Master Your Serger with Tote-Making Class

Master Your Serger with Tote-Making Class

Sewing Machines Plus in San Marcos, CA has the perfect class to help you master your serger, use your fabric stash & walk away with a fabulous tote bag!

Sewing Machines Plus in San Marcos, CA has the perfect class to help you master your serger, use your fabric stash & walk away with a fabulous tote bag!

If you’ve been using your serger machine for a while now, you’ve probably mastered many of the basics. And if you’re like me, you’re completely in love with your serger! But you’ve probably also noticed there are a lot of features you’ve never used. Some of them you may not need, but wouldn’t it be cool to at least know a few of them? I think so too.

Sewing Machines Plus in San Marcos, CA has the perfect class to help you master your serger, use your fabric stash and walk away with a fabulous tote bag!

Serger Class Details

This class is 2-hours a day for three consecutive Wednesdays in May. May 17, 24 and 31 from 3:30 – 5:30. You’ll need to bring you serger including the power cord, foot pedal and cord. You’ll also need a variety of serger feet, including standard, cording, lace applicator, cover and chain, ruffler, elastic and clear. If you don’t have all of these serger feet, don’t worry, you can buy them at SMP before class.

Don’t forget the fabric! You’ll need at least 7 coordinating fat quarters or scraps and one yard of Soft and Stable.  To go along with the fabric, you’ll also need to bring thread, zipper, buttons, piping and cording. Full class supply list and registration instructions available here. It’s a fun, affordable way to learn the ins and outs of your serger, connect with other stitch aficionados and make an adorable tote bag project.

When your serger tote bag is done, it’ll be great for you or as a gift for a graduating student. Plus, you’ll have a much greater understanding of your serger machine and all its features and accessories.

Are there other classes you’d like to see offered? Let us know! We’ll do our best to accommodate and provide classes of interest.

Overlocker / Serger Vs Coverstitch Machine -- What's the Difference?

Overlocker/ Serger Vs Coverstitch Machine — What’s the Difference?

Overlocker/ Serger Vs Coverstitch Machine -- What's the Difference?

Overlocker/ Serger Vs Coverstitch Machine — What’s the Difference?

Serger vs. Coverstitch Machine — Do you need both?

What is the difference between a serger, an overlocker, and a cover stitch machine?

Serger vs Coverstitch: The Serger / Overlocking Machine

A serger and an overlocker are different names for the same machine. Americans generally refer to these as sergers, and nearly everyone else refers to them as overlockers. A serger performs an overlocking stitch, which is really more like knitting than sewing.

Overlocking, or serging, trims and binds seams so that the fabric can not unravel. It professionally finishes the insides of garments. There are rare occasions when one might use a serger to embellish outside seams or to finish hems, such as with rolled hemming, but in general the serger or overlocker is used in construction rather than finishing.

The serger is quite a different machine than a sewing machine, and requires threading of three or four pathways, including two loopers. These loopers accomplish the knitting involved in the overlock stitch. A serger also has knives, which cut seam allowances as it serges them. This machine does not replace the sewing machine, but works beside it accomplishing tasks no sewing machine can do.

The Janome 634D is my choice recommendation for the serger to buy. Here is my review of this model.

Serger vs Coverstitch: The Coverstitch Machine

A coverstitcher really takes all the trouble and error out of this otherwise tricky task.

The coverstitch machine is the star of the machine line-up for finishing tasks. A coverstitch machine beautifully finishes hems on most types of garments, especially knits. Many would-be seamstresses shy away from sewing knit garments because sewing stretchy fabrics using a sewing machine alone is decidedly tricky. While a serger is certainly helpful (some would say essential) in sewing with knits, nothing is as helpful for working with knits as a coverstitch machine. These sweeties allow knits to be turned and hemmed beautifully and quickly, with a stretchy seam that will not break.

For me, hems are perhaps the most difficult task in garment sewing, but the only reason I feel this way is because my machine arsenal has not previously included a coverstitch machine. A coverstitcher really takes all the trouble and error out of this otherwise tricky task. And speaking of tricky tasks, a coverstitch machine can also attach lace, elastic, or other trim to any garment in a hurry, again with a stretchable seam that will not break. It can even take the trouble out of attaching bindings.

When looking at the serger vs coverstitch machine, a coverstitch machine looks more like a sewing machine than a serger does. And a coverstitch machine is similarly uncomplicated. A coverstitcher only has one looper, and it doesn’t have any knives. This makes the threading of a coverstitch machine straightforward and easy to do. You may leave the coverstitch machine threaded and waiting to perform its hemming whenever you need it. I love the simplicity of a machine that can sit patiently waiting to perform its job beautifully and quickly. Having a coverstitch machine waiting to hem garments means you will actually make garments, rather than being daunted by the trouble of hems!

Coverstitch Machines: Simple yet Versatile

A coverstitching machine is versatile, despite its simplicity. With most, you can use one, two, or three needles. There are also a couple of different configurations that you can use with two needles, to make narrow or wide rows of hem stitches. A single needle can be used to knit the chainstitch, which is a beautiful stretchy seam. A chainstitch can be used for both utility and decorative effects.

I recommend the Janome 1000CPX CoverPro as the best coverstitcher to buy. As I have said before, I really trust Janome. I prefer this brand as being the best value for user-friendly, high-quality machines.

You can begin using your coverstitch machine immediately, and use it often, without ever needing to buy attachments or extra feet. However, you can get the most from your coverstitcher and do lots of things with different attachments.  A clear foot is nice to have. You can get a binder attachment which will neatly attach binding to most any project. You can also buy cording and gathering feet, a pintucking bar, a feller, belt looping folder, and more. None of these are necessary, although you will really appreciate having a clear foot.

