Learn From My Fail: Sergers

By Rusty Needle

So I got a serger a couple years ago. It was on mega sale so I ended up paying like $150 for it (I think it was around $250 originally..but when I saw it at Walmart BAM it was 150 FULL PRICE! DAMN YOU JOANNS!!!…anyway….). It was the Singer newbie serger special. It worked for one. solitary.project. And working with it was like….


ARE WE DOING THIS AGAIN!? You gonna unthread yourself? You gonna EAT THE FABRIC OH NO YOU DINNT!

Threading it was totally like…


How many sets of tweezers and spot lights do we need?! This isn’t brain surgery..ok maybe it is.

And when it started making horrifying banging noises and rattled off the table despite multiple people trying to fix it including Record Needle “the serger whisperer”….I was all..


So I took it to the machine shop  in the hills for the machine people to look at it. I also brought my 1910 singer for a tune up. The nice older lady behind the counter was happy to see my old cast iron machine but I got read for filth when I took the Serger From Hell (SFH from now on…) out of the bag. “Uh…ok…so your first problem is  you get what you pay for.” “How much are cosplayer tears worth? “Not much” *adjusts glasses* so want me to….fix it? Seriously?” “Could you try?” “Sweet heart…”


Don’t make me demonstrate my latest fabric shears. They cut leather too…

After a five minute lecture about how you pay for quality and that the cost of even looking at the SFH was more than buying another cheap price of shit (which when I asked about that she started to have a small seizure I think..) the end decree was as such: They’d look at the SFH for the basic tune up fee and if it cost more than that to fix it they would call me to see if I wanted them to continue and offer a price. If they can’t fix it cheap then hopefully they can fix mom’s old metal Babylock from the 90s for cheap or I can save up for another one. However..I can do pretty much everything a serger can, even on stretch fabric, with my cheap ass brother so it’s not a big deal for me. Aside from sergers are evil, here’s what you can take away from my serious fail:

  1. You get what you pay for; if a serger is less than 300$ you’re going to have  a problem with long term use. They use plastic parts, this is bad for a machine this picky.
  2. You don’t NEED ONE! You can pink it, french it, double fold it, hong kong it, stretch seam it 1970s style you name it. You don’t need a serger and just having one doesn’t instantly make your costumes 1000% better. It makes you a shit ton broker tho.
  3. Make friends with the repair shop. She could have just taken my money and run with it but I have an understanding with her and they’ve saved me from bad buys before
  4. Take your item in long before you need it: in this part of PA the SCA is hard core and so machine shops are busy as hell touching up all the vintage machines before Pensic sewing marathons. In the north hills turn arounds for easy things are about 3 weeks. Don’t take your machine to the shop the week before the con and expect it to be fixed right away
  5. Cleaning and oiling sergers is a daily thing, don’t and suffer the fail
  6. Serger making a weird noise? Don’t try and power through it, get that foot off the pedal right now and take it in.
 Category: Sewng

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