Sunday, October 26, 2014

Serger Woes

As I continue to find more ways to use a serger, I also find the frustration in using these machines. There are random times when they won't stitch right and, of course, it is no fault of mine! Part of the problem seems to be when I move one into another spot: when I get back to it the setting might be just a bit off and that can give a poor stitch. The Bernette 004 was just such an example when the only problem was the differential feed had gotten changed. A suggestion I need to implement is to write down the settings for a specific job so when you go back to it you can check the settings.

The project this weekend was to get the Huskylock 440 working, reported not able to sew anything heavy. I'm not finding it able to sew knits very well, or so I thought. Here are the stitch samples I made to test this machine:

4 layers of cotton knit: not too happy
Let's try this out on another serger:

Rib knit with Bernette Funlock 004
I had to use a different knit because you would not be able to see the stitches with white on white but you can see it's just fine, even with the 4 layers. Taking one step at a time, I tried to get consistent chain stitching (that's the one that looks like regular straight sewing machine stitches). The more I stitched, the results were better even with no further adjustments. I could get decent stitches consistently:

Knit on left, woven cotton on right
but only using 2 layers of fabric. When I tried 4 layers of knit, thinking this would be the ultimate test:
4 layers but chain stitch isn't too great
it didn't like this. Okay, so I only sew 2 layers when using knits. I can live with that. Then I added the regular overlock stitch to see how it would handle it and it was pretty bad, like the first sample. Taking the chain stitch out of the testing, I could look only at the overlock and found out where the problem came from but no solution. It seems if I can get it all started and going right, don't change anything and it will stitch fine with a standard 2 layers:

Woven cotton left, knit on right
I've also considered that with knits I might need different needles and that could be tricky with needles that are already special. All of this made me turn to Craigslist to see what was up with sergers for sale and, lo and behold, there was a pretty nifty Elna for sale that I could afford! Thanks goodness it had already been spoken for because I came to my senses and said "you already have that same model" so I got it back out and worked with it again, finally dropping the chain stitch and going with just a 3 thread overlock. Perfect. Now I have all three sergers working, with some limitations.

I'm all excited to be going to the Sewing Expo in Minneapolis in November with my daughter, Kelly. Can you guess which class I signed up for? Serger 911. Let's hope I learn something that I'm clearly missing in all of these serger woes!


Absolute Sewing said...

Check that your lower looper point is not blunt or have a bur on it. You can remove it with fine sandpaper or a little file. Ideally loopers should be brightly polished and any roughness could cause skipped stitches. The lower looper point must almost touch the needles when it passes behind it to catch the cotton. The looper timing for the chain stitch must be set correctly otherwise it will skip stitches. The correct threading and tension is also very important.

Karen said...

I'll give the lower looper another check although I am getting a nice chain stitch at this point with the other looper.