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Message Board > Sergers, Coverstitch and Blindhemmers > Serger at my swim trunks! ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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Serger at my swim trunks!
Traiven3d
Traiven3d
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Subject: Serger ate my swim trunks! Date: 5/18/12 10:04 PM

Hey gang!

So I had a bit of an upset this morning when I decided to do the final seam on my trunks and ended up having the machine bunch up on the thickest part of the hem, shred the fabric and pull it into the machine, which then ripped up the side as I tried to pull it back out.

I've been eyeballing an inexpensive coverstitch machine to complete my arsenal; I currently have a Brother sewing machine, older White serger and vintage straight/zigzag machine that's good for heavier fabrics.

What I'm trying to discern from the mishap is if my machine is simply incapable of sergering anything thicker than 2 layers of fabric, or if its simply the blade that needs to be replaced.

Has anyone had this happen before and did replacing the blade help? Or am I better off looking at purchasing a higher end serger/coverstitch machine as one, that can handle this rather simple task?

Thanks!
-- Edited on 5/18/12 10:05 PM --

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http://sewstrong.wordpress.com/

LynnRowe
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In reply to Traiven3d <<
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Date: 5/18/12 10:48 PM

The difficulty with a combination serger CS machine is the wider dogs and feet, which can make going over thicker seams more difficult than with separate serger and CS machines. I would recommend separate machines because of that.

Anyhoo...yep had the "serger ate the fabric" mishap in the past. You may need to replace the cutting blade. If both blades need replacing, best to get the fixed blade done by a repair person.

You can try a few things to reduce the bulk of seams; press the seam before serging...beat the carp out of the seam with a rubber or fabric-covered hammer to flatten it...machine-sew the seam first, straight stitch, to prevent the fabric from slipping, which helps keep the serger from attacking the fabric.

Or buy a new serger. Take the same fabric with you to a SM store and see which one(s) deal best with the thick seams.

------
I heart Panzy, Pfaff Creative Performance, the sewing machine love of my life!
And Baby (Enlighten serger), Victor (BLCS), Rupert (Pfaff 2023-knits expert) Ash (B350SE-Artwork), Kee (B750QEE-Panzy's BFF), Georgie (B560-Kee's baby sister) and the Feather-Flock!

Most of all, I heart Woo (HimmyCat). Until we meet again, my beautiful little boy. I love you.

tourist
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In reply to Traiven3d <<


Date: 5/19/12 9:53 AM

With the older Singer serger I had for a long time, I would have issues now and then because the bladed had slipped a bit from its normal position. I would have to loosen the screw a bit and get it properly positioned again and then it would be fine. My current serger has a non-moveable knife, so that doesn't happen.

I haven't seen a domestic machine yet that really likes bulky seams, including my cover stitch. They all seem to hate crossing over seam lines, too. Using the tips and tricks from LynnRowe will help a lot. Good luck!

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http://bgballroom.wordpress.com to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

kittykate
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Date: 5/19/12 12:09 PM

Yes I'd say change the blade on the serger or find someone that could sharpen it. Definitely when the fabric gets thick, the serger can bind like a chainsaw. Whereabouts in Ontario are you?

LynnRowe
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In reply to Traiven3d <<
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Date: 5/19/12 2:45 PM

I knew there was something else I meant to say! Check your stitch length and width. Imagine your hand is chained to a post and you only have say five inches of chain; if the fabric you're reaching for is 4.75 inches away from you, you'll only be able to grab the edge of the fabric.

Sounds like a really weird analogy...but hope you can see what I mean! If your stitch width and/or length is too short for the thickness of your seam, the threads can only snatch at the edge of your fabric. They can't reach high and wide enough over the bulky area.

Try lengthening and widening your stitches a notch or two, or do so as you approach the bulky areas.