Serger vs Coverstitch: Combo Models

One choice when thinking about the serger vs. coverstitch machine is to buy one machine to perform both functions. For folks without the room for multiple machines, there are combination models that will perform both overlocking and coverstitching.  This may be a sensible choice for you, rather than buying two machines.

I recommend this choice only for someone with quite limited space or budget; my preference is to have separate serger and coverstitch machines if possible. That’s because it is more expedient to have each machine set up and ready to do its job. Then you can just move back and forth quickly between the two machines as you need each. This is easier than having to reconfigure a complicated serger when moving back and forth between tasks. I’m told it really only takes a moment and is an easy chore to do, however. I know many sewists love their combo serger/ coverstitch machine and use it regularly for both tasks.

A combo model is a good budget choice for people who want to make garments and need both overlock and coverstitch capability, without spending a lot of money.

Be aware that this choice is a compromise. A serger with coverstitching capability won’t have a free arm. This feature makes a separate coverstitch machine a useful joy for hemming. Nor can combo machines perform as perfect an overlock or coverstitch as separate machines will. To get the best of both worlds, buying a separate serger and coverstitch machine is the way to go.

Serger vs Coverstitch: You Need Both!

So now you know that it is not a question of which machine to choose, serger vs. coverstitch machine. To beautifully and professionally produce and finish quality garments, you need both. You can choose to satisfy this need with a complicated serger that performs both functions. Or you can satisfy both needs with a separate serger and coverstitch machine. Either way, upgrade your machine arsenal and uplevel your sewing by including overlock / serging and coverstitch capabilities to your lineup. You and your wardrobe will be glad that you did!

Overlocker / Serger Vs Coverstitch Machine — You want both!

Janome 634D Serger Review

Janome 634D Serger Review

Why should you buy a Janome 634D serger? A serger is the one tool that can quickly boost your sewing to pro level, and the Janome 634D serger is my choice for the serger to buy. Janome has earned my loyalty with their always well-designed machines; I know I can trust this brand to provide high performance and quality. Janome packs all their machines with user friendly features, and the 634D is no exception:

Janome 634D features

  • 1 or 2 needle serging
  • Serge with 2, 3, or 4 threads
  • Lay-in threading
  • Automatic threader for lower looper
  • Retractable cutting blade
  • Easy switch between serging and rolled hemming
  • Adjustable stitch length
  • Variable differential feed: from 0.5 to 2.25
  • Cutting width adjusts from 2.0 to 5.7 mm
  • Spool pins, caps, and nets for greater thread choice
  • High presser foot clearance
  • Snap-on presser feet
  • Thread cutter
  • Seam guide
  • Waste catcher
  • Accessory box
  • 2 access doors
  • Convenient carry handle

While this impressive list of features is enough to convince anyone that the Janome 634D is an excellent value, choice machine, there is more to it than this.

Janome 634D is fast, quiet, compact and smooth

Janome 634D Serger Review

Janome 634D Serger Review

This sweet baby sews 1,300 stitches per minute, which means you can get a lot more done in a fraction of the time. For comparison, most regular sewing machines sew between 700-900 stitches per minute. It sews quickly but quietly, and makes much less noise than many other sergers.

Though the 634D is equipped with a strong motor, its housing is compact for easy portability. Measuring just 16x16x16 inches, it easily fits a small table and is not a monster to move. It weighs in at less than 21lbs, so it won’t hurt your back to carry it with the convenient, built-in handle.

That strong motor serges smoothly. My first Janome serger was a more economy model, and while it works well, I had to place a thick rubber pad underneath it to prevent it from jiggling all over the table. No mat is needed with this Janome, however; the 634D is a smooth operator.

I would describe the motor on the economy Janome machines as being like a Honda Civic; they are dependable and sturdy and a great and affordable way to get you where you want to go. In contrast, the Janome 634D “drives” more like an Acura, with more power, speed, and a smoother ride.

The Janome 634D offers more options

This machine offers almost endless options for serging. It can do a 2 thread stitch, whereas lesser models need at least 3 threads.  The Janome 634D can use from 2, 3, or 4 threads. It can also use either 1 or 2 needles. The cutting width is highly adjustable, offering a wide range of possible options. You can even disengage the cutting blade entirely and serge without cutting at all.

The Janome 634D can also further save on thread, because it comes standard with 4 spool caps and nets, allowing you to use regular spools of thread as an alternative to larger serger cones.  The spool pins will  accommodate the serger cones, too, of course; you can use either type of thread with this serger.

The Janome 634D is especially easy to use

Other makes of serger require you to change plates when switching between conventional sergering and rolled hemming. It is common to move back and forth between these two options, and Janome makes this much easier to do. Instead of having to switch out plates, you simply move a switch to change between serging and rolled hemming. The presser feet are easy to change, too; they simply snap on and off, with no trouble at all.

This serger also has automatic threading for the lower looper. It takes a lot of patience and attention to thread the loopers on other machines, but threading the Janome 634D couldn’t be easier. There are clear diagrams printed right on the inside of the machine for ease in threading the guides. And instead of praying for patience to thread a tricky lower looper, you just push a button and  it is magically threaded for you!

Another thing that I really appreciate about the Janome 634D is it that it is neater and easier to clean than other models. It has a handy waste-catching tray built in, so your sewing room floor will not be littered with thread tails and the trimmings your serger cuts from your seams and projects. Furthermore, it includes 2 doors, one on the front and one on the side, which more easily enables thorough cleaning.

Buy yours now

This machine could quickly take you from home sewist to professional seamstress. You need this reliable workhorse machine and now is a great time to buy it, since it is on sale at a great price. Quit wishing for one and go ahead and order yours now!