Thursday, September 27, 2012


Last weekend I pulled out my serger for the first time. It's an older-model Elna, and though it hasn't been used in awhile, it works great. I've been excited about using it, but a little nervous to get it set up for the first time.

This is pretty much how it went:

I studied the three different manuals that it came with, and then I dusted it off and learned how to properly oil it. It came to me threaded with three spools of white. No big deal, and it sewed correctly except for a minor tension adjustment. The stitch I wanted to use required 4 threads, and also black thread.

I thought for a short time about just fudging it with the threads already in it, and getting my project done... but no, I had to learn it sooner or later.

Now, I've used a serger before, but it was probably 15 years ago. It was my mom's and I only knew one basic stitch, but I could thread that thing, and could adjust the tension pretty effectively.

For anyone who hasn't used a serger before, it can be pretty intimidating. Mine has 5 possible thread slots, with varying threading positions and needle positions. I'll post pics later, but this weekend I was pretty intent on just getting to know it enough to do my project.

So anyway, there I am about an hour into it, scratching my head and trying to understand what goes where, and learning how to move the needles. The manual with the threading diagram I needed cross-referenced the other manual to show how to move the needles and how to thread the lower looping needles which are buried in the machine. I was wishing I hadn't waited until the end of the day to start into the serger, because I was getting pretty tired.

Then, finally, I was ready to sew.

It felt like the heavens parted and the angels sang. It worked! The stitch wasn't perfect, but it worked!

What's also exciting is that I was converting a pair of pants into maternity pants. That's right, we're expecting another member of the family. This time 2-legged instead of 4, and not (as) covered in fur.

I loosely followed this tutorial, except that I used stretchy fabric for the entire panel, instead of adding elastic. And I made it a little higher so it would smooth out better. I also used a cheap pair of pants, since I didn't want to ruin any of my nice ones. I found a $7 pair at Kmart, and it worked great! Once the serger was up and running, it only took me about 10 minutes to finish.

I look forward to more adventures sewing maternity clothes :)

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