And Now For Something Completely Different

Sorry to disappoint, but this is not about Monty Python. This is a story of how it came to pass that I no longer am a weaver. I now enjoy sewing. (But I still knit and crochet!)

As I discovered in a previous blog post, weaving wasn’t doing it for me. It was sad to sell my loom, but I just didn’t take to it like I had hoped.

My problem was that in order to warp the loom, I had to: (1) not be too tired to do it right; and (2) time it right so I wasn’t in front of the tv when hubby was watching it—we live in a one bedroom apartment, so space is kinda tight. It just didn’t seem to work out with timing for me to set up a properly done warp. Warping a loom is a huge part of weaving and that just sucked for me. Maybe it was too slow. Maybe it was because it took up space that I didn’t want to give it. Either way, just like learning to play the piano, I realized it wasn’t my craft to build upon. So I sold it to someone who wanted to give it a try. May it bring her many years of joy!

Of course, once one gives up a hobby, one must replace that hobby with something else. Plus, I had cash in hand from selling my loom, stand and all the various accessories!

That opened the door to a serger. What’s a serger? Also known as an overlock machine, a serger is a sewing machine that will sew a finished non-fraying edge or a flat seam (in addition to others) on pretty much any fabric-y item. A lot of clothes are made with sergers. You can tell from the stitching that looks like this:

Photo May 01, 1 14 44 PM

Sergers can use (depending on the machine) 2 to 8 spools of thread (no bobbins like a regular sewing machine) and cut off the edge just prior to sewing so it makes sewing faster, easier and, for me, much more fun than a regular sewing machine.

I started to look for one when I learned that sergers with differential feed it would make sewing with knits easier (apparently, it’s challenging to sew knits on a regular sewing machine due to the lack of this capability). Sergers also eliminate the need to trim a sewn edge, eliminates the fraying and also reduces bulk in whatever you’re creating. Sergers do intimidate some folks, and I knew this, so I took to the internet to see what I could find. I also took a Craftsy class, Beginner Serging with Amy Alan, and learned how easy it was to use one and what it could do.

My initial search brought up a Brother 1034D on Amazon. It had some very good reviews and was very reasonably priced. I kept this on my wishlist for future reference. I saw other models by other manufacturers: Janome, Babylock, Bernina, but those were pretty pricey. I told my coworker knitting friend, Dina (Skirler on Ravelry), that I was interested in one and she told me she highly recommended the Husqvarna. I thought that was out of my price range, but thanked her for the recommendation.

Since we had a couple of brick and mortar stores near home, I visited our local Bernina and Brother sewing stores to see what they sold there. The folks were really friendly and helpful. I was told the Brother 1034D was not sold at the Brother brick and mortar store because that particular model was sold online by big box stores. It’s inexpensive because the housing is plastic. The Brother store only sold metal housing machines. I gathered some model numbers of a couple of Bernina and Brother machines and head home to look them up on the internet.

But as I headed home, I thought I’d stop at JoAnn Fabrics because it was on the way and I knew they sold some sewing machines. JoAnn also sold the Brother 1034D (online only). I was in for a little surprise.

Apparently, JoAnn (at least in my part of the woods) leases space to the Husqvarna/Viking dealer so the sewing machines there are sold by the corporate dealer and this section of the store is not a part of JoAnn Fabrics. The salesperson told me there was a sale through the end of March and their least expensive machine was $100 off! Unfortunately, the floor model just sold that day, but they would be bringing another one from another area JoAnn store tomorrow. I asked her to put my name on it because I’d be interested in seeing it. She took my name and number. I hurried home to hit the internet to do research on the Husqvarna H|Class 200 S 2-4 thread overlock machine.

The Husqvarna website was nicely laid out and the web page for the model I was interested in included threading videos and a PDF of the manual. I checked those out while I ate dinner. Then I did the smartest thing ever. I searched YouTube for a video on this model and hit the jackpot!

Evidently, SewingMastery.com has a series of different videos for sewing machines and sergers. They did a 45-video YouTube tutorial on the Husqvarna H|Class 200 S from opening the box, threading, the various stitches, how to change the different feet on it and more! Here is the playlist on YouTube.

After I watched all 45 tutorial videos (and having the recommendation from someone I personally knew who was skilled at sewing), I was sold. So when the dealer called to tell me when the machine would be at my JoAnn store, I told them that I would take it—no demo necessary.

Next day, when I arrived to pick up the machine, I got another pleasant surprise—because the machine was used as a floor model from the other store, it was another $30 off! Woot! And she signed me up for the Husqvarna Viking Sew Savvy Savings card. By purchasing this machine today, I would have $10 in rewards money and $5 in birthday rewards money to use on a future purchase! It timed out just right that in two weeks, I’d have a birthday and would have another $5 in rewards cash! Double Woot! I purchased some serger thread before heading home to set it up on the buffet in the dining room.

Photo Mar 19, 3 37 23 PM

I unthreaded the sample thread from the machine and completely threaded it from scratch. I just needed a refresher from the SewingMastery.com tutorial video on threading and the Husqvarna animated video on threading to get it right the first time. It was so quick and easy!

So, what have I made with this handy-dandy machine?

Well, I created the inner casing for the fiberfill in my pumpkin floor pouf.

Felt backed table cloth with elastic — I added elastic to a felt-backed fabric remnant to protect our dining room table because I’ll be using it as a sewing table. My original intention wasn’t to include such a beautiful fabric, but it turned out quite formal and nice looking.

At first, I cut it too small, so I just cut out another round few inches out of the same fabric and attached it with the serger, then attached the elastic to the new edge with the serger. Worked like a charm!

Polyester table cloth with elastic — The fabric for the felt backed table cloth was a bit on the “lint collector” side, so I purchased another bit of remnant fabric, added elastic to it and now all the bits and pieces of thread and fabric fuzz will wipe off easily.

I originally added the elastic a bit too loose (didn’t tighten the screw up enough on the elastic foot) so it hung down. No problem! Because I cut the remnant fabric generously, I was able to just stitch on the new elastic while cutting off the old one at the same time! Made quite a huge mess, LOL!

Photo Apr 17, 3 50 35 PM

Striped Tote Bag — I also just made this tote bag to carry my work things in:

I learned how to make this after watching several YouTube videos, but utilized most of the techniques from Crafty Gemini’s Reusable Market Tote video on YouTube. I learned to do several techniques with this tote bag project: Boxing the bottom of the bag, making straps and turning them right side out with the serger chain, sewing tidy looking French seams, and pressing everything nicely. Granted, everything’s not absolutely perfect, but considering this was my first tote bag and I learned some new techniques with this heavy outdoor use fabric, I’m pretty happy with the end result!

The cool thing was that I purchased these remnants from Hancock Fabrics going-out-of-business sale and the elastic from Fabric Recycles, all for less than $30 total! (I am sad to lose our Hancock Fabrics, but learned the manager there is thinking of opening her own fabric store once this one closes.)

So, in my blog, I will continue to knit and crochet. But you’ll see some sewing projects as well!

Happy whatever-it-is-you’re-crafting!

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P.S. This is a link to sergers on Amazon in the event you’re interested in researching one for yourself! (It is an affiliate link that costs you nothing, but if you make any purchase by using this link, I’ll get a small referral commission from Amazon. So thank you for your help!)

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