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sergers-msg – 9/24/06


Use of sergers in the SCA. Advantages of using them.


NOTE: See also the files: sewng-machnes-msg, sewing-msg, sewing-tables-msg, washing-msg, textiles-msg, color-a-fab-bib, fabric-ident-msg, sewing-tools-msg, Fnd-Tme-2-Sew-art.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Tue, 29 Jul 1997 13:02:45 -0500 (CDT)

From: cmccraw at comp.uark.edu

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Serger query


My husband just bought his umpteenth Craftsman tool (a table saw, in case

you are wondering) and has suggested that I should buy some "tools for

fabric." My trusty sewing machine is 20 years old, but still goes forward,

backward and zigzag, so I don't see the need to replace it -- but what about

a serger?


Does anyone use a serger for SCA use? How useful is it? What do you do with

it? Is it hard to learn to use and/or maintain? Will it make me a costuming

goddess? (Just a trick question to see if you're still reading!)


Frankly a sewing machine that comes with an instructional video is a little

intimidating to me.  :)


Thanks in advance for any advice.


Fionna nic Alisdair

Grimfells, Calontir



Date: Tue, 29 Jul 1997 15:19:19 -0400 (EDT)

From: Kreuzhaus at aol.com

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Serger query


I JUST bought my serger and in the ten days or so that I've had it, it has

really turned my costuming around !  (Can you tell I'm still jazzed?)  In my

case I think it is an attitude adjustment because new toys, er, I mean, tools

are so much fun.  But I have finished three projects that had been hanging

around  and started a few more.  For SCA use, a serger can help you manage

the many layers of lining and interlining that structured and/or heavyweight

garb requires or you can use that "fine edge" setting to put a bit of

contrasting color along the edges of your chemise ruffles. Those are just

two examples, the list goes on.  The Downside is that sergers are pricey and

of course, inappropriate for truly authentic projects.     Good Luck !




Date: Tue, 29 Jul 1997 12:20:43 -0700

From: Brett and Karen Williams <brettwi at ix.netcom.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Serger query


cmccraw at comp.uark.edu wrote:

> Does anyone use a serger for SCA use? How useful is it? What do you do with

> it? Is it hard to learn to use and/or maintain? Will it make me a costuming

> goddess? (Just a trick question to see if you're still reading!)


> Fionna nic Alisdair


I personally don't have a serger, but I've lusted after one for a long

time. I can give you a series of my observations, but remember that

opinions are subjective... :)


Sewing machines and sergers are similar in their objective (stitching

two or more layers of fabric together), but differ in the methods used

for accomplishing the task. Whereas a sewing machine will perform some

variation of a two thread locking stitch, a serger will use two to as

many as five separate threads to stitch, trim and finish a seam. If you

look at a commercially sewn garment, generally speaking what you're

seeing is a serger-type stitch and seam finish.


I personally don't think that a serger is for the new seamster. It is

unforgiving in that by its nature, a serger is a stitch-only-once-and

better-get-it-right-the-first-time tool. Inside that machine is a knife

blade that trims the fabric as the seam is stitched and overcast. On the

plus side, a serger is *extremely* efficient and *FAST!!* for what I'd

term 'plain sewing': basic garment construction, seam finishing,

straight seams (like on an awning cover or pavilion). It doesn't have

the ability to topstitch, set in piping or perform buttonholes. Used in

conjunction with a sewing machine(and an iron for pressing...[grin]), a

serger is ideal for an individual who sews a lot. For example, I can

knock out a t-tunic and sideless surcote for my young daughter (starting

with flat fabric-- seams finished, no trim, with a hand-rolled hem

around the armsceyes of the surcote and handstitched buttonhole loop on

the shoulder of the tunic) in about four to five hours. With a serger

I'd cut that time even shorter since the serger would zip through the

construction seams much faster than my sewing machine-- plus I'd not

have to run each fabric piece through the overcast before stitching the

seams. And for non-SCA applications, a serger is ideal for making things

like mundane sweatpants and t-shirts-- no hand finishing is necessary at



I'd check into issues of Sew News and/or Threads for articles within the

last three years on comparing serger models, and hit the local big

bookstore to leaf through some of the more detailed sewing instruction

books. There are also serger-specific books out there, too. There are a

lot of considerations as to how many threads machines use (minimum two,

some take only three-, four- or five-threads, some can handle any kind

of combination thereof...), their manufacturer's reputation for quality,

warranty, etc. Then, once you're determined what you're going to get,

then check out the store(s) around you for things like service, lessons,

support, etc. A good serger, well-maintained, should be a serious tool

that will last for a very long time-- what my husband calls a

twenty-year applicance.


