Friday, September 6, 2013

My Sad Serger Saga

I am not usually one for posting stories without a project involved, but I had quite the serger escapade today and just for my sanity and venting I thought I would share! 

About 2 years ago I decided that I needed a serger. I was making clothes for my kiddos and myself and zig zagging my seam allowances just wasn't looking as professional as I dreamed my garments could look.
So I went on the search for the perfect serger for me... Affordable and easy to use.
I decided on the Brother 1034d
I mentioned to my husband that I would like a serger. Being the supportive hubby that he always is, he said he was on board- BUT, I had to wait until my birthday... 6 months away.

I was kinda feeling melancholy about it. I was excited that he was ok with me putting more money into my hobby, but kinda bummed that I had to wait. If you know me, you know that when I come up with an idea I usually act on it within hours. That is how most of my sewing projects occur. I think it up and run to my sewing shelf and grab some fabric and get to working. So with about 20 projects in mind, that needed a serger mind you, I felt kinda defeated. (ok...ok... I know I am sounding like a spoiled brat at this point, but I am just being totally honest with this story....)

Ok... fast forward 6 months. The long awaited time had come. Except... I spent my birthday in Utah at my little brothers funeral. My serger sat on my front porch, left by the UPS man. Thoughts of sergers were no where in my mind at that point. 

When I came home from the funeral, my cute hubby presented the serger to me- excited to see my reaction. I tried to act excited and be graceous about it but life (and everything I had just gone through) was feeling overwhelming and the thought of trying to be adventurous and brave to learn something new was just too much for me. The next day while my hubby was at school, I shoved it in the closet and shut the door without a second glance.

The sad little serger stayed in the closet untouched and unopened for a year and a half. I thought of it often but it was like it was a monster in the closet that I tried to avoid. For some reason I couldn't bring myself to get it out and figure out how to work the stupid thing. 
This last year and a half since my brother's suicide have been interesting. I have learned a lot about myself and how I really can do hard things with the Lord's help, but at the exact same time it has changed me so much that I look in the mirror and feel like the "old me" is long gone and things will never be the same. 
So I think the serger just kinda represented the past and happier times in my life. I have been too busy dwelling on what used to be that I couldn't focus on what was now and here and move forward.

Today I woke up and decided I needed to change something. I opened the closet door and dug out the serger determined to figure it out. 
I opened the box.. all the while, my two little cuties were fascinated, trying to figure out what had been in the closet all this time.
 There it was... Scaring the crap out of me!

Like I said... I think it represented more than just a serger to me...

But I put it up on the kitchen table and opened the instructions. I found an awesome video on YouTube that made threading my machine a breeze. I took a few practice runs on some scraps of fabric to get my tension right and to make sure I had threaded it correctly and then I felt good enough to try it out on the project I was working on. 

First seam... Perfect... What in the world was everyone talking about? This serger thing was a lot easier than I had expected. I was conquering the "Serger Monster" from my closet!

And then.... my confidence got the best of me.... I was serging along... picking up speed... and then all heck broke loose...

I had been using some straight pins.
Now- I know anyone that has used a serger is totally cringing right now- because when you sew with a serger you can't sew over pins like you can get away with when you use a regular machine. A serger has a cutting blade that trims your fabric as you go and pins are not allowed through the blades! 

Now, I am not a total dimwit! I was being a responsible "sergist" (totally making that word up) and I was just using my pins to slightly control the knit fabric I was working with, but I was taking the pins out with plenty of time before the fabric entered the cutter... the pins were just my security blanket to make sure I lining up my seams as it went through.

But- as I have learned today... You CANNOT do two things at once while using a serger... I was looking at my freshly finished seam to make sure the tension was still looking good and "CRACK"... next thing I know, the upper blade of the serger is flying straight up in the air just as I look down to see that I had missed a pin. 

I could not believe it! I was so mad at myself! Seriously... busting my serger within 10 minutes of using it!?! What the heck? Why couldn't the stupid pin have just broken in half? Was this a bad omen on my serger? 

Feeling defeated and pretty dumb, I called around to some local repair shops and tried to find the replacement blade- totally hoping (with my "I need to finish this project now" mentality) that I could zip across town and find a part to fix it! But to no avail! I headed online and ordered the replacement part... $24 smackaroos this little incident cost me and my machine will be on bed rest for at least a week (depending on how long that part takes to get here).

Moral to the story and lessons learned:

1. Don't use pins ever again when using my serger!

2. Stay humble. Just when you think you have it all figured out... you go busting your upper blade on your serger and see that you have no idea what in the heck you are doing!

