Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Learning to Use the Serger

When my Grandma passed away a year and a half ago I inherited her sewing machine and her serger. I have been using the sewing machine nearly daily since then, but the serger just sort of sat, forlorn and forgotten because I didn't know how to use it. I told myself it was because I wanted to get really good at more traditional clean seam finishes before learning to use the serger because it seems like cheating a little bit, but in reality I was also afraid to try and use it. I had used a serger on only one prior occasion and when I did I managed to cut a large hole in the fabric when I caught some excess fabric in the seam and I had to start all over again. It made me swear off machines that can so easily ruin projects.

Last weekend I finally screwed up my courage and pulled out the serger. I am a much better sewer now than I was a decade ago the last time I tried to use one so I was hopeful that this time it would go better.

The first thing I did was read the manual cover to cover. It had some very helpful tips on using the machine.

The second thing I did was clean it thoroughly. Check out the nice big ball of lint I got out of it. I'm guessing that Grandma's last project was green and white.

Then I surged the edges of a couple of fabrics that I needed to launder. I also took the opportunity to play with the tension so I could get a better idea of what was right or wrong and how to correct it. Much to my surprise adjusting the tension on the serger was actually easier than my sewing machine because everything is clearly labeled. 

And finally I actually made a couple of pairs of flannel pajama pants. (Did you know pajamas keep you even warmer if they have pictures of sweaters, mittens, socks, and hats? True story.)

I'm pleased with how well I lined up the pattern on the seams here.

And look at that nice, clean, serged seam.

I also made a pair with cupcakes and snowflakes, although I don't think you can actually see the snowflakes in the picture because they are white on very pale blue. 

The pattern I used is Butterick 5432 view G. I did have to make a few changes. If I had folded the waistband where they indicated the pajamas would have come up nearly to my nipples, so I folded nearly 4 inches down for the waistband. In the future I think I will just cut that part off. I also had to hem the pants higher than the pattern thought I would. Either I have really short legs, or Butterick was working on the assumption that the person making these pajama pants is 6 feet tall and nothing but leg. 

All in all, I am very happy with my new pajama pants and even happier that I finally conquered my fear of the serger. 

No comments:

Post a Comment