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Oh Brother!

I don’t know how old Mom’s serger is but I do know that it is really old, old enough to have knob tensions and be extremely difficult to thread. I also know that it has been giving her fits for years. It has a hard time holding its tensions and the lower looper thread keeps breaking. She has had it in for repairs and service many times, but it just never seem to be fixed or to work correctly especially in the last several years. It was another phone call from Mom one week before Christmas, bemoaning that fact that Christmas was just one week away and that her serger would just not behave so she could get her Christmas sewing finished, that finally prompted me to push Mom again to get a new serger.

Years ago when mom’s serger started to act up, I tried to help her replace her serger. When I looked into the available sergers at that time, I found there were two types, the expensive ones, $2000 to $3000, with all the bells and whistles, and the cheap sergers, $200 to $300, with no features and that barely serged. What happened to a nice $500 to $1000 machine that had just a few features but still serged nicely? At the time, Mom was not sewing as much as she use to, so she did not want to spend a large amount of money on a new serger, so a Singer serger from Walmart was purchased.

Big mistake! The machine was horrible!

It rattled and vibrated and did not serge well at all! It was not long before mom had pushed that serger into the corner and went back to fighting with her old, original serger.

Over the years, I have kept an eye on the big expensive sergers, hoping that one might have that special feature that would make it worth the dollar amount it was demanding. But, I never found one that was worth the price. So, as mom complained about her serger, I did not know what to say. Now, I love my serger so I decided to try and help mom by finding a used serger like mine. After some time looking, I did not find a good used serger similar to mine, but I did find a lot of useful information about sergers.

It seemed that most of the newer more expensive sergers that were purchased were hated, with many owners regretting their purchase and they were trying to rid themselves of their new serger’s on eBay. Most said that because there were so many special features that the machine did not serge well or even perform the special features well. It was a bad case of featuritus. On the other hand, almost all the reviews for the cheap sergers could be summed up to one phrase – piece of crap. So once again, where were that middle of the line sergers?

This time though I found one of those great middle of the line serger’s, the Brother 3234DT. This serger had several great special features, but none that took away from it’s main function, serging.

I told Mom what I had learned and she decided to take a chance and to get one of these new Brother 4 thread with differential feed sergers. When it was unpacked and the owner manual read, I helped Mom thread the serger. It threaded very easily with color coded lay in threading, dial tensions, and even auto needle threaders. I then showed Mom the adjustable stitch length and width, and differential feed like my serger has. Mom was very excited about these features. But, Mom’s new serger had some special features that mine did not. One of these features is the auto needle threader. Another feature that this serger has is a free arm. The table portion of the serger can be removed and there is a free arm for serging cuffs and collars. Man, wouldn’t that be handy while sewing baby sleepers? An extended table also came with this serger. Once again the side is removed and replaced with an extended table that would come in very handy when serging heavy or large items. I was so excited about the extra features of this serger that I thought for a moment about replacing my serger with one of these, but then I decided that there was nothing wrong with my serger and it did not need replacing. (But, if and when my serger does need replacing, I know which serger I will look at first.)

Mom seemed very happy with her purchase. She has sewn a couple of things with her new serger so far and says it serged like a dream. No more nightmares from using that old serger. I am happy that she has a good working serger now and that she can enjoy sewing and serging once again. Plus, along the way I learned a lot about sergers that I did not know before.

So until next time, sew forth and serge on!

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The foam, it was puffy…

After much study and thought, it is time to cut into the into the purple and white floral knit print that has no singularity. I found a pattern in the closet for a child’s tab front shirt using the cut away tab method instead of the slit method and I am very excited to give it a try. This knit will make great shirts for little girls and I can see many different things embroidered on it.

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Knowing that the embroidery part of making these shirts would occur early in the construction, I started to look at designs and quickly picked several Snoopy designs to choose from.  But, as I thought about the white Snoopy’s on this purple floral print, I started to grow concerned that the purple floral print was going to show through and the last thing I wanted was the image of purple flowers hiding behind Snoopy’s smile. How could I hide the fabric underneath so I could embroider Snoopy’s on this fabric? After contemplating several choices, I decided to give puffy foam a try. I have only played with puffy foam once before without much luck, but I decided it was time to try and use it again.

