Thursday, October 31, 2013
New Toy To Play With
I made some t-shirts with my brand new toy, Brother 1034D, a serger.
For quite sometime now I'd been lusting for a serger because I love sewing with knits. I basically live in kntis, as in t-shirts, all the time. After reading some postings online I stopped by a local dealer and checked out some serger prices. As much as I feel it would be a smart thing to buy a decent one from the dealer, and the air jet self-threading of a Babylock sure was looking so good ($1000), I couldn't bring myself to swipe the credit card for $600, the cheapest model, Viking, they carry. I have to live within my means.
I read some wonderful reviews of Brother 1034D on Amazon and at Pattern Reviews. I felt I'd be OK with $169 after using my $20 giftcard towards the price tag of $189. It only took 2 days for the serger to arrive. The day it arrived, it was like Christmas for me. I ran down the stairs when Santa Claus, aka UPS, came with the box, and immediately set it up.
I love, love, love this baby. It was so much fun to play with it. The first time threading was slightly intimidating because I didn't have the dexterity of using a pliers to thread. But the diagram on the machine definitely was easy to follow. After few practices, I found the threading to be simple and straight forward. Sure, it took more time and steps than a sewing machine, but the diagram really visually guides you through the steps rather effortlessly. I sew up a t-shirt that day
The t-shirt was based on the pattern I drafted for basic t-shirt in my last mini-"collection". I added some free-form line details first by serger than sewn with sewing machines at the right side of fabric, and that was the only part I did with sewing machine. I didn't bother to mark lines on the shirt, I just followed the visualization I had in my head. It came out close enough, for me. I love sewing free form, very liberating after all the cutting and pinning that I try to do as precisely I as I could.
It was so much fun to play with the machine the next day I signed up for a Craftsy class on Beginning Serger when I had an offer sitting in my email inbox for $19.99 / one class. I'd never taken a single class in sewing, or knitting. I'm a complete self-taught in both, but I felt I could use some guidance with serging. I was very glad I did the class. The instructor, Amy Allen, was excellet at explaining things and obviously very knowledgeable on the topics. Her style of teaching is very clear, not rushed, but not tedious, a natural teacher if you ask me. I practiced some of the stitches covered in the classes. I even made the class project of bags for fun. I highly recommend the class for anyone who is new to a serger. When I made the third bag, I accidentally pulled the zipper completely off the track (I cut the zipper to the length I wanted.) I had to ask Paul to put it back in for me 'cause I just couldn't do it and was very frustrated after 3 minutes. He realized it was OK to put the zipper pull back in opposite direction and that worked, phew.
I ended up making a second t-shirt with the leftover fabric, in boat neck style. This time, entirely with the serger alone. I adapted my self-drafted pattern for t-shirt into boat-neck. Most of the body was easy. It did, however, took me few tries to get the neck band right. I ended up serged the neckbands to front and back separately first, then serged the shoulders together.
I am so happy with this purchase. So far it seems like a good machine for the price. It's made in Taiwan, my birthplace! I have to say, Taiwan nowadays builds very solid stuff. My Pfaff sewing machine, though it can be temperamental sometimes, cost me less than $200 about 20 years ago, it was never serviced and only been cleaned and oiled for the very first time few months ago, yet it still works, and it's also made in Taiwan.