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Message Board > Beginner's Forum > When to serge ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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When to serge
MrsRing
MrsRing
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Date: 2/6/14 5:51 PM

When using an apparel pattern, when do you use your serger? It seems they are written for sewing machine use, so I never know how to work the serger in...do I just sew up the pattern and then go back and finish up the edges? Serge as I go? What do you suggest?

I'm comfortable with the serger itself, and how to use it; I worked through Georgie Melot's book to familiarize myself with what it can do; I just don't know *when* to use it!

Thanks in advance :)

kitphantom
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Date: 2/6/14 8:33 PM

Here's another recent thread on the subject:
http://sewing.patternreview.com/SewingDiscussions/topic/83609

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Bernina: 910, 930, 180, 440
Bernina 1150MDA
Bernette 004D serger
Vintage/classic Singer: 201, 301, 221

beauturbo
beauturbo
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Date: 2/6/14 8:34 PM

I will use an overlocker for all the garment construction sometimes. Even on a woven fabric. It might even depend on which machine I have out, and set up, or which one is already threaded up with the right color thread! Or if I even want to have to switch back and forth between two kinds of machines at the moment or not. Of course, to do that, you have to have no button holes made of a zig zag stitch in it. Some garments lend themselves to that totally, just much better than some others though. I think you need more and better garment making books actually

Go to the book store or even the public library and search out a bunch of serger books that focus on actual garment construction and read some of those next. Just because if you are going to use a serger for that, and the sewing machine as little as possible in the mix, then you often might do things in a different order or even a different way than all the directions inside the pattern envelopes. As they are most times there for the sewing machine way kind of constructing something instead.

Most times now, if I have a very stretchy knit garment, that I can just make all with a serger instead, I just do that. Just since the overlocker most times works so much better and quicker for me for that kind of thing, that unless I really need the sewing machine for something on it there, I don't even bother to use it.

But, I'm doing that even more and more with all woven garments to actually, if they lend themselves to it.

One good reason to not do everything all the time with the serger instead though, if not paying real good attention to what you are doing or any question on if something is going to be large enough to fit around you or not, is just that it cuts off fabric while you are sewing along, (and takes longer to pick out some stitches as more of them in there most times too) so it is less forgiving if you make a mistake in what you are doing, as it's not like you can just pick out the stitching afterwards, and still have all your fabric intact there later either, and just if it's already been cut off.
-- Edited on 2/6/14 8:36 PM --
-- Edited on 2/6/14 8:42 PM --

MrsRing
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In reply to beauturbo <<


Date: 2/6/14 11:13 PM

Having to unpick stitches, the seam allowances getting trimmed away, etc. are some of the biggest reasons I haven't done more apparel on the serger!

Would it work to say...put the project together using the sewing machine, try it for fit, etc., and then just go through and serger the seams? I could see this working especially for most side seams, sleeves, etc. but not for arm holes, some neckhole bindings...

MrsRing
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In reply to kitphantom <<


Date: 2/6/14 11:14 PM

Thank you! I did a search through the older posts but I missed this one. Very helpful, thanks!

ronnielee
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In reply to MrsRing <<


Date: 2/7/14 1:19 AM

My whole production has come to a halt since my most hated Janome 1200d overlocker has had another lower looper break (3rd time lucky) huh! That aside, I can't live without an overlocker/serger. The inside of a garment is as important to me as the look of the outside. Zigzag stitch just doesn’t cut it! If I know the pattern is a good fit I overlock first than sew. It depends on your level of skill particularly if you cut the notches off when serging b4 sewing. Some machines can do a seam as well as overlock (mine can) my machine can use 5 spools.

SewLibra
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Date: 2/7/14 2:00 AM

I serge as I go. Many seams in a garment cross over other seams, so you usually can't really cover all the inside seams by sewing it all first then going back and trying to serge them all. If you have either made a muslin or have sewn the pattern before and know it fits, then either sew your seams on the sm first, then serge close to your stitching, or just serge only. Whichever is most comfortable for you. But getting the fit down first is very important so you don't get frustrated trying to rip out serger stitches. Not fun...been there.

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SewLibra
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Red Dragon
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In reply to MrsRing <<
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Date: 2/7/14 3:57 PM

These days I serge as I go, but I used to do exactly what you said - sew it then serge it just in case. It is really just a matter of being more confident in your construction skills, which comes with time.

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Tracy, Canberra

Janome 7700QCP, Janome 4618QC, Husky S25 overlock/coverstitch

StitchyMama
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Date: 2/7/14 4:13 PM

I used to serge as I went, but it got to be a pain to switch back and forth between sewing machine and serger. I serge my edges before sewing, that way I don't have to zig-zag my seams.

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Brenda
My blog: Stitch 1 Stitch 2
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http://stitch1stitch2.blogspot.com/

beauturbo
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Date: 2/7/14 5:05 PM

I think just even having a 5 thread safety stitch with the chain and then also the 3 thread overlock on the side of it, encorages me a whole bunch, to use the overlocker as a construction kind of machine on some woven garment. If I did not have that, and only had a 4 thread overlock stitch there instead, 'm pretty sure, I would be way less likely to do that.

For example, I would feel O.K. putting in some crotch seam with a 5 thread safety stitch, just since it had the chain first, some space and a wider seam allowance and then the 3 thread overlock just next to it. And all in one fell swoop. I would not like a 4 thread overlock only, for the crotch seam of any pants I was wearing though, even if they were very loose and flowey. It would not be strong enough for me, and it would be too narrow for me, and I would feel compelled to stitch it farther a way, and a second time, using some real sewing machine straight stitching there instead actually.

So I think the more likely you actually got a 5 thread safety stitch kind of overlocker (with 3 loopers) going on, for construction of wovens in a overlocker, the more likely you might just decide to use it for that, and the more you might be missing that, the less likely you might use an overlockler for that. I think the 5 thread safety stitch was a great invention, so I avail myself of it. I'm not so thrilled with only the 4 thread one as just a straight lockstitch substitute instead at all though.

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