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Now, I have two different types of Snoopy designs, Brother designs that use a running stitch around the edges of the Snoopy’s and Dakota designs that use a satin stitch around the edges. So, with this in mind, I felt that the Dakota designs would be best to use with the puffy foam to seal the edges of the design around the foam. I decided to give it a try on a towel first which I could use to make into a bib later.
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The puffy foam worked great. I hooped the towel as usual then I taped a piece of puffy foam in the center of the hoop and started stitching. After stitching everything but the outline, I removed the hoop from the machine and carefully trimmed the puffy foam away. I reinserted the hoop and finished the last color, the outline. It did take some extra time to embroider with the puffy foam but the process went smoothly.

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After finishing the design with the puffy foam, I embroidered the design again on another towel without puffy foam so I had a visual comparison to go by. There was not much difference in the designs once they were embroidered on the towels. Yes, the puffy foam one was puffier  and more 3d looking, but not that much. Was it because I was embroidering on a towel and the nap of the towel had not let the puffy foam look puffy? Then I thought about the differences in the Brother and Dakota designs, namely the stitch count. The Brother designs averaged 8000 to 10,000 stitches where as the Dakota designs ranged 20,000 to 30,000 stitches. Maybe that many stitches was pushing the puffy foam down and not allowing it to puff up as it was designed to do.
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Feeling that I had the technique of using puffy foam down, I did not want to spend any more time embroidering on towels, so I decided to embroider a Snoopy Brother design with puffy foam on the purple floral print fabric. I followed the same procedure as I did with the towel, and I embroidered all the colors except the outline,  then I cut away the puffy foam and then I embroidered the outline. It seemed to work great. The resulting design is puffier than the Dakota design on the towel, but the edges are not covered as completely as they are with the Dakota design. The puffy foam solved the show through problem very well though and I am pleased with the end results.
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The Brother design with the running stitch edge looks great but my concern is how will it hold up over time. Will the stitches become loose on the puffy foam? Will the design be ok after several washing and drying cycles on the puffy foam? I am anxious to get the shirts made and give them to a little girl so she can wear one for awhile and hopefully answer some of my last remaining questions regarding the use of puffy foam.

Digitizing your own Embroidery Designs Part 2

If you missed Part 1 of this Series, you can find it here.

Digitizing your own Embroidery Designs Part 2: Which Digitizing Software should I use?

(Updated: June 13th, 2015)

First let’s get a few things out of the way.

The software you use to digitize your designs probably isn’t going to be a very important decision for you.

At first glance this might come as a surprise. But the reason I say that is simple.

Most of the embroidery machine makers usually have their own in house software that is made by a third party company for them. They don’t make their own software in house. There are only 2 or 3 major embroidery software creation companies in the world that create this embroidery software for them so they will all pretty much work the same way and have most of the same features.

So no matter what brand of embroidery machine you have, you can usually use whatever digitizing software you like or that suits you best for the job at hand.

Now they will tell you that you have to use their software so that you have the proper hoop support or the right thread colors, etc. but that is all bunk.

They are just trying to lock you into their particular product so that you always have to purchase their support, their updates, their supplies, etc.

Don’t buy into their hype and sales pitch.

I’ve been using a different manufactures brand software than the one that made my embroidery machines for over 10 years now without any problems whatsoever so use what YOU want to, not what they want you to use.

I have always only owned Brother embroidery machines (for why read this previous blog post),  but I dislike their PE-DESIGN embroidery software that comes with their machines. It’s seems too simplistic to me, and it will not allow me to do some things I like to do, the way I like to do them, so I use Bernina’s Artista (Now called Bernina Designer Plus) software instead.

Why do I use this particular software rather than another?

Well for me, it was because I spent a lot of time at different sewing machine stores trying out everything they had in software (digitizing software) and hardware (embroidery machines) before I purchased anything.

What I found by doing this was that after using Bernina’s Artista, Brother’s PE-DESIGN, Husqvarna Viking’s 4D/5D, Janome’s Digitizer/Customizer, Pfaff’s Creative 4D/5D, Singer’s PSW (Professional Sew -Ware), and several others along the way, I just liked the way the Bernina Artista software worked the best.

