Love your machine – Sergers

Absolutely indispensable – a serger. Forget pinking shears and overlocking/zigzag stitches on a sewing machine. Nothing takes the place of a serger for fabric and seam edges. IMHO, a good serger is a great investment in sewing satisfaction and professional finishes.

They work so well – powerful little beasts – that it’s easy to forget that they need care and feeding just like a sewing machine. So, some tips from a lover of a good serger.

  • Simple stuff – clean it. I use both brushes and cotton swabs to get into every nook and cranny. Have you used it for a few hours or on a linty project? Clean it. I actually clean mine for every project, and I do recommend this. BTW, cotton swaps are great for cleaning the bobbin race on your sewing machine.
  • Intuitive stuff – oil it. That machine is pumping its heart out and has so many moving parts- oil doesn’t really last very long. Your serger will love you back for a little oil. I do this frequently, and I use a wonderful oil pen.Varieties are available, Sewing Machines Plus, Wawak, etc., all refillable. They have skinny needles for easy application. Just be sure to use sewing machine oil!
  • Easily overlooked – the needles. Serger needles take a beating, and they should be replaced! Most of the time I have a 90/14 in my sergers, but have changed them for different threads and fabrics. My choice: Klasse universal needles – again, MHO, do not spend money on a serger-specific needle!
  • Don’t drop a needle into the machine while replacing it! I have a nifty brush with a helper-hole on the end, I think it came with my Juki:
  • The tricky bit can be threading the loopers. Try a serger needle threader! it goes in and out all those elusive spaces.
  • Deep cleaning – About once a month I remove all the threads from my sergers and give them a deep cleaning. I’ve had mine for years, and I think a little love goes a long way. My machines, and I recommend them both, mid-price, heavy, quiet, obedient! and old friends. I have tried air-threading machines and ones with dial-tension. I like these. The tension knobs facilitate nuance changes, really important for the loopers and needles:
  • Last thought – cutting blades. When is the last time you replaced these? They are like scissors, but in one project do more than a pair of scissors over many years. And they are easy and fairly inexpensive to replace.

Bye for now – off to a project! Coco

16 thoughts on “Love your machine – Sergers

  1. Holy Batwoman Coco! I had no idea that you could use a regular sewing machine needle on a serger. Thanks for the great tip!

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  2. Say what? I had no idea you could put a regular sewing machine needle in a serger. Thanks for the tip Coco!

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  3. My serger/overlocker is sulking on a shelf at the moment. I’m back to using pinking shears and zig-zag stitches on my less temperamental sewing machine. I’ll talk nicely to the serger tomorrow and do all the cleaning/maintenance stuff you suggest. It just might help……thanks

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  4. Thank you Coco, really helpful advice which I will strive to follow. I never knew there were gadgets for threading sergers, I have one on order now thanks to you.

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  5. Thank you so much for this post! I always clean my sewing room between projects; now I will clean my machines then as well! Love you!

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  6. Totally agree that sergers are great and need to be maintained like our sewing machines. Have to say though that I love my Babylock Evolution air threader more than my other two.

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  7. That particular Juki, or one very similar is the model I used in the Costume Shop I managed awhile back—it’s simple, mechanical, and although hard for large fingered persons to thread, a total work horse. I’ve had students run a corset with grommets through it and aside from picking out bits of needles and replacing them, it was up and running in no time. I personally sew with a computerized tres fancy Husqvarna that I’ve had for over ten years because it can be converted for a cover stitch, but for learning and the basics, it’s overkill. When it dies, I will likely turn to an industrial, but if that’s outside the budget then I’ll be looking for that Juki and saving my cabbage.

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  8. I own the 654 DE by Juki. Great serger. The upper knife motion from above makes it possible to work its way through thick fabric. I also have a Babylock air threader, and a Kenmore from the 90’s in boxes waiting to go to new homes. They have all served me well, but I lover the Juki 654 DE the most.

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  9. Wonderful posts and great reminders. Thank you for being so specific and your suggestions. I need to look up how to do some of these things, like changing my blade.

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