Hope this helps, despite its general nature.





Date: Tue, 29 Jul 1997 16:20:12 -0400 (EDT)

From: Luiseach at aol.com

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Serger query


Sergers are great for SCA sewing, but, unfortunately, they won't make you a

sewing goddess <G>


Seriously, if you are sewing on anything that has a tendency to ravel,

serging the edges of pieces right after you cut them out will save a lot of

finishing time later.  Depending on how you set the serger, this edge finish

can be purely functional or a bit decorative (like for inside a flared sleeve

that you aren't lining.  If you routinely prewash pieces of fabric before you

cut, serge the edges to prevent ravelling in the washer. You can also use

the serger and some of the pretty threads that are available for it to make

your own trim.  


I don't use my serger much for actually sewing parts of SCA garments

together--this technique works fine for T-shirts, but most of what we make is

just too heavy and the serged seams don't hold up.


I have a Pfaff Hobbylock 788, didn't need a video to learn how to use it.

The manual is good, but I highly recommend _Sewing with Sergers_ by Gail

Brown and Pati Palmer and/or _Innovative Serging_ by Gail Brown and Tammy

Young to get you beyond the basics.

Can you tell that I LOVE my serger??


Luighseach nic Lochlainn



Date: Tue, 29 Jul 97 17:53:11 -0500

From: Irene leNoir <irene at ici.net>

To: "sca-arts" <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: Re: Serger query


>Does anyone use a serger for SCA use? How useful is it? What do you do with



I use my serger for anything that it can be used for, whether it is

garb or mundane sewing.  For SCAdian sewing I have found that it is

most useful when sewing with loosely woven fabrics or other fabrics

that fray easily.  I know that there are people that say, "But serged

seams aren't period!"  My attitude has always been that I'm not

sewing my garb entirely by hand anyway, so a serged seam isn't any

more un-period than a sewing machine seam.  Also, if you are going to

put the time and effort into making garb, it is nice to have it be as

durable as possible.  I am going to have to do a large chunk of garb

sewing sometime soon because almost all of my simple field garb,

which I made before I had my serger, is starting to fray apart at the

seams.  It is such a shame, because otherwise, the garments aren't

anywhere near worn out.  When I redo all of my field garb I am going

to do it on my serger.  Then the garments won't wear out until they

become threadbare.


>Is it hard to learn to use and/or maintain?

Curved seams can take a bit of practice to master, as a different

technique is required to feed a curve through a serger than through a

sewing machine.  You could practice on some scraps, or just do what I

did.  The first time I had to sew a curved seam on the serger I

pre-sewed the seam on my sewing machine and then ran it through the

serger to finish the seam allowances.  By the time I finished the

project (a tunic) I was confident enough to do it for real the next



As to maintenance...  The best thing that you can do for your serger

is to keep a can of compressed air on your sewing table. Develop the

habit of regularly blowing away all the loose lint and dust.  Don't

forget to blow between the tension disks.  I blow the lint away after

each project, or even sometimes in the middle of a project if it is a

big one, or the fabric produces a lot of lint.


If you decide to get a serger I recommend the following:

- Try to find a friend who has a serger who will let you try theirs

out.  It can help a lot when you go to look at them in the stores if

you are even just a little familiar with them.

- Get one with differential feed.  If you buy one without

differential feed you are throwing your money away.

- I personally like the brand Babylock.  They were the first company

to manufacture a home serger and they know what they are doing.  This

is just my personal prefernce though, and I admit that there are

brands out there that I don't have experience with.

- Whereas a built-in needle threader on a sewing machine is, in my

opinion, completely frivolous, a built-in needle threader on a serger

is a truly useful tool.

- Take your time in deciding what you want.  A good serger will cost

in the range of $300 to $500 dollars and you want to make sure that

you get the best one for you.  There are a lot of different features

on different models.  Be sure that you understand what those features

are used for so that you can decide whether or not you want to pay

for them.


I hope that this helps.


Jessica I. Clark

SCA: Baroness Irene leNoir

jessica at ici.net or irene at ici.net



Date: Tue, 29 Jul 1997 18:26:52 -0700

From: ladymari at GILA.NET (Mary Hysong)

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Serger query


I absolutely adore my 4 thread serger, an older model with a few

quircks, but it's great.  I can make entire garment with it-imagine

whipping out an ordinary chemise in less than two hours, from fabric

layout to finished product [of course that doesn't include fancy do-dads

or embroidery]  I also use it with my regular sewingmachine stitch the

seams on the regular machine, try on, fit, ect. then serge to trim the

seam allowance and over lock the edges.  Use it with metallic threads in

the loopers for hems on anything from clothes to table cloths.

