Q&A: Advice on Buying A Serger

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Tips and tricks to buying a serger you'll actually use and love - Rae Gun Ramblings

I hope it goes without saying but just in case you need the invitation I want you all to know that I love getting emails and questions from you guys. Whether it’s sewing or crafting related, questions about selling on Etsy, what my favorite places to eat in Utah are, or really anything else silly, serious, or whatever. I love feeling connected and helpful. I realize that some of your questions might be helpful or interesting to others so every once in a while I hope to post them if I think they’d help others or are just fun and interesting.

Tori sent this to me a few weeks back and while I answered her right away I kept thinking some of you may be thinking of buying a serger with Holiday money so I figured I should share.

Hello! My name is Tori Bonner @ http://onehappinessinlife.blogspot.com/ I’m starting to make my daughter some simple clothing items, such as dresses, skirts and pants and had a question.  I’m assuming you use a serger?  I was thinking of getting one for Christmas, but I’m torn as to whether I really need it or not.  Do you  have any tips or advice?  Thank you for anything you can offer! :)
Tori Bonner
Busy B Family

 (I found this while looking for serger pics. Look how little L was)

I have three sergers haha but I also sew for a living. A serger is kind of like a cell phone. You don’t “need” it but boy is it helpful once you have one. You can do everything to a much lesser and slower and uglier degree that you can do on a serger on a sewing machine. But my personal opinion is that if you sew a lot a serger is worth the investment.

My biggest piece of advice is not to buy the cheapest one you find at Walmart or Joann’s. I don’t advise your first serger to be purchased off of craigslist since they are a little complicated if you have no idea what you’re doing and you don’t want to get stuck with something that doesn’t really work or works for a few testing stitches but then flops.

If you know which make and model you want it’s fine to buy online but otherwise I’d buy one from a sewing store that services them. Or even better check out a store that sells used ones (but ones that they have serviced and certified to work). Most of those kind of places you’ll be able to try a similar one out and they’ll give you a free class to teach you how to use it and in the chance that something is wrong they’ll probably help you. Usually even the lowest priced ones there will be better than the pricier walmart ones.

I have one that my mom bought, a singer from costco, years ago (like when she was sewing for little kid me) that I love but the newer model singers I am not a fan of. The ones I’ve seen have been frustrating to use (they keep messing up) and seem like a cheaper product (I’m not sure if it’s the way they make them, the material or what). And if you get a cheaper quality serger you’ll end up not really using it much since it won’t sew right or will frustrated you so it won’t be worth the savings in the long run. I recommend spending in the 300$ or above range on a new one (you may be able to get a better deal used though).

I also have 2 Juki machines (MO-644D) that I’ve bought as my business has grown that I really love. I bought the lowest priced machines in the quilt shop. Juki was a brand that I had heard great things about and after testing it out in a local quilt shop I was sold. This machine is AWESOME I have recommended it to many many people with at least 4 different friends buying one and they’ve all reported loving the machine. Babylock is also know for good sergers (I’ve happily used them in sewing classes) but those tend to be expensive. I’ve heard good things about Janome and Viking brand machines but I’ve never used their sergers. To be honest I’m so happy with the Jukis that even though i could justify spending more on a serger since I use them so much if I needed another or a replacement I’d buy another of those 644D’s.

UPDATE: Since I wrote this I’ve helped many friends and family members buy this Juki serger and we all still love them. It seems like Amazon has been the best price I’ve seen usually around or under 290 and they’ve come in perfect condition.

My advice is that if you decide you want the convenience of a serger, look up all the small independent kind fabric shops that sell machines and smaller sewing machine shops and call to see if  they carry sergers that you can try out before purchasing and if they have used machines. Try out the more expensive ones just so you can compare how they feel. And make sure that if you end up buying it somewhere that doesn’t do classes to do a class anyways most of the places that offer classes if you don’t buy the machine from them you can pay to sign up for the class.

And just as a last thought you might think that it would be worth it, like when buying shoes, to go try it out and then buy cheaper online. But my former sewing teacher told me that it’s better to spend a little more in a brick and mortal independant shop because they tune the machines before you buy them, I’m not sure if this is true across the board but with such a finicky machine like a serger I’d spend the extra money to have the local support and availbility of classes, plus it’s a heavy annoying thing to have to mail back if something is wrong.

