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Message Board > Sergers, Coverstitch and Blindhemmers > Best Serger (4 or 5 thread) for Construction? ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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Best Serger (4 or 5 thread) for Construction?
babe-a-gogo
babe-a-gogo
Member since 8/5/07
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Date: 12/29/09 7:07 PM

As a mom to four kids, three of which are three and under I am finding myself sewing a lot of pajamas and pants lately! I also enjoy sewing peasant tops and dresses for my daughter. My White SuperLock 523 is o-l-d, but it works like a charm. I would really like to upgrade to a 4 or 5 thread serger so that I can actually sew seams with the serger.

My question is whether something like the EZLock Serger from Sewing with Nancy is going to have a strong enough seam to withstand toddler play, etc. On the other hand, is the 5-thread serger worth the extra $500 just for the stronger seam (if it, in fact, does offer a stronger seam?

Any advice would be helpful. I am highly distracted right now and I hope this makes sense!

Betakin
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Betakin
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In reply to babe-a-gogo


Date: 12/29/09 9:13 PM

The EZ lock that is the Nancy machine is much like the Simplicity sergers and the Babylock 450. These are good basic models. The needle plate might need to be changed to do a rolled hem however but these sergers are capable of doing many stitches including 2 thread and I believe are known as 4/3/2 sergers. Some sergers only do 4/3 threads and do not do 2 thread serging. The 2 thread is nice to use for finer fabrics. I do think that any 4 thread serged seam is stronger than a sewing machine stitch.

People seem to like their 5 thread sergers that are capable of a 5 thread safety stitch. I have a 4 thread coverlock which I prefer and it is very heavy duty Elna that does a 4 thread safety stitch without using the chain looper. I think it has 17 stitches and does 3 coverhems and chain stitch. It has 3 loopers and 5 needle postions but still only 4 threads.

Some 4 thread basic sergers do a mock safety where they sew a separate stitch along the left side of the serged edge. Maybe some Juki models have this stitch still..I know that older Babylock models had this feature as I did own one and the reason I purchased that serger was for this stitch because I was sewing for babies and I wanted the extra straight stitch beside the serged edge. Not many of the models had this at that time though. It also had a separate chain stitch and was known as a 4/2 serger but did not do the many 3 thread stitches that are done on today's models and the other models at that time.

Juki makes 5 thread combo cover hem models plus they have a 5 thread serger that does not do coverhem but does offer the 5 thread safety stitch plus a chain stitch only ability. I think it is the model 655 and I believe costs less than their combo coverlock models. Juki is known for their industrial strength loopers and knives used in their sergers.
I hope you find a serger you love.

Kathi R
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Kathi R  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/30/09 1:33 AM

Based on other threads here, I think I'm in the minority, but I love the 5 thread stitch for serging seams in woven fabrics. When I was making kids clothes it was all about speed and durability and the 5 thread never let me down. I use it now for making pajamas and jeans and really couldn't do without it.

I had a TOL Elna (vintage 1993) and replaced it with a Juki MO-655 without any computerized features. I think I paid about $500 in 2004. The Juki is much easier to thread and is a real work horse....I can switch to a rolled hem with the press of a lever and I can thread the machine from scratch in nothing flat.

------
2012 : starting stash 386, net additions 206, used 164, ending stash 428...I'm never going to get in front of this pile of fabric!

Betakin
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Date: 12/30/09 2:40 AM

