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Forum > Sewing Machines > Cheap workhorse serger?? Help! ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Cheap workhorse serger?? Help!
Need a cheap but TOUGH serger, soo confused....
dragonhuntress
dragonhuntress
Intermediate
Utah USA
Member since 7/14/08
Posts: 36
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Date: 7/18/08 0:58 AM

Hi!
I am sewing cloth diapers so I need a serger that can chew through a lot of layers of thick fabric. I only have a budget of maybe $250 MAX though. I was thinking about either a Janome Juno or a used Babylock on eBay (keep seeing them around $200 and the Janome is on sale for $200 all month at Hancock). Then I was told Brother owns Babylock and I might as well get the Brother 1034D, which is supposed to be pretty good. But I have a cheapo Brother sewing machine and it is horrible!!! It has around 30 stitch functions and the only one that works is the straight stitch (and yes I've rethreaded, cleaned the machine, replaced the needle, adjusted the tension, etc, etc). So now I'm scared, lol, if the best option is a Brother or a Babylock by Brother?? Or is the Janome good too? I asked on another board and every other answer was different, lol--Janome, no Brother, no Babylock, no Janome, etc. Help!

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Crazy-busy broke working mom trying to sew cloth diapers and clothes on my little Brother
*putt putt*

jzy_gail
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jzy_gail
Beginner
Maryland USA
Member since 3/21/07
Posts: 624
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In reply to dragonhuntress


Date: 7/18/08 1:46 AM

I don't have much experience with Brother sewing machines built in this millenium (I had one for a while from the 50s, and liked it real well :)

But I have a Brother 1034D that I bought off Craigslist. And the woman I bought it from had bought it used herself, from Ebay. And seriously I LOVE that serger (it's my first and I'd never serged before--that was my experience level upon buying it). It didn't come with the instructional DVD, but I got the manual downloaded from the internet and for the most part, I've found it a good resource (but the design layout of the manual often has a set of numbered steps to do something, on a facing page with a diagram, but that diagram doesn't go to that set of instructions (the diagram belongs to the instructions on the page before). THAT can get confusing, but once I got that sorted out and marked the diagrams accordingly so I don't forget when looking up the directions, it's been fine.

The only other thing I would mention is that I've had trouble with it exactly once. Suddenly began experiencing breakages on the lower looper and could NOT figure out the problem. I must have rethreaded the beast at least 50 times and put the machine away in disgust for a couple months.

Then I happened to be talking to a sewing friend of mine who mentioned she was having problems with her sewing machine--lots of thread breakage and all of a sudden. And without thinking much, I asked her, "Have you changed needles recently?" And suddenly the light dawned. Der!

When I got home, I changed the needles on my serger and it just took off sewing like there'd never been a problem. LOL So, just make a note somewhere in your manual if you get unusual breakage problems with no clear reason why, change out the needles. Even if that's not the problem, it's a cheap enough 'fix' to try.,
-- Edited on 7/18/08 1:47 AM --

Betakin
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Betakin
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Arizona USA
Member since 4/22/04
Posts: 7282
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In reply to dragonhuntress


Date: 7/18/08 1:54 AM

Janome and Babylock sergers are workhorses. It was Juki of Japan that developed the first Babylock serger and Tacony has always been the exclusive distributor of the Babylock sergers. Tacony also was distributor of Elna sergers till Janome recently took over as the head of Elna.
Brother I understand does make the Babylock sewing machines but I have heard nothing about Brother making the Babylock sergers.
Brother sergers have had good reviews by owners here on PR but I have never used a Brother serger so I can't say how heavy duty they might be but I have owned both a Janome and an older Babylock and they both performed wonderfully. I had a low end Janome that serged all of the fabric for my DD's lawn furniture that included several layers of plastic coated canvas plus linings. Sears Kenmore sergers are also made by Janome.
You might also check Juki sergers. They make a nice serger with industrial quality knives and loopers and have an all purpose foot that can handle many different tasks. Juki also makes the Bernette sergers for Bernina but I think you will find that the Bernina sergers are more expensive than the sergers with the Juki name that are much the same.
There are many nice sergers on the market today. I hope you find a nice one that suits your needs. You might want to test drive some different models to check their performance with the diapers. Some sergers have a higher knife and some a recessed knife and the shape and quality of the knives make a difference on your diaper fabrics.

