Wednesday, 2 February 2011

I got an urge to serge


Readers, not only have I taken my serger out of its box, not only have I also read the instruction manual in full (well, almost), BUT I have also RETHREADED the blighter! Oh yes. 


The rethreading part took me about three hours, 2 hours and 55 minutes of which were spent trying to work out how to get all four threads in the right configuration and under the presser foot so that a) they wouldn't get snipped by the blade and b) they would actually wind themselves round the fabric.

I sat through this muzak, alas to no avail:


Eventually it worked, but I'm not quite sure what I did nor if I could do it again. I took a close up photo of what it should look like for future reference, so at least I have some kind of starting point next time I need to rethread it:


Clear? Good.



As you can see, in an effort to put all that manual reading to good use, I've labelled the different parts of the machine. I want to get into the habit of saying "differential feed ratio adjustment lever" rather than "that twiddly bit at the end".


And finally, just look at what it can do! The dual cutting-stitching action is super satisfying to witness and will make finishing seams - the most boring part of sewing in my opinion - much more fun. Hurrah!

[Soundtrack: 'Bonnie and Clyde' by Serge Gainsbourg]

39 comments:

  1. I got a serger for Christmas, and man, rethreading it felt like the biggest accomplishment ever! I'm slowly figuring it out, but it sure is intimidating.

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  2. Wow, well done!! I really like these pictures too.
    From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

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  3. I am so NOT jealous of the 3 hours threading time, but I am VERY jealous of the seam achieved in the final pic - well done!

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  4. Congratulations on your new machine and the whole re-threading experience. You can make rethreading the upper / lower loopers easier by snipping these threads before they go into the machine then knotting your new thread to the old ends (if that makes any sense at all!) Then you sew as normal until the new threads appear in your stitching. It only works if upper / lower loopers are threaded correctly but can save a lot of time and fiddling about.

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  5. Well done you. The rethreading trick that Clare mentioned is what we were shown at college too. I find the very thought of threading an overlocker just toooooo scary.
    I hope this doesn't mean we'll be seeing lots of spangly stretchy disco dancewear on here, lol!!

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  6. You have threaded it up in black.... but the overlocked item is white..... Seriously though, it does get easier and the hours spent figuring it out are easily recouped by the speed of the machine in action, and of course the professional results!

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  7. Gosh I want one of these... and by the sounds of it, a nifty little assistant to thread it for me!
    x

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  8. Once you spend that time, the first time, it does get easier! I wonder what you'll be making soon! Can't wait to see!!!

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  9. Yay you did it! It's taken me a long time to get the hang of threading my overlocker (do they have the worst instructions or what???)

    I agree with Clare - I used to dread changing threads, but I was shown that I could snip the threads off at the spools and tie the ends of the new thread to the old thread. It feeds through quickly (except the knot doesn't always go through the eye of the needle). But hey, it saves the pain of re-threading right from the start :)

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  10. Congratulations! I got a serger for Christmas (it's also a brother, but it's 3034D) and while I manage to thread it once, I then realized it was made for UK electric system! I hadn't the courage to re-thread it since *sigh* ...

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  11. Gargh. Three hours? I'm even more frightened of sergers now! Perhaps I'll wait a bit before investing... Ten out of ten for patience, Tilly!

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  12. Bravo for persevering through that! I think that was the part that took me the longest to learn how to do when I got my serger, and now rethreading is a breeze (although I often use the trick that several other mention of tying the new cones of thread to the old threads... ;). Oh, and as for keeping things from getting tangled under the presser foot: I always use a pair of tweezers to pull all the threads under and to the back of the presser foot. It's a bit awkward but works.

    Have fun playing with your new toy--it's totally worth all the initial frustration! :)

    ♥ Casey

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  13. That diagram looks insane! How exciting to be able to finish seams. I'm a little jealous.

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  14. I break out into a cold sweat every time I have to rethread my serger! I look forward to seeing what you create:)

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  15. Congratulations, well done! I was also really scared of threading my new overlock for the first time a few weeks back. Strangly it went rather easily, but that might be 'cause it's such an old machine. Very clear little diagram in different colours!
    I've also heard the trick of tying the new thread and the old one together, but to just gently pull the new thread through the machine (not sewing!). Makes the risk of the knot getting stuck somewhere along the line a lot smaller.
    Have fun sewing! I loved using the overlock for interlocked jersey, is that by any chance your next project? ; )

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  16. Congrats on getting it to work! :) I too hate finishing seams, which is why most of mine so far have just been pinked. I'm trying to get myself into the habit of doing prettier finishes, as I don't expect a serger is in my near future.

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  17. Yay! You have the same serger as I do. It took me a while to get up the guts enough to learn how to use it. But now I do, its so fun to serge. :)

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  18. I just bought the *exact* same model, and while I was home sick last week I decided to watch the instructional DVD. Snore. I fell asleep several times.

