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Sewing: Using a Serger

Learn to use the sewing machines in the lab.

Getting Started with the Serger

Threading a serger is more complex than threading a regular sewing machine. Here are a couple videos to help you through the process.



Equipment Manuals

There is a paper manual for the Brother 1034D located next to the machine. 

A Note About Threads

Choosing the right thread for a project is considered by many to be the most important part. Typically, it's recommended to but the best quality thread you can afford. The low strength of cheaper threads makes lint and fuzz build up faster which isn't good for your machine. They are also much more prone to breakage. Serger thread is finer than standard sewing machine thread to avoid bunching and bulky seams. 

Polyester is the most widely used type of thread of thread sergers due to its strength, durability, and flexibility. Different types of thread, such as nylon, cotton, wooly nylon, and other types can also be used for other projects. Though this can be overwhelming, the most important thing is to use high quality. Past that, it's personal preference!


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Know Your Brother Machine

1. Thread tree

16. Upperlooper thread tension dial
2. Handle

17. Lowerlooper thread tension dial

3. Presser foot pressure adjustment screw 18. Front cover
4. Spool pin 19. Material slide plate (for overlock stitch)
5. Spool support 20. Main power switch and light switch
6. Thread take-up cover 21. Stitch length adjustment dial
7. Needles 22. Differential feed ratio adjustment lever
8. Upper Knife 23. Lowerlooper threading lever
9. Presser foot 24. Stitch finger
10. Material plate cover 25. Stitch width lever
11. Spool stand (thread tree support) 26. Upperlooper
12. Left needle thread tension dial 27. Lowerlooper
13. Right needle thread tension dial 28. Free-arm cover
14. Presser foot lifting lever 29. Bed extension
15. Hand wheel 30. Knife lever


Do's and Don'ts of Serging

DO use the tie-off method when changing thread colors

Changing colors can be such a hassle if you rethread every thread every single time. The tie-off method is where you cut each of your existing threads and instead of removing them just tie the next color to the end and pull it through the machine. Here is a link to a video demonstrating the process.

DON'T sew over pins

While you should never do this on any machine, it is especially important not to keep this in mind while serging because the machine moves so quickly and with such force it becomes dangerous if a pin goes through the machine. 

DO use high quality threads

Lower quality threads will break very easily. Because the machine is moving so quickly it is a problem when lower quality threads are used, they often break and leave more fuzz than a higher quality. 

DON'T serge at an unsteady pace

When you change speeds often, slow to fast to slow to fast, the stitching won't come out as even and tension will be much less even.

DO keep in mind rules of general sewing

Serging stems from the basics of sewing. Be sure to keep the do's and don't's from the last page so that your experience with serging can be as seamless as possible. 

DON'T pull too hard on the fabric

Whether from the front or the back, make sure to avoid pulling hard on ths fabric. This can cause the needles to hit and mess up the project you're working on.