Betakin
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Betakin
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Arizona USA
Member since 4/22/04
Posts: 7282
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In reply to jzy_gail


Date: 7/18/08 2:04 AM

Good going. It seems new needles did the trick for you. After you changed your needles and then threaded the needles last might have made the difference too in not getting thread breakage in a looper thread. You might know to thread in order and do so..but if needles are not threaded last the threads will tangle on many sergers. So if a looper thread breaks remember after rethreading it..to clear the stitch finger and rethread the eyes of needles.
Some sergers have a button for a needle thread tension release for just this purpose..to clear the needle threads off the stitch finger.
I hope you continue to enjoy your serger.

poplin
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poplin
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Washington USA
Member since 5/28/06
Posts: 1355
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In reply to dragonhuntress


Date: 7/18/08 2:23 AM

I don't think you can get a workhorse serger for a max of $250 unless you shop craigslist or eBay. But under $400 online maybe.

My vote is for the Juki MO series with the 4-thread overlock. I have a Bernina serger that is made by Juki--still a workhorse after seven years. Here's one from allbrands that is for $300 factory serviced. I would recommend adjustable presser foot pressure since diapers have several layers. I'm not sure if the Juki MO644D has this feature. You might want to give them a call to find out.

The Brother 1034D is $250 at allbrands. This model does not have adjustable presser foot pressure.

I can't say much for Janome. The one I test drove years ago left me with the impression that it can't do the job I wanted it to do.
-- Edited on 7/18/08 2:26 AM --

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Dec 2012: 2 yards

Her needlework both plain and ornamental was excellent, and she might have put a sewing machine to shame. ~James Edward Austen-Leigh, about Jane Austen

Betakin
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Betakin
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Arizona USA
Member since 4/22/04
Posts: 7282
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In reply to poplin


Date: 7/18/08 2:52 AM

I have owned 5 different model sergers of different brands and all had a presser control. I sold sergers of different brands and they also all had a foot pressure control.
I am confused about your post saying the Brother model did not have the presser control. You can see the little knob on the top of the serger and the specs on Allbrands site does say that it has this.
The many reviews on the 1034 also state that it has pressure control.

poplin
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poplin
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Washington USA
Member since 5/28/06
Posts: 1355
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In reply to Betakin


Date: 7/18/08 2:59 AM

Ooops. Misread the the machine's features. Thanks for the headsup.

Below is short snip of the Brother 1034D features taken from allbrands.

Quote:
Presser Foot Height Adjustment: No
Presser Foot Pressure: Yes


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Dec 2012: 2 yards

Her needlework both plain and ornamental was excellent, and she might have put a sewing machine to shame. ~James Edward Austen-Leigh, about Jane Austen

Betakin
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Betakin
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Arizona USA
Member since 4/22/04
Posts: 7282
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In reply to poplin


Date: 7/18/08 3:28 AM

Aha, we both learned something..It does not have the height adjustment. Does your serger have pressue foot height adjustment?

svetlana
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svetlana
Intermediate
Illinois USA
Member since 12/30/06
Posts: 360
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Date: 7/18/08 7:58 AM

I have the Brother 1034D. This past winter I was making diaper inserts for my DGD. I was using microfleece and diaper flannel. As I recall I had a total of 7 layers and I just serged around the edges, no problem. The only problems I have with it is when I forget to put down the presser foot and once I tried to raise the presser foot higher by pushing the lever up (it was late at night and I was very tired). I broke it. Lucky for me, I had sent in the warranty card so my repair was covered. For once, the warranty covered owner stupidity. I got mine online with a coupon and paid $179 which was incredibly cheap.

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Svetlana

lamx
lamx
Intermediate
Maryland USA
Member since 10/4/04
Posts: 48
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In reply to dragonhuntress


Date: 7/18/08 8:19 AM

I have owned at least half a dozen sergers and find that you get what you pay for. My best sergers were old mechanical Pfaff and Babylock models. My worst were Brother 1034D and a cheap Chinese Yamato that I bought off ebay for $99. In the middle was a Consew. I am currently rehabbing a Pfaff Hobbylock, but it's too soon to tell the quality of that one.

If you don't need the latest features, I would recommend shopping for a used high-end machine, rather than a new bottom-of-the-line one. The price will be about the same and I think you'll be more satisfied.

Ed

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Sewing-machines.blogspot.com

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