In my Sewing With Handwovens (???) post, I mentioned that I was researching sergers. I was very interested in all the comments to that post; both the opinions and the advice. I wanted to share with you what I've discovered through my research and what I decided.
I started with the weaving lists I subscribe to, Weaving, WeaveTech, and the Online Guild of Weaver's, Spinners, & Dyers. It was interesting because the different lists had quite different ideas about serging handwoven fabric. The opinions ranged from "wouldn't be caught dead using it on my handwovens," to "use it all the time on my handwovens."
For those of the first opinion, the objection seems to stem from an association of serging with cheaply made, mass produced garments. This group primarily seemed to be those who've woven many years, and started sewing long before sergers became available to home sewers. The second group were largely younger weavers, who seemed to more readily accept serging as common practice.
One question that I needed to answer for myself, was what a serger could do for me that a sewing machine couldn't. Some of the appealing points were:
- Ravel-free edges and seam finishing - I learned to sew when pinking was enough. Not only is this no longer common practice, but handwoven fabrics especially need something to prevent unraveling.
- One step finishing and trimming. A serger/overlocker seams, overcasts, and trims all in one step. This is a big plus for someone like me, who wants to spend time on other things.
- Less bulky seams
- Rolled edges for things like napkins and fine fabrics.
- 2 feed dogs for differential feed - How often have I finished a seam to find that the two layers of fabric didn't finish up evenly! I always thought this was me, but it turns out that ain't necessarily so. It's also the fabric. The speeds of the separate feed dogs on a serger can be adjusted individually to take care of that.
- Decorative stitching wasn't so much a selling point for me. Having done a lot of hand embroidery in the past, any sort of machine decoration doesn't appeal to me much.
Thanks to the customer reviews on Amazon.com, this is what I decided on.....
For me, the selling points included:
- Compact - a must in our decidedly dinky living space
- Can use standard spools of sewing thread as well as serger cones
- Uses standard sewing machine needles (some sergers requires special needles)
- Choice of 3 or 4 thread overlock stitches
- Blind hem stitching
- Easy conversion to rolled hem function
- Easy threading
- Free arm capability
- Easy disengagement of cutter blades.
- Includes three, easy change presser feet: multipurpose, gathering, and blind hem.
- 2 instruction booklets and 2 instruction CDs, with tips such as: one doesn't have to thread from scratch every time; simply tie on the new thread and pull it through.
- Price - it was within my budget
- Value for cost - this per customer reviews.
... and the color coded tension dials ....
So there you have it. I still have the learning curve to face, but I'm not terribly daunted. Yet.
Posted 14 May 2008 at http://leighsfiberjournal.blogspot.com