Clotilde's a mail order sewing supplier also carries special feet for

sergers so you can use clear thread and stich down braids and strings of

beads at the same time [she also carries scads of other goodies]


I'm not up on features of differeny brands, but try out different ones

at a local sewing machine dealer.  Especially look for ease of seeing

and threading the loopers and the needles [the knife on mine is always

in the way of threading the right hand needle]


Hope this helps, Mairi


PS, don't let the video scare you off--some people learn better that

way and some things are easier to demonstrate than to write about.


Mary Hysong <Lady Mairi Broder, Atenveldt Kingdom Scribe> and  Curtis

Edenfield <The C-Man>



Date: Wed, 30 Jul 1997 10:46:43 -0400 (EDT)

From: sclark at chass.utoronto.ca (Susan Carroll-Clark)

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: serger query


I've had my serger for about a year and a half now.  It's a very basic model--

a Janome (called New Home in the States) 134D with four threads and changeable

throat plates.  I do a lot of commission work for others, and it helps make

my seams look nice and professional, as well as cutting down on my

sewing time.  I also love the rolled hem feature for my fine silk and cotton

veils (as someone said earlier, you have to get the knack for going around

corners, especially on this one)


A few hints:

--use the finer gauge needles on fine fabrics (else the force of the machine

will be too much for them) and use the dial to space your stitching closer

together.  On heavier fabrics, open up the spacing.


--If you want to be able to take in or let out a garment, serge the edges

of your pieces, then sew them together on a conventional machine.


--For loose weaves or really ravelly material, you might want to add a line

of standard stitches to reinforce the serged seam.


--Serger shreddies make great stuffing!  (Shreddies are the little pieces

cut off by the knife)


As I've said, this machine is very basic--the kind that people look at

initially and say "how the H*ll do you thread that thing?" I sat down

and threaded it repeatedly until I got it, and I usually cheat anyway

when I put on new colours by tying them to the old thread and simply

pulling that through.  Oh--and I've found the really long beading needles

are as good, or better, than those "serger threaders" that are sold.



Nicolaa de Bracton




Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 11:22:54 -0700

From: "Rebecca Mikkelsen" <RMikkelsen at mail.lhs.logan.k12.ut.us>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Serger questions [Re: More Sewing Questions]


> I got a serger for Christmas (my mom got pictures of my face when I opened

> the box-- they had to take it away from me so I'd eat breakfast)...


> But I don't quite know what to do with it. I almost-finished a project

> that I had lying around (including inserting gores-- it was MAHHHVELOUS!),

> but I'm still not quite sure what it's best used for when making garb

> (other than edge finishing, which is a miracle in itself; no more french

> seams!)


The best way to learn how to use your serger is to take a workshop

offered by your local fabric or sewing machine store. Around here

these workshops are offered every few months and cost $10-25

depending on how in-depth the class is.





From: Lisa W <lawiserdontspam at nospamatt.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: HELP!!! - Surger Manuals Needed

Date: Fri, 04 Jul 2003 23:25:42 GMT



>Greetings onto one in all, including the Taylors and Seamstress of the Known



>My Wife has just acquired a 5 thread industrial surger last owned by a

>retiring drape maker.  Still looking for his industrial machine, but we at

>least have the surger.


>Anyhow, it does need cleaning and service as it was not stored in the best

>conditions following his retirement, and did not come with either an

>user/owners or a repair manual.  If anyone has a hardcopy to loan or an

>electronic copy of these manuals, we would greatly appreciate a copy to get

>it up and running.


>Make: Rimoldi

>Model:  329-00-2CD-10

>The newer 529-00-2CD-10 is supposedly the same.


>Marcus & Kaylyn mac Ph‡rlain

>ClanLaird at hotmail.com

>ClanLaird at optonline.net


My Lord, have you checked with http://www.ucanprint.com/index.htm


They have different sewing machine models available in Adobe format.  

Rimoldi came up as a search but did not seem to have an entry.  However,

they did state they would take special orders.


Lia de Langley



From: vintagesinger at hotmail.com (Ed Lamoureux)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: HELP!!! - Surger Manuals Needed

Date: 9 Jul 2003 08:25:36 -0700


"CHRISTOP RAMOS" <cm4ramos at optonline.net> wrote

> My Wife has just acquired a 5 thread industrial surger last owned by a

> retiring drape maker...user/owners or a repair manual.  If anyone has a hardcopy to loan or an

> electronic copy of these manuals, we would greatly appreciate a copy to get

> it up and running.


Try SewUSA at http://www.sewusa.com/ManualPages/rimoldi_sewing_machine_manuals.htm




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org