I’ve steered away from making a lot of clothing in the past because I didn’t have a serger to make those clean finished edges that you see on ready-to-wear clothing. However, I think that’s going to change with the most recent addition to my sewing machine collection!
My main reason for not owning a serger was the cost. While thrifting recently with my husband, he spotted the serger thread guide peeking out above all the items from an aisle away; you’ve got to love having a tall husband! We rushed over and there she was, the White Super Lock 534 serger, sitting there waiting for me with a decent price tag of $49.99. I had a 30% off coupon too so I was only $35 in. I could not resist!
The machine is definitely not new, but it is in good shape. I threaded it up with several different colours of thread so that I could see how the stitches came together and which ones needed adjusting. There was a learning curve to threading the loopers, and I learned quickly that I had to thread them in a certain order in order for the stitches to actually lock together properly. When I started from left knob to right knob, every time I sewed the machine unthreaded itself from one of the loopers. When I switched and threaded the machine from right knob to left knob instead (starting with the most complicated loopers first rather than the needles), instantly the machine was happy.
Serger Project 1: Red Polka Dot Knit Skirt
I have a box of sewing patterns in my craft room but as I’m currently pregnant, I didn’t have much on hand that would work for my recently rounder body. I had a Simplicity 2608 knit skirt pattern available that was already cut out, so I decided to give it a shot. I hoped the knit material might be forgiving!
Other than sewing the two lines of gathering on the front panel of this skirt, I sewed this knit skirt entirely using the serger. Here is the almost-finished product below. Unfortunately my belly didn’t fit into the skirt, so I couldn’t actually get the skirt on. I’ll have to save it for later! I’ll hem it once I can try it on and see where I’d like the bottom of the skirt to hit on my knees.
Serger Project 2: Maternity Tank Dress
I was itching to make a project that I could actually wear, so I went to Fabricland and went through their clearance bin for some knit fabric to play with. I found this purple snake skin printed knit for 75% off. It has a lot of attitude so I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to pull it off!
I turned to the internet to find a pattern I could use with the fabric. I found the Women’s Tank Dress by Nap Time Creations pattern which was a great starting point for my first serged dress. I took the tank part of her pattern in size XL, but instead of attaching a skirt in the round to the tank, I extended the pattern pieces down into the trapezoid shape. Stitching it up was easy-peasy since I only had the two side seams and the two straps. I didn’t need a defined waist as in the original pattern, because well, what waist was there for me to define? Ha!
I learned a lot from making this dress. For the neck line and arm holes, I serged the edges first. Then I folded the serged edge over and sewed a line close to the edges to tack it down and act as top-stitching. I used my sewing machine’s straight stretch stitch to do the job.
For the bottom hem, I used a more generous turn-under, but followed the same concept with the straight stretch stitch.
Here is a photo of the finished dress. It’s not perfect, but not bad for my first serged project start to finish! The bottom hem is a bit wavy.
The dress came together nicely! With the pregnancy, my work wardrobe has been slowly diminishing, but I think this tank dress works well for an office setting when dressed up with a bolero and belt. The knit is quite stretchy so it should do me for a few more months! I’m planning on making this dress again, but I want to bring up the neckline a little and experiment with a larger flare on the skirt.
Serger Follow Up
So far, I’m loving the White Super Lock 534. It is real work horse and feels solid. It doesn’t have a differential feed or any of those features you might find on the upgraded modern sergers, but I think this machine will do me well for making fun clothing projects, costumes, and even home decor sewing for quite some time.