Wednesday, January 22, 2020

On buying a serger

Because of my affiliation with a certain sewing machine company which I mention often, but I don't try to appear pushy and insist that everyone upgrade to a new machine. I sure hope I don't do that - I'm just excited about what the new features are. So bear with me if I do go overboard sometimes. You know I'm obsessive.

This year, I tried something different for my classes at Oh Look Fabric. Some people want a private class on something and I've now got one day a month scheduled at the shop. This makes it easy for the shop and myself to organize instead of me running out there at all times of the day and the week. I still do private classes at my house if that works as well. It's way easier for me!

Yesterday, I had a lady come in with a serger. It was a Singer serger and she was having trouble threading it. She even had a friend look at it and no luck getting it to work. That's usually the case with sergers. But holy - this serger was awkward to use. I don't know how old it was, but it didn't seem like an old serger.

It had a top cutter instead of one inside the serger so that made threading the needles a total nightmare. The lower looper had the most bizarre way of being threaded. The manual wasn't the best, but holy - without it - we wouldn't have got that thing threaded.

And then for whatever reason, the two-thread converter was installed. See the little white gizmo attached to the looper with a wire? And that big thing in the front is the cutter! It's the most bizarre serger I've ever seen. If you're doing a two-thread rolled hem, that little gizmo (called a converter or in this case, they called is a spreader), is critical to getting the nice rolled hem. You do NOT want to lose it.

The spreader and the exterior cutter on the serger

The bottom line, I did get it threaded and we had to tweak the tensions just a wee bit. Then she threaded it and I have to say that she was pretty fast. And it worked!

However, it only has 6 stitches on it. I seriously think I'd be doing an upgrade if that were my serger. I didn't mention that to her - that's her business. I wasn't there to sell her a new machine. But I'd have upgraded to one of the Husqvarna Viking Amber Air s400. Air threading! Built-in 2-thread converter so that little gizmo (which we had to remove) won't get lost. And the cutter is NOT in that position - it's inside the serger. Oh well - not my money!

Things have definitely improved in the serger world. Thank goodness for that. I would say that if she was going to do a lot of serging, I'd think about a replacement. Why? She mastered the threading pretty fast, but what a fiddly job. You cannot do it without tweezers. Just cannot. It has a very limited number of stitches. But it's that exterior cutter that would drive me mad!!!

So if you have a serger and you want to learn how to use it, let me know! I think I can tackle just about any serger after tackling that one.

On Monday sewing, we chat about everything and anything. One of the topics this past week was on more environmentally friendly products. Turns out there is a shop near the quilt store in Milton that sells these kinds of products. I went a wee bit early so I could check it out. The shop is called Kind Matter. 

The Kind Matter sign

Isn't that interesting - take a picture (cause everyone has a phone with a camera these days) instead of getting a business card that will end up in the trash. I like that idea. I didn't have a whole lot of time as I had to hunt to get a parking space and then had to walk which made my FitBit happy. Speaking of taking pictures, I was approached in the locker room this morning to take a picture of a bruise on the back of a lady. I didn't ask questions. Not my business. The fact that she was getting a picture of the bruise was enough to make me think she cared about how it got there and would be following up.

Anyway, I've been looking for this product or one similar to it. It replaces Ziploc bags. These are made of silicone (made in China which made me cringe when I bought it). They are supposed to go from freezer to cooking to storage to the dishwasher. I like the concept of them. They are NOT cheap. This is the smallest size and I thought it would be good for snacks. I noticed there were NO prices on any of the items in the shop. Interesting.................

The snack size of the stasher

I've seen some other brands advertised and I should do some research to get the best one for me. Well - check it out on the internet. Stasher or silicone bags - you'll get loads of choices. Not cheap, but then if you don't ever have to replace them - that's better.

While I was at the shop, I had a peek at some of the other products and purchased a bottle of their all-purpose cleaner which is supposed to be very good. It's in the kitchen - I shall have to give it a whirl. You can take the container back to the shop and refill it. That I like.

Environmentally friendly cleaner

Here are my reusable produce bags that I made. They were sitting on the kitchen counter when I took the other pictures. I absolutely love them and it does save us from using the plastic ones. I used one yard of curtain sheer which was very wide - more than 100 inches wide. I bought some cording and so for about $10, I got 16 produce bags. And I had the fun of making something that I'll actually use. I know some people are getting fancy and using expensive fabrics and toggles. There's no need for that. I tied a knot in that cording and it works just fine. Alternatively, you could buy them.

Homemade reusable produce bags

I do like the see-thru bags as the cashier at the grocery store doesn't have to open the bag to see what's inside. Neither do we when we unpack the groceries. I used the serger and they were super easy.

Hmmm - what else can I made for the house that will be environmentally friendly?? I've got to come up with something.

I did spend the morning and the evening on the computer and made great headway on my project. Just not fast enough. I NEED to be mostly finished the project today as I have to move on to other things.

And I have to get myself organized for my dressmaking class later today. We'll be making samples today and I get to try out the sewing machines that they have at the college. That will be the test to see if I need to take my own next week. I hope not as it's a hike to the classroom and I don't want to carry my machine. I don't have a rolling tote and no plans to buy one.

Did anyone get a chance to watch this video? It's part of the PBS series - Crafts in America. The 23rd episode was on quilts. I didn't get a chance to watch it although I thought I saw a link to the episode somewhere on the internet. I'll try to find it so I can watch it. If I do, I'll share it with you.

On that note, I'd better get myself organized and get the day started.

Have a super day!!!!



  1. The PBS show on quilting is fabulous! Definitely worth the 45 minutes.

  2. I entered silicone ziplock bag into a google search and came up with several articles on alternatives. Here are a couple that compare several different brands.

  3. First of all, this type of sewing machine cuts and finishes a garment as it stitches. This eliminates some of the processes that will be needed when using a conventional type machine. best brother serger for beginners

    1. Yep--- that's pretty much what I said in the blog post!