My Newest Addition

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?

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10 Comments to “My Newest Addition”

  1. What a great post, Lizz! Congrats on your new baby! I really love it that you got to buy local, got to reuse something AND get to benefit local children all at the same time! I’m sure all of that made this purchase a no-brainer.

    I’ve been contemplating getting one too, so I’m looking forward to reading of your adventures with serging!

  2. Great buy! Congratulations. The universe clearly wants you to have a serger. Nice to know the universe is on your side.

    I’m sure I’ll have to get one of those eventually…. but they intimidate me a LOT. (It’s the whole cutting-as-it-stitches thing.) Let us know how yours works out.

  3. wow, great buy!

    I’ve had my eye on sergers for a while now—but I have no idea where I’d put one. I’m starting to get awfully tired of binding seams and turning allowances under, though. I’m looking forward to living vicariously through you!

  4. I think I have one of these! Well it seems to be pretty similar. The thing is, it’s not really mine. It was lent to me by my mother-in-law and she got if from her sister. So when she offered it to me (on loan, even though it’s been on my sewing table for the last 8 months), I said sure, but I really had NO IDEA how to work it (to be completely honest, I didn’t even know what a serger was a few months before she lent it to me). So I learned how to thread it by using the little diagram on the inside panel and I still struggle sometimes (when one of the threads come undone… I’ve had issues). I don’t know if mine does rolled hems (that would be awesome), and I wouldn’t even know how to begin doing that.
    All this being said, it really rocks to have it as it makes seem finishing SO much easier and quicker! My next step would be to invest in some different colored thread than black and white!!

    Good luck with yours and keep us posted if you do any fancy hem rolling!!

  5. Congrats!!! My mom bought a used serger for me from her friend a few years back. It took me a while to get decent stitches, and I ultimately had it serviced. But it’s been great. She’s still finicky, though definitely a game changer. Mine came without a manual, but the repair shop found a generic manual for the style I have (branded as Kenmore, which we all know means it could be almost anything). I typically let the machine thread for me when I change colors. And get this…the amazingly sweet folks at Sears found the right rolled hem plate for me last year. Over the phone, no less. I didn’t even know it could do that stitch until reading the photocopied manual. It cost a whopping $7! I might upgrade to a nicer model some day, but it works for now.

  6. OMG, I have the same serger that I bought in 1992 and paid an equivalent of more than 1000 $ for it ! 20 years later, it runs smoothly, never had, not once, problem with it. I love my Singer serger and wish you good luck with yours.

  7. Hello! I just met someone this morning who has a Singer 14U34B for sale. Was her sister-in-laws – she inherited it and does not sew at all. She’s selling for $75. What’s been your experience in the last year with the machine? I’ve never used a serger but have a high end Janome Machine that embroiders and another machine. Used to sew clothing, but now mostly quilts – however, have first grandchild being born soon and will probably sew for her.

  8. Just curious as to how you like your serger? I’ve always wanted a serger and picked up a used one today for $40. I’ve been trying to find user reviews and tips online (I’m new to serging) but haven’t had much luck.

    • I love my serger. I have since traded up but regardless of the model I think it’s essential to what I do. I would check out One Little Minute’s Stretch Yourself series. It’s obviously focused on sewing with knit fabrics but there’s a ton of techniques that the series introduces on a serger. If you don’t mind spending a little money, you may also consider Craftsy’s Beginner Serger Sewing Class. I haven’t used this particular class but I love the format. It’s normally $40 but I have never paid full price for one of their classes – get on their email list and do a google search. You’re bound to run into a promotion is a week or two. Lastly, although not online, I purchased Successful Serging when I bought my second machine and it’s been a great resource. I wish I had purchased it in the beginning. Let me know if you have any other questions and have fun with your new toy!

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