Saturday, January 30, 2010

Response to questions

Thank you for your questions. I responded under the topic in "Comments". Keep em coming - I love it!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Serger Notions - a must have!

For those of you who have trouble threading the loopers - go to any drug store and purchase "floss threaders" in the dental section. They look like blue loops with a tail. They are used for cleaning permanent bridges (teeth).
If you work with decorative threads then a "double eye needle" is super for hiding the thread tails.

If you like to use ribbon floss or thread that feeds off better horizontally - then a horizontal spool feeder will become your best friend!

Seam Sealant - there are many brands and I have used them all. I have no preference because they all work pretty much the same. Though if you ask around I am sure people will tell you their favorites.

Small very sharp pointy scissors. If you ever get a knot of thread wrapped around the needle plate you will be glad you have them. Been there - rough road!

Clear nylon thread for fixing ooooopps.

Next time I am going to go over some "mishap" terms like stacking etc. and give you some tips on how to get beyond the misery.

Til them - enjoy your serger and stitch away!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Overlock 4 - front and back

Picot Edge

Same settings as rolled hem - just lengthen the stitch. Perfect for hemming delicate fabrics.

Flatlock stitches

These are flatlock stitches, closed and open flat.


Ms. Maddie

Back - Open

Top - front

3 Thread Flatlock (wide)

Thread left needle with serger thread, thread the upper looper with decorative thread and the lower looper with serger thread.
Inside the front cover – set the lower looper guide to “3/4” thread serging.
Stitch length – 2 ½
Differential feed – 1.0
Left needle tension –½ (between 1 and zero)
Upper Looper - 3
Lower looper tension - 8
Lower Looper tension slider – RH
Stitch finger – “S”
Right side open flat

Welcome New Followers!

Today I want to talk about "Unbalanced Stitches". Not so much for trouble shooting problems but for creating your own new stitches.
Set the serger up for 3 thread wide overlock stitch (left needle only). If you put decorative thread in both the loopers and then tighten the upper looper tension a bit so that both the looper threads come to the top side of the fabric - you will get a braided looking stitch. It is illegal but looks great and it is fun!

Set up the serger for a 3 thread wide overlock stitch (left needle only). Another one that is legal sort of - put jeansstitch or 25wt cotton quilting thread in the upper looper (lower if you want also), and adjust the stitch length to the setting for a picot edge or rolled hem you will get a satin stitch. Secret - serger it over a piece of 1/8" ribbon - WOWEEE!


Hope you like these different stitches. More to come as I remember.

Thank you all for following!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Inspiring Projects

Here a two project done on the serger. Some of the stitches featured on the vest are flatlocking and 3 thread wide decorative stitch.

The dress and hat were done on a 5 thread serger and feature the cover stitch, reverse pintucking, gathering and a rolled hem.

If you would like the instructions, please let me know.

Valances made EZ

This past summer when my sister was visiting we made new valances for my kitchen windows. Of course when two people are working together time flies and projects get finished in a flash! I measured the width of the windows and doubled the number and then cut the sizes I needed. To make it EZ and quick we did a rolled hem on all the raw edges. That meant we didn't have to hem any of the valances. For the rod pockets - yes we went to the sewing machine. BUT in less than two hours we made three valances and one curtain (that was for the window that has no view). Please note that one window is a picture window that measures 72" wide. That was no challenge for the sewing sisters. So instead of hemming - if it is appropriate just do a rolled hem. Suggestions - delicate fabric garments, pillowcases, scraves, placemats, napkins, home dec pillow ocvers,kitchen curtains, valances (of course), table cloths, table runners, table toppers.........

Got a question?

Friday, January 22, 2010


You never know when you will meet a new friend.

