canopy for the tent. I don't have to worry about the seams coming apart and the egdes unravelling. I've never used it for a quilt. I haven't learned how to do the rolled edges yet. I need to play with mine more.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 12:16PM
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