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Message Board > Sergers, Coverstitch and Blindhemmers > Advice needed! Free arm or no free arm for serger? ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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Advice needed! Free arm or no free arm for serger?
deciding on serger specs
llanisca
llanisca  Friend of PR
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Date: 5/15/13 9:09 AM

Hi! Iím looking to buy my first ever serger (no coverhem) but thereís one question I canít seem to resolve. How frustrating is it if you donít have a free arm on your machine?

I test drove sergers from Singer, Brother, Baby Lock, Pfaff, Husqvarna, Consew, and Juki. Within my budget, the Juki MO-543DE was my favorite, but Iím considering an older Huskylock 910 because of the free arm.

I like the Juki best because itís not as hard to thread and Iíll get better support for it. However, when I tested it, I was concentrating on understanding the basics and didnít think about things like cuffs or ribbed necks. I canít really imagine what itíd be like doing finicky tasks on a serger without having space on both sides.

So, how limited are you by not having a free arm? Is it really more about wanting the serger to feel like a regular sewing machine?

EDITED to add:

What about the lack of any harp space to the right of the cutting blades? Does that ever become an issue?
-- Edited on 5/15/13 7:16 PM --

BJ1400
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Date: 5/15/13 10:14 AM

My sewing machine has a free arm & I use it a lot & I love it, so I thought it would be important on a serger too. But I NEVER use it on my serger.

------
Beverly.

Sewing Makes Me Happy

http://bjsewmuchmore.blogspot.com

llanisca
llanisca  Friend of PR
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In reply to BJ1400 <<
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Date: 5/15/13 2:32 PM

Quote: BJ1400
My sewing machine has a free arm & I use it a lot & I love it, so I thought it would be important on a serger too. But I NEVER use it on my serger.

Good to know! I've liked all the Jukis I've tried and feel like I'd be happy with any of them, but there's a wee devil on my shoulder trying to whisper me away. I have an old Pfaff 1222 that I absolutely adore, so there's an irrational part of me that hopes to find the equivalent vintage Pfaff serger. Husqvarna is appealing as well because I've sewn on a close friend's 1960s machine and liked its no-nonsense reliability. I'm sure there are some tough old gems to be had, but for a beginning serger to buy a used one without much support doesn't seem too clever.
biochemistress

biochemistress  Friend of PR
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Date: 5/15/13 4:40 PM

I second the opinion that a free arm is not necessary on a serger. I have serged toddler-sized cuffs etc. on a serger with no free arm.

SunnyAlta
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Date: 5/15/13 5:06 PM

I think the majority of people can get by nicely without needing a free arm on a serger. It's honestly not a big deal to do cuffs or necklines, even for kids clothes.

Juki is a good machine.

PattiAnnJ
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Date: 5/15/13 5:14 PM

Buy what you are the most comfortable with.

I never use a free arm because I learned to sew when home machines did not have this option and people thought serger had something to do with poor electric service!

------
ďI donít give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think itís Hell.Ē ó Harry Truman

"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

Rainspa

Rainspa  Friend of PR
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Date: 5/15/13 5:49 PM

I've got a free arm on my serger and use it frequently. When I need it, I'm happy it's there. YMMV

------
I'm going to Costume College!

MartiP
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Date: 5/15/13 6:33 PM

Likewise, I have never had a problem serging tiny cuffs with no free arm.

------
MartiP

Ruckertt's Law; There is nothing so small that it can't be blown out of proportion.

Bernina 1230 Bernette 007D
Brother CS6000i Brother 2340 CV
New Home L372 US Blindhem,
Singer 221K (off white) Model SL 718/2D
Simplicity SE2 Brother 700II

llanisca
llanisca  Friend of PR
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Date: 5/15/13 7:14 PM

Thanks everyone! The free arm thing didn't seem important while I was test driving, but I didn't want it hounding me later.

Quote:
I never use a free arm because I learned to sew when home machines did not have this option and people thought serger had something to do with poor electric service!


Hah! But actually, this brings up another question: Does the lack of a harp matter? The Jukis don't have any space to the right of the cutting blade.
mgmsrk1
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Date: 5/15/13 7:23 PM

No stand alone serger will have a harp space, if they do it won't matter. You CAN NOT serger past the point of your lower looper, so about 1/2" past the right needle if you try(with the blade disengaged) the fabric will get caught in the looper.

------
1968 Kenmore 158. (AKA The Hulk)
Bernina 230
Janome 6600 (for sale)
Janome 7700
Juki 600
Elna serger
Kenmore serger
Janome 1000 CoverStitch
Juki 8500 Industerial

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