My Elna is very easy to thread as most of the newer models, being they have looper helpers built in. For a rolled hem I just dial to the stitch and drop the stitch finger and tensions are auto set. I know that Elna had an older model that was a bit difficult. Many experienced in sewing expressed their dislikes about this certain model. I have never used that serger but it appeared much different. My Elna is much like the Pfaff 4862 which is also a 4 thread and both were manufactured in the same factory in Japan.
I have never used a computerized serger though Elna has one and it is the 945 model. I do think that 5 thread sergers do not convert to coverhem as fast as a 4 thread.
I have tried a few 5 thread models. Some of the 5 thread models also did not do the 3 coverhems as does my Elna. Plus the 5 threads only did a double seam cover stitch and not the triple seam though some do.
I do like that my 4 thread also has auto tensions and a numbered dial in the front of the machine where you just dial the stitch you want and the emblems show exactly how to set up each stitch as for the settings for DF, stitch length width etc. It is like a built in manual.
There is also no need to change the needle plate or foot to do any of the coverhems or chain stitch and the needle bar tilts up for easy needle changes. The two needle postions in back are for the serged overlock stitches and the 3 postions that go straight across the front are for the 3 different cover hem stitches and chain stitch.
Both Elna and Janome now have similar new sergers since Janome heads Elna USA but have discontinued the 4 thread Coverlock model. A few of their new sergers do have built in blanket stitches on their stitch program dial and a built in connected looper converter.
I don't know if Pfaff still has their 4 thread 4862 coverlock being they also now have new models but the 4862 also did not do the 3 thread coverhem, only the narrow and wide 2 thread CS.
I think Vikings new models include a 4 thread coverlock and I think they also have a new computerized model but I have not seen them in person.

babe-a-gogo
babe-a-gogo
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In reply to Kathi R


Date: 12/30/09 8:52 AM

This machine sounds like a dream to me! Thanks so much :)

babe-a-gogo
babe-a-gogo
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In reply to Kathi R


Date: 12/31/09 1:11 PM

Quote:
When I was making kids clothes it was all about speed and durability and the 5 thread never let me down.


Thanks so much for your reply to my post about sergers. I have been seriously considering purchasing the Juki 655 after much research. It seems like exactly what I am looking for. I just had a couple of questions that I hoped you (or anyone who knows about the Juki 655) might be kind enough to answer.

1) It is easy to switch between the rolled hem and other stitches on this machine?

2) Is the 5-thread chain and overlock combo stitch strong enough to actually replace sewing machine straight stitch and separate 3 thread serged seam on kids' items (like pajama pants and cotton capris, etc.)? I know that I could reinforce the seam with my sewing machine at stress points, if necessary.

Thanks so much in advance for your help and I hope I am not repeating myself
reneeb4930
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reneeb4930  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/31/09 2:53 PM

I made a lot of children tops, pyjamas and pants with a four thread serger and I never have problems with the seams.

babe-a-gogo
babe-a-gogo
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In reply to reneeb4930


Date: 12/31/09 2:58 PM

Quote: reneeb4930
I made a lot of children tops, pyjamas and pants with a four thread serger and I never have problems with the seams.

My mother has a 4 thread white serger, and I didn't think that it would be sufficient for clothing construction. However, the loops were a bit loose and I think she needs to adjust her tension. So maybe a 4 thread serger would work. Then again, if I get the 5 thread I can still use the 4 thread stitch if I wanted to. Thanks for your help.
JenSews2
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JenSews2  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/31/09 4:01 PM

I have a 5 thread serger, but really only use the 4 thread safety stitch! I've never gotten used to the 5 thread stitch. Doesn't the 5th thread make a chainstitch that unravels as easily as a chainstitch? How is this helpful on kids clothes? I've always wondered if it was worth the 5th thread that I've never used!! Please, enlighten me. Maybe I will put that 5th thread to use.

------
*Jen*
If I stitch fast enough, does it count as aerobic exercise?

babe-a-gogo
babe-a-gogo
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In reply to JenSews2


Date: 12/31/09 4:08 PM

Quote: JenSews2
I have a 5 thread serger, but really only use the 4 thread safety stitch! I've never gotten used to the 5 thread stitch. Doesn't the 5th thread make a chainstitch that unravels as easily as a chainstitch? How is this helpful on kids clothes? I've always wondered if it was worth the 5th thread that I've never used!! Please, enlighten me. Maybe I will put that 5th thread to use.

The 5th thread makes a chain stitch, and I am curious as to its strength. I have heard various information regarding that. Some people have said that it is strong enough for clothing and others have said that it unravels like a basting stitch. Maybe adjusting the stitch length helps make it stronger? I am just guessing here and would love to hear from others who have the machine.
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