When I first started my pattern drafting program, I was told that I would want to invest in a serger within 6 months. There was a part of me, though, that wanted to resist. I thought, people have been sewing intricate garments ages before the home serger was available, why do I need this expensive equipment? Little by little, I began to see how a serger would make my life easier. In particular, the princess seams from my latest unit made me see the light. How are you supposed to finish a curved and clipped seam on easily frayed fabrics without one?
When it came to purchasing one, I really had no idea what I needed. Years ago, I took a t-shirt class at a local sewing studio and was able to play around with a serger but other than that, I’ve had very limited time with one. Considering how expensive these little buggers are, this inexperience scared me. Do I buy the entry level ($250 – $300) machine and hope that it does everything I need or do I invest in a mid level ($500 – $1000) blindly? I considered used machines. The repair stores around me said that they rarely have a used machine for sale and craigslist/classifieds frightened me. I didn’t know what to look for and if I spent $150 – $200 on a machine that later needed to be repaired, I wouldn’t really be saving much. Also, who would show me how to thread it?
Last week, I wandered into my local craft store only to find this machine in the window for $125. Rose, the owner, has been fixing up used machines to sell and all proceeds go to Rainbow Kids, a local nonprofit for local at-risk children. I can be confident that the machine has been recently serviced and is in working order and the best part is that they’ve agreed to teach me to thread the thing. If you happen to live in the area and are looking for a serger, there are a few more ready for sale!
The machine, a Singer 14u34b, is nothing fancy but reviews say that it is a workhorse. The machine can run 3 or 4 threads which means I don’t have coverstitch or 2 thread options but I don’t anticipate this being a problem. It has the capability of doing rolled hems but I’ll have to buy the throat plate since it was missing. All in all, I’m really happy with the purchase. I think it will serve me well and give me a chance to learn what it is that I need from a machine. Also, I can’t wait to try my hand at some knit fabrics!
Do you have a serger at home? What’s your favorite feature? Any advice to someone just learning?