More than anything it fit the way I seemed to want to work. So many of the embroidery software packages I tried just kept putting up road blocks and getting in my way. The Artista software never seems to get in my way, it let’s me get in and get what I need done, get out of it and get on with actually stitching out the design on my machine.

Most of the embroidery software comes in what they call modules. What that means is if you want to do resizing you have to load a single program to do just that. But then say you need to change the colors or maybe digitize something? Well that will require that you close the program you are in and load another one instead. And you have to continue to re-load the same design into the different modules over and over again.

That was a real pain in the keister!

The Viking and Pfaff software really suffer from this since the same company makes them both. I think they have something like 14 modules in all to let you use all of the different features they offer.

The Bernina Artista software has all of the modules built in to the same program and will allow you to switch modes by just clicking a button in the toolbar. Simple, reliable, and easy to learn.

Bernina’s software is created by the world leader in embroidery software Wilcom, who also makes their own commercial software called Wilcom Embroidery Studio (Wilcom ES) for the big embroidery houses to which they happily charge $5000.00 PLUS for a license to use it. I’ve used a demo of the Wilcom ES software and I can’t see anything I’m missing in my Bernina Software. Not for a personal home user anyway.

Now I am sure many will disagree with my choice of software and will say how much they love this one or that one because of this or that feature.

And I won’t disagree with them. I’m sure they love what they use.

I am just telling you why I use the software that I use. I’m not saying that it is better than one software or another, just that it works best for me and how I like to do things.

I should mention at this point that I am an Apple Mac user and that most of my embroidery software is used on my Mac using Virtual Machine software running Windows XP.

Unfortunately for us Mac users, there is very little native Mac compatible embroidery software available, and the Mac compatible software that is out there is VERY expensive and is only made for commercial embroidery designers.

There are a couple of bright spots on the horizon though.

A friend of mine, Matthias Arndt, in Germany has for the last few years, been creating a Mac compatible embroidery software capable of letting you resize, recolor, flip, convert designs between several different formats and much more. His software is called StitchBuddy. It still will not let you fully digitize designs but it may in the future. It is shareware and can be tried out for free before you need to purchase it at a cost of $50. I was a beta tester for the early versions and I think it is coming along fine. He seems to add new features to it a couple of times a year. He also makes a Quick Look plugin and a Spotlight Importer which he provides for free to let you view your embroidery designs and search for them in the Mac’s Finder. All very, very cool tools and they have decreased my need to start up Windows on my Mac far less than I previously needed too.

One other company called BriTon Leap has recently started converting their Windows embroidery tools to the Mac, but they are close to 3 times the cost of Matthias’s Mac tools. Still they are much less expensive than something like PE-DESIGN or Bernina Artista, etc. They make a Quick Look Plugin called Embrilliance Thumbnailer, a design converter called Convert it, mac, and what seems to be the first steps of a full blown Mac compatible digitizer called Embrilliance Essentials.

BriTon Leap also has a new product called StitchArtist which runs on the Mac and will let you do more complete digitizing than their Essentials product will. I have not reviewed this product yet, but once I do I will add my thoughts on it here.

They also have a demo that you can download to try out their software before you have to pay for it. Clicking on any of the links above will take you directly to their respective websites for more information on their products. I wish I could say I was making money by linking to them here, but I’m not. I’m just trying to help out some friends I believe in and pass the word to other Mac users.

Ever since the smartphone (iPhone and Android)  and tablet revolution (iPad and Android) of a few years back, there have been several new tools released to help you digitize and convert designs on your smart phone or tablet. Both Matthias Arndt with his StitchBuddy HD and BriTon Leaps AirStitch app’s look interesting. I am currently trying out several of these new app’s and I will report back here and in a new post reviewing those tools specifically at a later date.

Stay tuned for part 3 of this series where I will take you step by step through a typical (for me anyway) digitizing session where I take the touched up artwork I created in part 1 and convert it to a fully useable, stitchable design.

If you missed Part 1 of this Series, you can find it here. Part 3 of the Series is here.