    Then when I unpacked the serger and opened it up, it was completely unthreaded, so I had to thread from scratch :( I felt such a sense of accomplishment when I got a real seam too! I think taking a close-up photo is a great idea because I found the illustrations in the booklet less than helpful. I actually stopped looking at them and winged it.

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  19. Congrats and well done! :-)

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  20. I bought the very same serger, and it arrived last week. I sat here on my lap top with the cd rom it came with and watched it over and over again. I think I have it, but I do believe I will do the snipping of the old thread and knotting the new one, so I don't have to re thread it.
    Did yours come with the cd? If so watch it a million times and it starts to sink in.

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  21. Good for you Tilly! I really want one of these, but currently I barely have room for one sewing machine. Maybe someday...

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  22. These things scare me! Though one day, I would love really well finished seams......look forward to hearing about your adventures with it!

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  23. someone gave me a serger with the same labels on them, without them I would have been stuck. luv my serger, its a lower end one (cheaper!) but it does the work.

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  24. Wow! That looks extremely confusing. I so want a serger. I am hoping maybe if I hint enough throughout the year I can get one for Christmas.

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  25. Good job with the threading! The only problem with the threading trick is it doesn't work when you've broken a thread. I have the same serger, but to save money I bought one that had been returned by some other user whose courage no doubt had failed her. I had to take it completely apart to find out why it wouldn't run (belt was off motor), THEN learn to thread it!

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  26. Try threading an old Merrow machine. A new serger is a piece of cake.

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  27. Clare is right on with the snip and tie method. I've had my serger years and years and that works for me...usually.

    Can't wait to see what you're going to make with the new machine.

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  28. I think I have the same serger as you! It makes finishing seams so much easier and cleaner.

    I constantly have to whip out the manual everytime I want to re-thread it. To save myself the trouble, I tie on new serger threads to the old ones and serge through a piece of muslin, so I don't have to re-thread everytime I want to change the serge thread color.

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  29. God, I hope you had a drink after all that !
    I think "two Anacin and a hot bath comes to mind,LOl. I've always thought I would try sewing with a serger, perhaps purchase one but now I'm thinking ...this is Big Girl Sewing and I need a Valium just reading what you've done. Great Job dear friend.
    Elise x

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  30. That does look a little scary! I was actually thinking of buying this exact serger from Amazon. I was amazed at the price of them online, in australian stores the prices are through the roof, I always saw them as a luxury I would never be able to afford. Would you recommend this model? Shot in the dark, but do you now if Aus/uk/us sergers use different power wattage?
    Well done on the threading, love your organized stickies and notes, super cute ;)

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  31. It really does get easier the more you do it. I have an older Bernette, and I can just about thread it without thinking now, though I always always always tie on the new thread instead of starting over completely.
    keep in mind, it does matter what order you thread it in. usually you have to start with the thread furthest to the right. if one of the other threads broke, you don't have to pull everything out, though - just pull the other threads out of the last hole or two. and always thread the needle last. I have no clue why it matters, but when my sis has trouble with hers - unthreading the needle, finishing up the other threads, and then rethreading the needle - it always solves it.
    keep at it - you'll be so glad you did!

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  32. I agree with Sarah and Bookette. When having to change the cotton on my serger (generally referred to as an over-locker here in Australia) I snip the threads closest to the reels and then tie/knot the new thread to the ends of the old cotton.
    Beginning with the threads to the right of the machine, I then pull start to pull them through bit by bit. Due to the tension applied to the cotton by the machine you might need to help the threads through as you. A pair of long tweezers that have a slanted end (the kind used for stamp collecting) are really useful when you get the inner areas of the machine. You'll need to cut the cotton either side of the knot before you get to the eyes of the needle. Doing it this ways takes me no more than a few minutes!

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  33. Don't you just love playing with a new machine? Your life is about the change! Have fun!

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  34. Wow, I think I'm the only one who didn't have any problems rethreading my serger! I have the same model as you, Tilly. Admittedly, I did spend a lot of time reading about the serger and watching the CD-ROM that came with it. In the end, those didn't help very much. I ended up getting "Successful Serging" by Beth Baumgartel and found it to be a much easier read and very detailed. Once I actually started rethreading the machine it took about 10 minutes and I did it right the first time! It's been awesome using the serger, and I think it will completely change the way I sew.

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  35. Thanks for the book recommendation, Lee Ann - I'll check it out...

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  36. Thanks so much for sharing this--it got me off my butt to tackle my new serger (same model) this weekend. I used your label idea too, and I think it makes the machine a bit more approachable because it's like I put my stamp on it.

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  37. Threading my serger is one of my most feared tasks! I have an old Pfaff machine with an extremely complicated threading procedure. Good job on the perfect end stitch result!

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  38. Oh wordy word, I have just started to rethread mine this morning, and, erm... You can see I'm on the laptop now (ahem), but I'm going to get my rethreading done quickly because I would rather overlock a seam that french-seam a seam. And I have handwritten stickers all over my machine too. Have fun!

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  39. I've got an old Singer serger. It came threaded and I've never retreaded it, just knotted the new thread o the old and pulled it through up to the eye of the needle.

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