Serger vs overlock

kathieloMarch 4, 2008

Last yr I decided I wanted a serger after seeing one on sale at Joanns. I posted on this forum for opinions on a White Superlock Model 2000. This is what I bought at a good price from Allbrands.

My question there a difference between a serger and an overlock machine. This one is a 4 thread...very easy to thread, everything is open in the front, but I find it difficult to balance the tensions. I could spend hours doing test samples before I get everything just right and by then I figure I could have had my project done on my machine. Also this White does not do the cover stitch which is something I would like to have.

So could anyone who has this White super lock, offer an words of encouragement. I have it over a yr now and rarely use it except for straight stitching garment pieces together. Do these things really take a lot of practice to get used to. I was hoping hemming pants would be a lot easier with the one step operation, but I have not been able to master the technique. Also I thought I'd be able to do elastic waistbands like on readymade clothes, but I can't yet.

Are all sergers hard to learn to use or am I expecting this one to do something it is not designed to do. I try to practice different techniques but it is frustrating so I don't use it very often. I am considering selling this one and buying a better one but I don't want to spend the money if I am going to have the same issues with any other brand.

Would buying a different brand make things better, or would I only be getting myself in deeper. I read alot of threading postings and how difficult some sergers seem to be to thread. Is it a matter of experience?

Thanks for listening to my rant.

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I don't have the model you have,but i have the white 534 and have had it for 25 years.I never had any trouble with mine til a couple weeks ago,when it finally bit the dust,so i'll be looking for a new one.

A serger and overlock are one and the same,and it's used for finishing the edges of you projects,be it garment,place mats,putting in elastic etc.It is not made to take the place of a regular sewing machine.

As far as your tension goes.your manual should tell you what tension to set it at for basic sewing.So turn them all to zero and reset it to what the book says.I struggled with this at first,but then when i did what i just told you to do ,no more problems.

To my knowledge you can't hem pants with them,unless that's a new feature i'm unaware of.You can serge the edge of them,but then you'll either have to hem them with your regular machine or by hand.

I think the mistake you made was buying it from an online shop,where there is no support,no lessons etc,since this is your first serger.

Like i said i'm getting ready to buy my 3rd one,and i still won't buy from online ,qvc or any of those kinds of places,and i've been sewing over 50 years.I'd rather buy where i'll be able to go have it serviced,have lessons IF i need them,and if i have a question will be able to call them if need be.That might be just me,but when it comes to important stuff like sewing machines and things like that,i'd rather patronize my local shop.

I don't think sergers are necessarily hard to use,just different than what we are used to.

If you decide to get a different one,try going to a local sewing machine shop for it where you will get lessons and support any time you need it.It's worth the extra dollars you will pay.JMO and hope i've answered some of your questions.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 4:49PM
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I'm going to address the hemming issue. My serger (a Viking 936) has the coverstitch feature. I love,love,love that feature for hemming.
I used to overlock the edges then use a twin needle in my regular sewing machine to emulate the look of the coverstitch. But now what I do is - first press up the hem, then place a few pieces of lightweight stitchwitchery inside the hem and press it down - that keeps it from shifting.
With my regular machine, using contrasting thread I machine baste just below where I want the coverstitch to be.
Then I use the coverstitch on my serger placing one needle right next to my machine basting (it helps to have a clear foot so I can see my machine basting).
Takes less time, thread, and the result is much more professional looking than before.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 6:34PM
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Is that what a cover stitch is used for?? As i said my serger was 25 years old,so i'm not familiar with a coverstitch.What else is new that i might want to consider when i go looking later this week?? I know about the differential feed.Just want to be up to date before i start looking.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 9:19PM
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I consider differential feed and coverstitch ability to be the main features that I would look for.

My first serger was a very basic Babylock that only did a 3 thread overlock. I got a lot of use out of that machine, but now, after using my 936 for about 4 years, I love, love the features. The differential feed is awesome, and I've already posted about how much I like the coverstitch.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 12:32AM
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I also have a Viking 936 and love it. As grandma said, the coverstitch is the best! The best advice I can give on a serger is to thread it, re-thread it, thread it again, over and over again until you're confortable doing it. I rarely tie-off...I find it better and feel I get better results from threading from "scratch" each time. I also had my one-page threading instruction sheet laminated at an office supply shop as suggested by the Viking dealer who knew it would get a lot of use and abuse while I was learning the threading process. The feature I also use a lot is the rolled hem to finish ruffles as I make square dance clothes. This is a REAL time saver for me. This is my second serger...recently I gave the old White to a friend. That one did not have a coverstitch.

As someone mentioned earlier, lessons from your dealer are vital.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 12:48PM
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kathi, you are right. I should have never bought on line especially since it was my first serger and I was not at all familiar with them having never used one. I won't make that mistake again. Unfortunately, there are not dealers locally. The closest is an hour away, and the next about an hour and a half. ....not convenient for lessons and quick questions But I am considering a new machine and will definitely make the trip. I've been draging my feet because of it. My husband is encouraging me to shop so who can argue, right?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 6:22PM
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If DH says shop,girlfriend,take the checkbook and go!! LOL

I should practice what i preach,dh always tells me to buy what i want,but i'm frugal,(can we say cheap) so i have to research and see what better deals i can get and where.But i still won't buy things like sewing machines off the net or sight unseen.I guess you could say i'm a touch,feely person when it comes to those sort of things.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 2:14PM
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Hi: I have the Babylock Imagine and I love it. It has automatic threading (its dome with a shot of air). No more tying on new thread spools. I can change thread in a couple of minutes. It also has an automatic tension setting. I never touch the set the tension, its done automatically. It doesn't do a coverstitch. My Janome did the cover stitch and it was such a pain to set it all up I never used it. It was much easier to use the two needles in the sewing machine. I would highly recomend Babylock serger, it is the greatest.


    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 8:53AM
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Thanks for all the info. I'm going shopping.


    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 2:16PM
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