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

Time out for a cold!

pillow Awful, right?

Finally after 8 days, I feel like I am emerging from this nastiness. Just enough to get going on a project that has been haunting me for a while.

I have 276 patterns! and only care about a fraction of them. They’re overflowing my  storage space and making me uncomfortable. Why do we hang on to things for so long?

I have my entire pattern inventory on Evernote, so today I went through it. I moved 172 patterns to a ‘Trashed’ folder, 2 to a ‘re-order’ folder, and left the balance.

Why trashed? style, size, indifference. Reorder? only two, loved, but the pattern is too big, and I don’t feel like re-drafting it. The rest,  much loved and not going anywhere.

I printed the list of my ‘trashed’ patterns, and tomorrow I will followup with a real clean-up in the loft. Meanwhile, it’s just me and the Kleenex, baby…

Hope no one else has a cold!! Coco

Got to have a second sewing machine…

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After my Juki HZL-F600 gave out on me, I got a little anxious – I need 2 sewing machine ! Sewing, reading, needlework, knitting, artwork, they are what I do. And I do indulge myself so that I have what I need, when I need it, with the quality I enjoy 🙂

I’ve been sewing with my former backup, a Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist, for several days. And have really appreciated it. Quiet, even stitches, perfect straight stitch. Looking back, I know my Juki perchase was hopeful splurge. Not really a ‘better’ machine for me, as I don’t need all the whiz bang features. Since it broke last week, I’ve definitely fallen out of whatever love I had for it.

Here it comes, my new purchase: another Quantum Stylist.

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I did so much research. And I’ll admit to a fondness for Singer – I sewed on a Singer slant needle machine, the one with the discs, for 15 years, I even had a new zig-zag disc crafted in metal when I was living in Costa Rica. I wish I had kept it. About 9 years ago, I purchased a very low end Singer and did not keep it. It worked, but was noisy and unpredictable. But the Stylist is a keeper. It is fully featured, has an auto-presser foot pressure, does lovely buttonholes, and ta-dum, has a metal chassis. The latter is a big deal – it’s heavy, stable, and, with it’s distributed footprint, very quiet. And at $290 on Amazon, new, it’s a great budget fit.

I’m going to use the new machine as my primary, I might as well take advantage of any upgrades/changes since I purchased my first one in 2012. And I’m jazzed!

Bye for now – Coco

p.s. I’m going to take my Juki apart, learn stuff, practice 🙂

Sewing machine in the infirmary…

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Oh, thank goodness it didn’t get to this point 🙂

After almost 5 years, my Juki Hzl-F600, aka fancy, high-strung, and expensive sewing machine, has taken a dive!

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Suddenly today, the upper thread was not being picked up by the bobbin thread. In fact, it was forming a knot behind the bobbin case after about 3 stitches. Here’s the mess on the back/bobbin side of some stitching:

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Of course, I cleaned everything, took off the casings, etc., to do it. Cleaned the tension discs. Changed my needles, rethreaded the machine. About 2 hours of hopeful work.

To no avail. I’ve spotted a worn thread guide on the bobbin case and also suspect the timing is off. A new bobbin case – which would only be a starting point – is almost $60.

Solution: I pulled out my trusty Singer Quantum Stylist.

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And I was amazed by how quiet it seemed! I guess I had gotten used to my Juki slowly breaking down.

The Stylist is a great machine, does beautiful buttonholes, and is ‘uncomplicated’. I don’t plan to fix the Juki – I’d rather spend the money on a less picky machine, probably something that has been refurbished.

No woes! Coco

Fabric stash madness…

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Breaking the rules…I had a fantastic shopping spree this morning at Fabric Mart. They have their pre-cut fabrics and fabric kits on sale.

This might be my best fabric sales/order ever. A little over 24 yards of fabric for $54, with shipping!

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Included in there, 3 patterns. The Sewing Workshop Eureka top and skirt,

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McCalls 6608 woven and knit skirts,

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And New Look 6150 ruched knit tops (perfect for tucking into pants and skirts)!

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I love Fabric Mart. Great service, shipping, fabric, and specials. I’m getting dangerous with all the fabric and pattern additions to the loft this year. Wowser!

Ciao! Coco