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Monday, April 28, 2014

Getting Started with a New Serger

I've been sewing for a long time but I've never used a serger. Is it terrible to admit that? Well there it is. But the one advantage to this confession is that I can do a Beginner Serging series on the blog and you know it's going to be on a true beginner's level! I am very thorough though (just ask my kids) so even if you've already been serging, you might still be able to learn a thing or two. Plus I'm bringing in lots of helpful tips from the rest of the staff at CKC. 

We have had a lot of requests for this series on our blog! Apparently I'm not the only one who has bought a serger and not taken it out of the box yet!  I ordered my serger last summer and couldn't wait for it to arrive. Then I opened it, saw the pile of STUFF all wrapped up and thought "I don't have time to figure this out today. I have too much to sew."  Besides that, I needed to order more thread for it and get a table that would fit both my machines. So I closed the box back up, piled some fabric on top of it, and that was the end of it.  I'm awesome. 

Fast forward eight months. Do you think maybe it's time to get on with it? Yes, so do I.  So here we go, getting started with baby steps, for those of you who are like me: 

STEP 1: Put your new serger on a hard surface.  Don't wait for a dual sewing table to magically appear. It's not going to happen. My desk above is not ideal, but we're going to make it work anyway for now.

STEP 2: Open the box. Despite what you might think, nothing horrible will happen. In fact your husband and sewing friends may even applaud you. 

STEP 3:  Take out all the stuff. You'll see a lot of strange looking "thingies." It will be okay.  Unwrap the large pieces from the plastic and leave the smaller pieces in their bags for now. 

STEP 4:  If you are like me, start on the first page of the manual to see where the cords plug in and then do it. This is a big step and it will take you at least thirty seconds.  Then you can look at the diagram of what all those thingies are and it will also show you how to open the front of the machine and what some of the dials mean. I like reading manuals.  

But if you are more like my husband (and most men from what I hear, nothing wrong with that!) then you can ignore the manual and play around with all the switches and cords until you have successfully figured out how to turn the machine on.

Now pat yourself on the back and turn the machine off again.  

STEP 5:  Well this isn't really a step. This is just the point where I tell you that my machine was supposed to come threaded and ready to sew. But instead it is threaded and all tangled up. I could blame it on shipping but seriously the red and yellow threads are  impossible to untangle (I tried for ten minutes) so I'm pretty sure the factory worker was playing a prank on me. It is definitely not ready to sew.  I decided this was a good time to break out the CD that came with my machine so I could watch the tutorial on how to thread it. 

Cue the kids who come in and want to check out Mom's new machine. "What does this do? What does this do? What does this do?"  

Definitely time to go watch the video.

Well, to me the video on threading wasn't very helpful. It was a good overview but the camera was way too far away to see what the lady was actually doing. There are probably better videos on YouTube (especially if you have a machine that didn't come with a CD) but I personally decided to go back to my manual. No harm done. (Plus the kids got bored and left to play with blocks.)

STEP 6: Cut all the tangled threads and remove the pre-threaded pieces so you're starting from scratch. Open up the cover of your serger. Then using your manual and the pictures on the machine as a guide, thread each of them one at a time, in the order it tells you to. 

NOTE: A staff member suggested that as we are learning to use our serger we should keep the four color-coded thread spools in use and practice until we are comfortable with each of them.  (See, I didn't need to buy more thread yet anyway.) 

On my machine I started with the green thread, as instructed.  I threaded it through all the right places, following all of the arrows and numbers as I went, and it ended up in a hole down below the needles. (This thread is called the upperlooper.) The first thread is now ready to go and it wasn't bad at all!

Next we move onto blue. (Called the underlooper.) Again, we follow the dots and numbers. When I got toward the end I had to use the manual to figure out the last part. It ended up being tucked in and pulling up from underneath. Really easy after the first time. 

Then we do the pink, which threads through the serger very much like a regular sewing machine. The pink thread ends up in the needle on the right. Then we do the yellow thread which follows the same numbered motions and ends up in the left needle.  

And we did it!  All four threads are coming out the correct places and we have a beautiful rainbow.  It wasn't complicated to get the machine threaded once we got down to it. A friend suggested that we practice un-threading and threading it a few times before moving on to the next step.

Our serger is now ready to start sewing!  In just a short time today, we managed to find a spot for our new serger, get it out of the box, set it up, and get it threaded.  In our next episode, we will turn it on and actually begin sewing!  

Who's with me?  

Let's Create! ~ Kristen

Next in the series:
Threading for Serging
Threading for Rolled Hems

1 comment:

  1. My mom inherited an unused/unboxed serger and she hadn't used it in 10 years. So I did the unveiling the other day. I spent an hour taking out each colored thread and replacing it with my thread, one color at a time.
    Last step was threading the needles, but I couldn't see the holes well enough to do that, and didn't have a needle threader! Ughh time to get my eyes checked.
    Anyways...serger was sitting on kitchen counter until I got to the store for a threader. Hubby spilled an entire cup of coffee on it. I think I got it out of all the knicks and crannies. Thank God he drinks black coffee, so no sticky! Hopefully when I get the thread through the needles and plug it in, it will work.