Last Saturday I attended a serger workshop at my local Hancock Fabrics. I recently purchased a Husqvarna H Class 200S serger. Prior to this, I had never used a serger but I knew I wanted to learn because I primarily do garment sewing. The serger I purchased is the introductory model by Husqvarna. My newer sewing machine is also Husqvarna and I’m very pleased with it so I wanted to stick with their line of machines. Let me now share with you some basic tips I picked up at this workshop.
Threading Your Serger
When threading your serger you must thread the upper looper before you thread the lower looper. Apparently it doesn’t really matter what order you thread the needles, so long as you thread the loopers in the correct order. If you do it in this order, the lower looper thread should go on top of the upper looper thread. This will make sense as you actually thread your machine. When sewing, if your upper or lower looper threads break you have to unthread everything and start over because the threads must be threaded in a certain order.
The area where you have to actually thread your machine can look a bit intimidating.
Hopefully your machine comes with a straight forward diagram and is easy to follow. Now that I’ve practiced a few times I think I have the hang of it. Youtube is also a great resource for learning how to thread your machine.
To make threading the needles easier, you should cut the ends of your thread on the diagonal. This makes a sharper point on the end of the thread, thus making it easier to thread the needle eye.
Once your machine is threaded, all four threads should go under the presser foot and away from you toward 11 o’ clock.
Getting your machine’s tension set perfectly is difficult and you may often need to adjust tension depending on the type of fabric you are working with. When threading, make sure you “floss” your thread between the tension discs. On my machine, the tension discs are located here:
As the thread makes its way from the spools down toward the bottom of the machine, you want to make sure the thread gets positioned down into the slits where the tension dials are located. This may look totally different on your machine, but either way you want to make sure you “floss” your thread so that the tension can be correctly set.
A normal or default setting for tension is to set all dials to 4, as pictured above. Once you have your machine threaded properly, test on a scratch piece of fabric. Look at your seam. If your tension is set correctly, you should not see the upper and lower looper threads on the same side of the seam. It is suggested to use a different color thread for each spool when first learning how to thread and tension your machine. You may want to match your color thread with the diagram on your machine if it is color coded, like mine is. You will also know if your tension is set correctly if the loops meet perfectly at the top edge of the seam.
The stitch length dial on my machine is the one on the left set to 3.
Adjusting the stitch length determines how much space is between each loop. 3 is a normal setting. You can use “1” to make a decorative edge on a project in lieu of hemming.
The stitch width dial is to the left of my machine:
The normal setting is 6. You probably won’t ever adjust this setting much.
The differential feed knob is on the right positioned behind the stitch length knob. A normal setting is 1. If you set the knob to a higher number, your machine will scrunch up your fabric, creating a gathered effect. However, apparently this only works successfully on small sections of fabric. This also works well on light weight material and single layers at a time. I haven’t experimented with this much yet.
What other tips/suggestions do you have for beginner sergers?