1.23.2013

a serger's gentle reminder

Sewing....
I've made home dec window treatments, pillows, tablerunners, tableclothes, napkins;
I've sewn baby accessories, baby clothes, little girl's clothes, big girl's clothes, dresses, shorts, shirts and pj pants;  Easter dresses, Christmas dresses, Valentine's dresses, anything dresses for my girls when they were little;  (they are grown now)
I've sewn the cutest 'playing dress-up' clothes, if I do say so myself... colonial outfits complete with bonnets and hats, long, flowing white Egyptian dresses with gold lame'-like trim, 'possible bags' and Davy Crockett coon-skin hats..... *sigh*..... I loved homeschooling my girls.....
Okay, where was I....
oh yes, sewing.....
When my church I was attending at the time, found out I sewed, I became the Wardrobe person for our annual Easter children's play making ALL the outfits not only for the children but even an adult-sized furry purple cow-like-thing complete with a cow-head-shaped head covering.  I had to even special order the fabric for that.  Gee, what in the world was that play about?!!!
I've sewn quilted bookcovers, throws and bags;
I've even sewn my own maternity clothes a long, looooooooooong time ago;
But I've never sewn clothes for myself.  For just little 'ol me.
Why?  I have no idea, it just seemed everyone else's needs were put ahead of mine.
Not this year.  This year I am making my own clothes and loving it.

I actually enjoy sewing outfits and clothing and am blessed to have a serger that makes a beautiful finished seam.
Before I purchased my serger, I learned how to make french seams because the whole 'home-made clipped with pinking shears' bugged me.  I love my serger.  It's one of the best investments for a clothing seamstress and this one has a great feature in that with a simple turn of a dial, I can serge the stretchiest of knits and the seam is sewn smooth.

The first outfit I've chosen to sew for myself is a comfy outfit made of the softest pink knit fabric picked up from Wal-Mart for @$2.00/yard .... loungy pants and a loungy top to wear over a simple white knit top I already own.   What do you think?  It looks comfy and the pattern says 'EASY'.  A perfect project to begin.
I've got the whole pants-thing down to less than an hour now, so those were sewn up pretty quickly.  I even took a chance and made a few modifications to the pattern, and that even turned out fitting well.  With that, I was riding a high.  You know, where everything just seems to be coming together effortlessly.

In a short time, the top was cut out and at 12:00 midnight last night, no less, I was raring to go and knock that top out too.  Sewing clothing, is like riding a bicycle to me I thought, as I pinned the sleeve thinking how easy this is going to be, only serging one continuous seam up the side and down the the arm.  I remembered modifying patterns for my girls when they were little, as I used this technique when making their little tops and dresses with sleeves.  Gee, this would be done in no time.  I smiled.

Happily serging away.... I noticed one of my looper threads was getting low.  No problem, I thought, there's enough to get me through this seam then I'll change to a new spool of thread.  About that time, the thread was gone..... all gone.... and I wasn't through with my seam..... and it was my lower looper thread.... not one of the needle threads that are sooooooooo much easier to re-thread.  This was a bummer..... a big bummer..... at 12 o'clock midnight, no less.

Through the years, I've learned a re-threading short-cut with my serger and rarely have to re-thread from scratch as that is a BIG PAIN, but one can only use that technique BEFORE one runs COMPLETELY out of the thread.  I have now run completely out of thread, it's 12:00 midnight, it's a looper thread which means you have to re-thread ALL the other threads too.... in a very specific order....   *sigh*

Have you seen the inner workings of a serger?  Well, one gets real up-close-and-personal with it all when one has to re-thread all the threads.... like I had to do.... at midnight last night....
Aha, I thought, maybe this won't be too bad.... just snip the needle threads, leave the upper looper thread as it's the first one to be threaded anyway, thread my lower looper, (that's the one in red in the spiffy photo below that's printed on the inside of my machine), re-thread the needles and I'll be off and serging in a few minutes.   So that's what I did.  Yes!  Everything looked great... in the machine that is.
Hard to see in the photo below, but all those fuzzy loops are not right.  Oh, this will never do.  Back to the drawing board.
Okay, okay, looks like my idea was not working, so out come all the threads to begin threading from scratch.  I will not bore you completely with details....
 Still not right...
We're getting serious now, and it's getting on 1:00 am.... threads all snipped again, re-threading started from scratch (again!), the manual is now in hand....
Can you believe this!!!!   Again!!!! and again!!!!.... and again....  it's now 2:00 am.... I am tired.... dejected..... defeated by my serger..... my friend.... I go to bed.
Up early this morning, determined to figure out what I am doing wrong with the threading process of my serger, out comes my trusty Ott light on wheels that has a magnifying glass attached with a strong white light, thinking it would help me see my problem better.  Everything looks threaded perfectly, but my lower loops were still not serging right.  But wait.  Let's think a minute.  I've checked, double-checked, triple-checked, (you know what I mean by now!) anything having to do with the lower looper thread.  It's hard to tell in the pictures above of the fuzzy loops, but I noticed there didn't seem a wide-enough serged seam in place, almost like I was serging with 3 threads, not 4.  Maybe I needed to check one of my needles..... the outside needle.  Maybe I needed to check the tension.  Oh-be-still-my-heart, the thread was just loosely wound against it's tension dial, not 'pulled-in', as it should've been, for the machine to actually put tension on it..... to serge correctly...
And then I sewed this.  A perfectly serged seam on a sample of my soft pink knit..... at 8:00 am this morning.  Great Joy!
In a matter of minutes my top is almost done and this was a gentle reminder to maybe check the 'easier' solutions to a problem first the next time.  But..... if I didn't know my serger well before...... I know my serger VERY well now!!!

It is an absolutely, wonderful, glorious day, let me tell you!!!   And my serger and I are once again the best of friends.


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