3. Sometimes ya hit a road bump and it knocks ya outta whack, but that doesn't mean you can't dust yourself off and keep truckin' along.

4. Be patient.

Thanks for letting me vent. I feel better.... well kinda. ;)
Stay tuned for the continuing Serger Saga... 

Happy Weekend!  


  1. Sorry to hear about your brother.I would the same with the machine and try to do two things at once I am impatient and always thinking of the next thing before finishing what I am doing-love dee x

  2. oh no! That totally sounds like something I would do. So sorry. Hard way to learn a lesson!!! When you get it fixed, a good way to keep the knit fabric together is do a baste stitch on your regular machine first!!

  3. Don't be too hard on yourself, accidents happen and sergers take a little getting used to. So glad you were not injured with that blade!!

  4. In December I bought that exact same serger as a birthday/Christmas present to myself using points I received from my job. My mom's health had been declining for a few months and it suddenly worsened right after I ordered the serger. She died in early January. The serger has sat since December unused. I've been wanting to get back to sewing since her death. This month I'm participating in a vintage sewing challenge. I'll be starting my project soon and am going to finally use my serger! I've never used a serger but am looking forward to and enjoying the results. Thanks for the video link.

  5. Oh Goodness. My brother died unexpectedly in April. Quilting has really been my therapy through adjusting to the loss of his fabulous self in my life. It was nice to read the link where you shared more about your experience. Sorry for the serger incident. A little slow down, you can handle that...

  6. Last year I convinced my husband I needed a serger too...he bought me one for our anniversary. Yep, I got the brother 1034D and I've loved it! I made a mistake just the other day and broke a needle while serging through 4 layers of minky. Yikes! Apparently the serger isn't invincible! I hope you have fun using yours and conquer your list of projects that need a serger :)

  7. I have done the same thing in my sewing career. All it takes is one little distraction, and WHAM, just like everything else in life. Have to pay attention. I love your tribute to your brother. The quilt will be very special.

  8. I don't feel so bad after reading this post. I bought a serger from HSN about two years ago and the only thing I have done with it is get it out of the box.....!!!
    I can't bring myself to plug it in, it just looks complicated. After reading your post I think I am going to jump right in and start using it! What's the worst thing that could already told me what not to do so thanks for sharing and have a wonderful weekend. Look forward to reading more about your serger adventures!

  9. I love love love my serger! I always insist on hubby being by my side whilst I thread it as I don't want to lose my temper and hurt her! ;)
    And pins.. eek - definitely a double no no!!
    Hope it's back up and running in no time and you can benefit from it's true magic!!

  10. I inherited my mother's serger (bc she has decided sewing is not her thing) when she came to see me at Gwen's birth. It is large and clunky (not new and sleek), but it certainly gets the job done. The only thing I haven't managed to get quite right is the lettuce 'curly' look. Someday I'll get that down. But I love having one for extra-strong seams and finished edges!

    my point is, I've got one. So if you don't want to wait until your part comes in, you're welcome to pack up the girls and head over here for a 'play-sew' date! :)

  11. I have that serger and LOVE it!!!! The rolled hems are awesome! The gathering foot kinda stinks, though. Now I am kinda glad I am too lazy for pins, though!

  12. Your story brought back memories for me. My husband bought me a new sewing machine the day after my mom passed away. I think he just felt very helpless in knowing what to do for me, so that was his show of love and support. It took a long time before I sewed with it. Glad your pin episode didn't hurt you!

  13. I'm so sorry for your loss. You need a do over to make some happy memories with your machine. Maybe this will make you smile: I'm a bookkeeper at a sewing shop and we sell Pfaff, Babylock, Janome, and Brother. I bought my Bernina 16 years ago, before I started working there and I get constant ribbing about being the "enemy" . So we had a trade in and suddenly this $2500 machine was there, which we would sell for $-1000 or so. My boss spoils me, and he offered it to me for $500. So out of guilt I bought this very nice Pfaff. The gals gave me the quick rundown on it and I took it home. Well, I didn't pay close enough attention to the instructions, and the first time I sat down to sew, I had threaded it wrong and knocked it out of time. It had to go to the service center, which the store pays for, but I was so embarrassed. Ack!

  14. All parts of our lives are intertwined. You can't separate life into compartments, it's just a big old mix that we live through as best we can. You will make amazing things with your lovely serger (I don't have one so I have a little serger envy) and you will always miss your brother. All my crafting is wrapped up in feelings for both my Nan's and my Mum who have all passed away, sometimes it's bitter sweet. x


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Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a great day!
xoxo, Ashley