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.
This is an incredible video series from Atelier Saison on sewing a lined structured jacket.
I’m making my first Republique du Chiffon Manteau Gerard, which is typically lined. It’s been a while since I sewed a lined jacket, so I went looking on YouTube for a refresher course. Wow. This 6-part series from Atelier Saison is simply stunning. From laying out fabrics, cutting them, jacket assembly, and finishing, it’s all covered. And I find that watching someone do it is a lot more helpful than reading a tutorial. I love that ‘pause’ button…
The topic is a beautiful classic woman’s jacket/blazer.
This garment done in wool flannel with a very sheer fusible interfacing and ‘posh-like’ lining. The journey is fascinating. I learned so much! I’ve watched each session several times, checkpointing my own jacket construction and simply taking it all in. I was captivate by all the Technique, fabric manipulation, seam management, sequence of construction, and small steps that differentiate the end garment from something well-made to something beautifully made. Couture.
I would have been happy with the videos. But Atelier Saison takes it a step further and offers the pattern for free as a PDF download. This link includes info and links to each part of the series, as well as the download.
The videos have no audio dialogue, but are captioned in both Japanese and English. They are very easy to understand and navigate. Bonus – each video includes a list of topics covered, in English.
E.g., Part 2: “Adjust cutting, Stick stay tape, Sew the lining”
Stick stay tape on front bodice
Fold crease line on lapel
Stick stay tape on back bodice
Plain seam under collar and collar stand
Plain seam upper collar and collar stand
Seam opening upper collar and collar stand
Top-stitch (seam opening) upper collar and collar stand
Top-stitch (overlapped seam) under collar and collar stand
Plain seam upper and under collar
Cut seam allowance and Grading it
Seam opening the collar and turn it out
Plain seam front bodice and facing
Attach the collar to the lining bodice
Attach the collar to the main bodice
Cut & Slash the seam allowance of the edge of front and lapel, and collar
Staystitch the edge of front curve
Seam opening and overlapped seam the collar
Seam opening the edge of front lapel
Make the pattern of the part of curve
Press the edge of front curve
Turn the facing out and Press
Hand blind stitch the neckline
Hand blind stitch the lapel crease line
Hope you enjoy (and many thanks to Atelier Saison for a real gem). Coco