Let me share with you all the good tips I’ve learned about sergers (after the threading tutorial you love!)
First of all: what is a Serger (or Overlocker)?
1. Buy good quality thread
SO: Please try changing the thread spools
if you start experiencing multiple brokes!
2. Take several pics of the original threading
SO: Do not procrastinate: take some shoot!
3. Learn soon to re-thread from scratch, not to knot and pull thread
BUT: When you’re in a hurry, you can knot-and-pull, only please don’t let the knot pass through your needle’s eyes or you’ll end with broken/bent needles…
4. A serger can’t backstitch
Well, in fact, it can… but you will not desire to do so, because it will cut your newly made stitches!
You have to leave long tails and fix the in some way (post full of pics coming soon), just NEVER cut chains near the end of the fabric, as my mother-in-law did with my Recycled Pajamas when came to my home and saw the tails dangling from LilPotato’s sleeves (because she couldn’t wait me to fix them, she had to wear her new pajamas NOW!) or the seam will unravel soon!
OR: you can turn your fabric and try to sew a couple of cm without approaching to your knives, but it’s not a beginner’s trick, believe me!
5. Never Sew on Pins (or at least put them far from the knives!)
I never baste (and my mother always turn up her nose when I say that) and often use pins (well, in fact, now that I’m a serger owner, I often sew without pinning too…) when I use my sewing machine, I often leave pins in and sew above them (I know, it’s not good, but I’m so lazy sometimes often!). With the serger you can either pin on the left side, far from the seam and paralleled (or perpendicular as on sewing machine, if you put your pins at least 5 cm far from the seam line) or
Do Not Pin At All
6. (This is a savvy/frugal tip)You don’t really need to buy 4 cones of each color
When I started serging, I was worried about the huge quantity of thread I was going to buy: a serger uses a lot more of thread then a sewing machine, due to the fact he sews mostly with 3 or 4 threads.
If you’re sewing a (let’s say) purple dress, you’ll be worried to show white stitches when seams stretch, so you’ll go to the store and buy ONE ONLY 10000 yds cone (because it costs less than the little spools you used to buy until now), to be put on the left needle, which is the most noticeable on the right side of the fabric; while you’re at the store, buy some white and black and neutrals (grey, nude, pale pink, and so on) HUGE cones (you’ll use them onto the right needle and the loopers, WHICH AREN’T SHOWING AT ALL on the right side of your dress!!!).
Buying huge spuns, will grow your thread collection, you’ll end with a lot of colors in no time and without spending a lot every time.
By the way: if you’re sewing a cardigan or a piece of clothing that will show the inside when you wear it (or you have a lot of money): buy 4 cones of the perfect shade of your fabric
OR: you can buy one only cone on the perfect shade of color and make 3 bobbins to be loaded on needles and one looper (remember that loopers uses a lot of thread, so you’ll end bobbins in no time!)
7. Create Your Personal Serging Book, using different colors for each thread and moving tensions around
I’d really like to see some Personal Serging Book,
you can share your on SergerPepper’s flickr group
8. A Serger goes faster than a sewing machine (a.k.a: don’t push down your foot!)
SO: slow and steady wins the race!
9. Differential feed: my new friend!
You can’t sew with a serger full of lint: someone says you have to clean it at least every 3-4 hours of sewing: because of the knives cutting and cutting your fabric, your serger will soon change from a dream to a nightmare: threads and needles will start to broke, tensions will get worse, nothing will seems right. It’s time to spring cleaning: open your serger’s belly, unthread and clean around with a brush, then with an air compressor (or a can of compressed air, like the one you can use for cleaning a keyboard). When all is clean: a couple of oil drops on every metallic connecting, then sew on a piece of rag just to be sure your oil won’t go staining your good fabric!