Attaching elastic

The serger is a secure way to attach elastic to pants, skirts, shorts etc. First let me say that inserting elastic into a casing is easy but the elastic tends to roll or fold and can be very uncomfortable.
There are several different types of elastic gathering attachments or accessory feet available for most sergers. They do make it a lot easier. But if you don't have one yet you can do the following:
1. Quarter the garment - mark with straight pins.
2. Measure the elastic on the person the garment is for to be sure it will be comfortable and fit properly. If they are not available and depending on the stretch of the elastic make it approximately 3" - 6" less than the size of their waist.
3. Serge the short ends of the elastic together to form an circle.
4. Quarter the elastic and mark with straight pins.
5. Match the pins of the garment to the pins of the elastic.
7. Starting at the back of the garment serge the elastic to the garment. NOTE - you will have to stretch the elastic so that they both will lay flat when approaching the needles.
8. When you get to the "back" again serge over the previous stitches and then serge off.
9. At this point you can turn under the serged edge and zig zag it down.
10. OR if you have a 5 thread serger you can stitch it down with a cover stitch. But again you will have to stretch the elastic so that it lays flat.

Since serger stitches have stretch - it will be just super dooper when done.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Buying a serger

A very sweet person asked me about buying a serger. She is a quilter and wondered if and why shy might need a serger. Well, I have made many quilts using my serger. The technique is quick, easy and loads of fun. It's a sort of flip and serge the layers as you go. Some of my serger quilts are posted on the Janome "projects" website. Go take a look. Then she inquired if she should buy a 4 thread or a 5 thread. I explained if you are a beginner serger then a 4 thread is more than enough to get started. Besides making quilts, you can make pajama pants (very popular with the younger people today), pillow covers, ironing board covers (they make great gifts), pillow covers, table cloths, placemats, napkins and the list goes on and on. I strongly suggest that you first think about buying a serger from an authorized sewing machine dealer. Most of the time they offer class - sometimes free. AND - if you have questions, problems or need service they are usually reliable and supportive. A serger is a delightful and useful compliment to a sewing machine. I couldn't exist without mine!!!
Well, back to the basement to finish my project.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Blanket Stitch

Some 4 thread and some 5 thread sergers do a blanket stitch without all the gimmicks and tricks that we used to have to do to try to get a decent blanket stitch. One thing for sure the sergers that do that stitch really do it well! You can put an assortment of different decorative thread(s) in the needle and WOW what a beautiful stitch. Of course check your manual for guidelines before attempting this stitch. I love to use that stitch to make scrungie hair ties for pony tails.
A quick and ez gift idea. Take two 2" x 45" strips of fabric ( less length if desired). Fold under and press the short ends. Then with wrong sides together - go for it and serge a blanket stitch down both long sides. Finally take a small strip of 1/2" elastic and run it through. Tie the ends of the elastic in a knot and WOWEE - a gift for a any occasion! I can think of a thousand different uses for that wonderful blanket stitch - just ask me??????????????

Sunday, January 3, 2010


What is Flatlocking?
It is a serged seam that opens flat. It has many uses, not just decorative but functional as well. When constructing garments that have high loft or excessive bulk like fleece, fur or upholstery fabric this allows the seam to lay flat. Once the seam is serged then you gently tug the two pieces of fabric so that the seam lays FLAT. (If necessary use a pressing cloth and press the side that has the ladder or straight stitching.) Never place a hot iron on fleece unless you want to emboss with an iron print. :-)
By placing decorative thread in the upper looper you can embellish ready to wear garments like t-shirts, jackets and so on. You can piece squares together to create a quilt. There are many patterns available for this technique.

How do you set up the serger for a flatlock stitch. First check the machine manual for suggested settings. Most sergers achieve this stitch using the left needle, upper looper and lower looper for a 3 thread flatlcok. A 2 thread flatlock can also be used if desired.

The needle needs very little tension (between zero and one is a starting point), the upper looper at a normal setting, the lower looper needs to have excessive tension or very tight. The needle thread will form the ladder stitch on the back, the upper looper thread will lay flat on the right side of the fabric. The lower looper will be the thread that pulls the needle thread across the back and set the stitch for the upper looper thread.

If you have any questions about this serger stitch, just ask??????