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Forum > Sergers, Coverstitch and Blindhemmers > Choosing a serger ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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Choosing a serger
Anyone has experience with serging woolen sweaters?
LamaLaine
LamaLaine
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Date: 6/4/12 1:51 PM

Hi,
I'm knitting lots of sweaters on a (standard gauge) knitting machine and now looking for a good serger to assemble them.
I was thinking about the Pfaff Coverlock 3, but after reading some not so nice stories about it on this forum, I'm reconsidering. Would I be better off with a Singer 14T968DC or a Janome 1200D? Or some other model? It has to be able to sew flatlock as well as coverstitch and coverlock, and I'm dreaming about a machine that can make nice blanket stitch edges. If anyone has some advice concerning choice of machine especially for this purpose I would appreciate it enormously.

LynnRowe
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In reply to LamaLaine <<


Date: 6/4/12 3:25 PM

I prefer separate serger and Coverstitch machines, and after many years with Pfaff, am now a confirmed Babylock lover. I've serged and coverstitched sweater knits fabrics without any problems.

I can highly recommend Babylock, but haven't used the other brands you mention, so am no help at all there, sorry!
-- Edited on 6/4/12 3:25 PM --

------
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.

allycovey
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allycovey  Friend of PR
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Date: 6/4/12 3:38 PM

I have a janome 1200D it is the best serger you can get from Janome and was more than I expected to pay for one. Last winter I made a ton of wool items everything coats to stretch type wool and I have to say my serger had kind of a hard time with it. As long as I was sewing just regual knits it sewed like a dream but did not like thick woolen items.

LamaLaine
LamaLaine
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Date: 6/4/12 4:06 PM

Hi again,
Thanks for the answers.
The Babylock machines look great but they are completely out of price here in Europe, unfortunately.
I'm wondering about the Janome 1200D - well if it cannot sew a certain thickness of the wool, I would be hesitant to buy it, as I might sometimes have several layers to sew...even if the knits are not bulky....
Do you think it would work with wool fleece using flatlock?

beauturbo
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In reply to LamaLaine <<


Date: 6/5/12 12:33 PM

There really is no way around it, (to be happy) if that really is your lone purpose for getting a overlocker, you are going to have to knit up a whole bunch of little samples on your knitting machine, and actually go to where overlockers are and actually sit and test what you want to do. Just because things could so much, depending on what you do with that knitting machine and your yarn there. I would assume for flatlock you would want your matching knit yarn in the loopers and serger thread in the needles, so that is how you must test sew. If anyone else does it, they will not even have your yarn or the same knitting gauge that you have, so that will not be of much use to you at all.

I think you can flat lock like that fine probably,(as your knives would be up and you would just be sewing over the edge of a finished knit block) but might need some clear wash away stabilizer under it, or even wrapped over it, and would have to really crank up your differential feed (so make sure you have differential feed) if it's not feeding as well as you wish.

I don't think any blanket stitch in a overlocker that you are thinking of, is going to do that just how you are envisoning it though. Maybe a multi-thousand dollar commercial merrow machine, but that is not what you are thinking of either. I think the overlocker "blanket stitch" even while great for decoration on something else like woven boiled wool, leather, felt, or even maybe a dense knitted and then very tightly felted machine knitted piece might work out O.K., it's not going to do that at all, on just some regular block of knit you make on that knitting machine, if you just stick it in there, and cut the edges off.

In that case I think your knitted sample is going to unravel and run on the knit, everyplace you cut it, and even if you get blanket stitch on that edge, it's going to sink it and not even show up. Plus all the loose woven by machine knitting blocks you stick in there, I think might move around too much, and get pulled down into the machine, with all those now cut off and loose hanging yarn ends. But try it and see what happens.

But you do need to actually try it to see. So if you start ordering overlockers over the internet, and don't try first, I think you are going to be getting one after another all in a row, and not liking how nay of them are doing your expectations there, and be unhappy with all of them, for just that one little purpose probably. But for what you hope to do, it's really going to be more a sewing technique and issue, over a one machine is just always better for that, than another one kind of issue.

wendyrb
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In reply to LamaLaine <<


Date: 6/5/12 12:53 PM

You've gotten some good advise here from the fabulous sewists on PR. Yes, yes, yes- you need to try out precisely what you do with the yarns on the machines.

In addition, look to the machine knitting community for input. Folks doing exactly what you do with similar kind of machine will have lots to say. I have used a standard gauge, but am phasing that out. My sweaters were all hand sewn, so I can't give you any practical pointers regarding sergers. 20 years ago I did belong to a San Francisco Bay Area Knitters Guild and they were incredibly helpful.

I have a Babylock Evolution that I bought from a wonderfully helpful local dealer at a great price. Buy what you can afford, but I recommend using a dealer who can stand by your purchase and help you keep learning new things.

Good Luck and I'd love to hear what you decide.

------
Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them. Andy Rooney

Pfonzie- my honey Pfaff Creative Performance, Bernina 930 and 830, Evolution serger.

beauturbo
beauturbo
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In reply to LamaLaine <<


Date: 6/5/12 1:00 PM

To be actually ruthlessly realistic, and not too terribly optimistic, I actually don't think you are ever going to get a nice looking blanket stitch that will function to seal off and hold together that home knitted block of yarn, and not pulling out or unraveling on the edge of your home machine knit blocks in a serger blanket stitch when you just cut though those home knitted blocks of knitting there. No matter whose serger you use actually. but that does not mean you should not take all that stuff down and actually try it with someone that was actually willing to spend all that time that way, to really try and could really help you attempt to do that either. Good Luck, but I think you are going to have to change/lower your expectations on that one little thing though.

LamaLaine
LamaLaine
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FRANCE
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Date: 6/5/12 1:39 PM

Hi,
Thank you so much for the answers.
Yes it certainly would be the best to go to the store with my wool samples and try out the different machines. But the thing is that I live far out in the countryside in France....so my option really is to buy the machine over the internet. Quite a risk - I'm aware.
I've already tried to assemble some lightly felted wool samples on my mothers overlocker - which is a very simple old model, but with differential feed - and the results were great. So I thought I would pursue the options of overlocker/coverlocker for an overall use in assembling the knits. Hopefully it isn't a mistake.
I will forget about the blanket stitch! And just try to find a good solid machine. Right now I'm looking at a Juki 735....which seems sturdy and affordable.
I really appreciate the advices, thanks - and I'll let you know how it goes.

biochemistress

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Date: 6/5/12 8:06 PM

I have sewn on handknits of all gauges with a sewing machine, but never with a serger on the thicker ones. I would use a narrow zigzag on a sewing machine, so you'll still have some give, but it will be held tightly together and the ends won't ravel since they're not cut. This method has worked very well for every weight knit I've tried it with.

LamaLaine
LamaLaine
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FRANCE
Member since 6/4/12
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Date: 6/6/12 4:34 AM

Hi,
I was wondering if one couldn't get an even better result with a coverstitch - I imagine this to be more elastic than zig-zag on a 'normal' sewing machine.....I've tried to assemble a sweater with zig-zag, but on a very old model sewing machine, and it was disastrous!
Maybe there are sewing machines nowadays that can do this properly?
Do the newer sewing machines for example have differential feed?
Thanks for the advice.

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