------
I heart Panzy, Pfaff Creative Performance, the sewing machine love of my life!
And Baby (Enlighten serger), Victor (BLCS), Rupert (Pfaff 2023-knits expert) Ash (B350SE-Artwork), Kee (B750QEE-Panzy's BFF), Georgie (B560-Kee's baby sister) and the Feather-Flock!

Most of all, I heart Woo (HimmyCat). Until we meet again, my beautiful little boy. I love you.

Traiven3d
Traiven3d
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Date: 5/19/12 11:40 PM

Thanks everyone for your input. I greatly appreciate it! I decided to go through and order new cutting blades. I was able to pick up this machine a year or so ago for $40, so I figure another $40 for the blades isn't too much of an overall investment in a machine.

I did some more tests using spare fabric, with just a single seam, and it snarled again. It does seem to be happening at the blade level. Beyond the wear I can see on the blades I also noticed that the angle of the top blade is slightly off of being 90 degrees to the lower blade. I'm not sure if this is by design or not, so I may attempt to straighten them out a little if possible.

@LynnRowe: Thank you so much for all your tips, I'll have to give them a shot. I did have these seams pressed, but didn't go so far as to whip out my hammer ;). I'll definitely give that a shot, as well as trying to reduce the bulk. I've even thought about cutting the fabric by hand, and then aligning it close to the edge of the blade and running it through to see if that will catch the fabric well enough. If it is capable of sewing through it i'll know right away if it was the blades or not. It will also let me know if the stitch width is too short to handle!

@tourist: Thanks for this heads up. I did check the blades as I said above, and now I'm wondering if their angle to one another may be why they aren't cutting through the thicker seams but handle the thinner ones so easily.

@kittykate: I'm in downtown Toronto. I know of a few dealers in the area, but I'm not sure who would be the most trustworthy to deal with. Any suggestions?

I'm going to spend tomorrow morning trying out all these tips. While the blades are already on order, given that the machine is from the 70's, having fresh blades can't hurt. I'll keep you posted! Thanks again!
-- Edited on 5/19/12 11:41 PM --

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http://sewstrong.wordpress.com/

tourist
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Date: 5/20/12 1:00 AM

Huh - this is an all-Canuck thread so far! Yes, checking with other fabric is a good start. And my original machine was a 70's or maybe early 80's version as well, you may indeed be ready for new blades. OTOH, many of those machines have not been used at all for most of their years, so they could be fine. If the blade moves at all (on my old Singer it was the bottom blade that was supposed to be "stationary" but would get knocked off kilter) it could need a bit of a nudge in the right direction.

Best of luck and let us know how it all works out! I have a $5 machine that lacks only the power cord and foot pedal that I really should get fixed up so I have a spare.

Oh - and the hammer thing is amazing! I have beaten some serious seams into submission that way. You get a nice seam plus an excellent cathartic hammering experience.

------
http://bgballroom.wordpress.com to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

Traiven3d
Traiven3d
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Date: 6/1/12 8:22 PM

The serger is fixed! Replaced the blades and it's sewing like new. No binding or pulling the fabric into the machine. I'm hoping to use it again tonight on my shorts. Thankfully it was just the blades.

In other news, after trying to order a new coverstitch machine from the states, Amazon denied my order as "undeliverable". Anyone know of a competitive vendor in the GTA who sells Brother machines?

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http://sewstrong.wordpress.com/

LynnRowe
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In reply to Traiven3d <<


Date: 6/2/12 0:14 AM

GREAT news about the serger! You should be set for ages now.

About the CS, does Amazon.ca carry them? I'm sure Torontonians will tell you where to find in Toronto. You will LOVE having a CS machine!

------
I heart Panzy, Pfaff Creative Performance, the sewing machine love of my life!
And Baby (Enlighten serger), Victor (BLCS), Rupert (Pfaff 2023-knits expert) Ash (B350SE-Artwork), Kee (B750QEE-Panzy's BFF), Georgie (B560-Kee's baby sister) and the Feather-Flock!

Most of all, I heart Woo (HimmyCat). Until we meet again, my beautiful little boy. I love you.

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