Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Comparing Apple to Apples?

Although I'm new to using a serger, having an Elna Pro 5DC, I couldn't resist the urge to purchase another one, this time a Bernette Funlock 004D. I was hoping to compare apples to apples but it's more like comparing a red delicious to a honeycrisp apple: they are both apples but taste way different!
Funlock 004D
For starters, the Elna has an LCD panel to show all the stitches it can do with the corresponding settings. This is a great idea but it might be due to the very poor manual that doesn't even tell you how to change a needle! It also doesn't display everything on the panel so that lovely readout is limited but, still, it's really, really nice. Now that I've learned how to use it for a 4 needle overlock stitch, I haven't figured out how to do anything else! I think it's easy to thread with the chart right on the machine with no tricky thread placements. Mine came with a nice pad that it sits on with an opening for a handy bag to catch the scraps. But still, I would like to learn how to make a rolled hem or any other kind of hem.
Elna Pro5DC
Now the lovely Bernette comes to live/visit at my house and she is pretty nice, too. Bernette is a division of Bernina, a well known and loved maker of fine sewing machines so we already have a high opinion as she enters the door. She travels with a soft sided bag, small pouch of accessories, and a manual. This one had the bonus of a Singer book on using a serger and I've gotten some good ideas and tips from this book, too. I have trouble with the thread breaking on only one needle so I keep trying and finally find out I missed one step in the threading and it was crucial: thread goes behind, not over, the other looper. Once I get that straight she sews good but will need more adjustment of tensions that I can get from either the manual or the colorful Singer book. But I still want a serger to make a rolled hem and with the Bernette I can follow the directions and get it to work. The first sample is a firm fabric and I'm not impressed but when I change to a silky lining fabric, it does exactly what you would expect: a fine rolled hem on fabric you cannot do this with so easily. Wow.

Maybe I can go back and make these changes on the Elna now that I have some measure of success with the BB (Bernette by Bernina). Here's a sample of rolled hem on both machines and a narrow hem on the Elna:

Top: narrow hem on Elna, middle: rolled hem on Elna, Bottom: rolled hem on BB

They all turn out pretty nice, especially for a first try! A rolled hem on a silky fabric (navy) is nearly impossible and this one, even with regular serger cone thread is pretty nice; think of what it would be like with a wooly thread like they recommend. Next is the rolled hem using the Elna and on a piece of interfacing to see how sheer would look. Finally, the narrow hem with the Elna is on a piece of bias cut cotton and it also passes inspection. They all look different so maybe I will have to just keep sewing on them to see how I can apply the different effects. They really are fun to use and the problem of threading? Just have 2 sergers, one with light thread and one with dark. Simple!

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