I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions and good luck shopping!

Let’s connect! You can also find me hanging out here.

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Comments

  1. I thought I was the only crazy one with more than one Serger… ;) but I also have 4 sewing machines each one has there own use… I got to lazy always switching out threads and dialing in for specific needs that I use of on regular basis… I sew on Janome machines … And even got my daughter the Hello Kitty one.. Which she loves;) happy seeing to you… And thanks for sharing

  2. Yup I’ve got one set to regular 4 string, one to rolled edge and other for if I want to do another color or when I have people helping or hanging out sewing!

  3. I’ve never used one! Looks like fun.

    Praying 2012 will be a great new year for you and your family!

  4. Just let me say THANK YOU for all your advice! :) And what a nice surprise to see my name on here this morning! I just wanted to let you know that my parents did in face get me a serger for Christmas! Needless to say, you’ll probably be getting more questions from me! Thank you so much again!

  5. Oh my goodness, so buying Sergers is totally addicting!?!? I totally love your advice and am hoping that I get one eventually! Can’t stand it how badly I want one!!! Thanks for sharing at Overflowing with Creativity!!! XO!

  6. Thanks for this advise. I’d love to get a serger, but I know it is still a little ways off. Someday… But I am already thinking about it and your advise seems quite sound. When it is time I’ll go to a little family-owned store :-)

  7. Thanks for this advise. I’d love to get a serger, but I know it is still a little ways off. Someday… But I am already thinking about it and your advise seems quite sound. When it is time I’ll go to a little family-owned store :-)

  8. That’s great advice! I was just asking my neighbor about her serger the other night. I don’t sew enough (yet) to warrant the investment, but I appreciate unbiased recommendations! So happy to have you link up to the Tuesday To Do Party at The Blackberry Vine!
    Happy New Year!
    Smiles!
    Jami
    http://www.blackberryvine.blogspot.com

  9. I’ve been wanting a serger for so long now- this is great advice!

    THanks,
    KK

  10. This could be dangerous for all those sewists out there! Thanks for sharing this at my Kiss and Tell linky party!!

  11. Great post! Wowzers, you’re amazing with 4 sergers! I am in the market for one, and this was really great advice! Thank you!

  12. Ok, so I had to feature this tip in the Kiss & Tell Talent album on my Facebook page :)
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Igottacreate/100573240032625?sk=wall
    <3

  13. Thanks for sharing your experiences with servers! I have borrowed my neighbors several times and it is so nice for making quick garments like pj bottoms for my kids. I’m glad to know how happy you are with your model–I’m looking into your Juki model. Very happy to hear that you can get a good serger for under $500!!

  14. I have had a serger for two years and have been afraid to try to use it-silly, right? Within the past month I have finally gotten over my fear, and now I can’t stop! My serger is so much fun that my quilting has temporarily been shoved to the back burner!
    I signed up for a Craftsy class to learn to use my machine and it was a huge help. I would recommend “Beginner Serging” with Amy Alan to any of you who are new to serging. Threading the machine with 4 different colors of thread was well worth the time I spent on it and really helped me understand how my serger works.
    Check out my recent blogpost about serging: dorothysgranddaughter.blogspot.com .

  15. Hi, I enjoyed reading how to purchase a serger. This is a very intimidating choice because there are so many and we don’t want to make a mistake an end up paying for it twice. Great advice and I did order my juki this evening . I heard so many good things about this brand also and purchased on so many good recommendations.. I know that may not be the right way to purchase a serger but it’s a work horse, so, I’m going with it. thank and one more thing. It is a bit hard to read through the grey and white. sorry.

  16. I don’t see the point of knocking craigslist.org. it is a buyer beware situation as are all transactions. BTW, i bought a WhiteSuperlock for $100 and a BabyLock Quest for $600 …both on craigslist.

    • Sorry I didn’t mean to bash craigslist. I just meant for someone buying a serger for the first time you want to go somewhere where you know that’s how it’s supposed to work. If you don’t already know what you want and what you’re buying even if they let you test it out with a craigslist buyer you might not catch something wrong AND most of them won’t do returns. For a first time serger buyer I just don’t think it’s worth the risk and not being able to compare different types.

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  1. […] – I have a whole long post about how much I love my sergers and how to buy a serger you will love and actually use too. But if you’ve never used one they are kinda like a […]

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