My Sewing Machines – Part 2: The Embroidery Machines

Just in case you missed the first installment of this post:

My Sewing Machines – Part 1: The Beginning you can click anywhere on this to go back and read it first.

My Sewing Machines – Part 2: The Embroidery Machines

(Updated: June 13th, 2105)

My first embroidery machine:

I watched the evolution of the electronic embroidery machine with close attention for several years before I finally bought one. I was always stopping by my local sewing machine stores to see what all the different manufacturers of embroidery machines were up to, and what great new features they had been adding. And of course asking for demos of these wonderful new machines to see what they could do first hand. Embroidery machine technology has moved forward at a very rapid pace since the 1990’s. They haven’t advanced quite as fast as computers have advanced since that time but it’s close, since the computer control of the machines motors, steppers, cutters, and the robotic embroidery arm were the most important parts of the embroidery machines.

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My first embroidery machine was a Brother PE-200 Snoopy Design machine.

Brand new it was $1500, but I got it used for about $800 with shipping and I just loved it. I could have gotten the PE-150 or PE-180 models for less money but it wouldn’t have had the Snoopy designs in it and at the time, that was important to me. It had about 24 Snoopy and Peanuts designs and about 24 other designs built into the machine.

All of the designs were 4″x4″ (4 inches square) or under in size.

At the time that was the largest design that any embroidery machine could create in one field without using special hoops and tricks. It is comparable in 2009 to the Brother PE-750D Disney machine. Because it was an embroidery only machine, you had to have a separate sewing machine if you wanted to sew something once you had done your embroidery with it.

The problem with this machine and other smaller less expensive embroidery machines that you might purchase is the small number of built in designs they have and the high cost of purchasing more designs.

To stitch designs other than those that are built into the machine, you needed to purchase designs on design or memory cards that could be read by the machine directly for somewhere between $50-$150 each for 10-15 designs per card, or if you wanted to download designs from the internet or take some off a cd or design your own, you had to have a card reader/writer and a blank writable memory card to get the designs from the computer or cd onto the card and then to the machine. To get the box you had to purchase the very expensive software that went with it for another $500, which you needed anyway to digitize or resize your own designs. Luckily for us home embroiderers, things have gotten better, easier and less expensive. Besides putting out all the money for the equipment, you still have to figure out how use it all. Thank heavens for my husband and his skills on the computer because he did all of this hard part for me. He tried on more than one occasion to show me how to create and transfer the designs myself to those fiddly memory cards, but I just could not get it. So when I needed something new he was kind enough to put it on a card for me and all I had to do was stitch it out.

It did not take very long before I had outgrown this machines abilities.

It became apparent to me early on that as long as your design had only 3 to 5 colors like Snoopy or Mickey Mouse you would be ok with the 5″x1.5″ inch monochrome screen, but after purchasing a teddy bear card where each design had 15 to 20 colors per design, it became very difficult to figure out just what color I needed and which part of the design was going to be stitching next. So, with all the knowledge I now had about embroidery machines and knowing a little more about what I wanted in a machine, my search for a new machine began.

My second embroidery machine:

After much research and debate, especially on my husband’s part, I became the proud owner of a Brother Ultimate 2001 on Christmas Day 2002. Wow! This was such an upgrade from what I had that I was overwhelmed with everything it could do! This machine is a combo machine, and could do both embroidery and sewing just by removing the embroidery arm, so that was the end of my original little Brother sewing machine. It was moved to the attic for storage just in case.

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From an embroiders point of view, it exceeded the little Snoopy machine at every turn.

It had a large color touchscreen display making it easy to decipher a design with 15 to 20 colors or more. Designs were easy to load from a computer to the machine by using a normal 3.5″ floppy disk which I even finally learned to do myself. You could also still use your older design cards from the older Brother machines if you wanted. Designs could even be edited and resized directly on the machine using the touchscreen, something the Snoopy machine could not do, and don’t forget the much larger hoop size it offered. The larger hoop now allowed for designs up to 6×10 inches in size to be stitched all at once in one hoop.

From a sewing point of view, the machine was wonderful to use as well.

It had a top loading bobbin and a sensor to tell you when the bobbin was getting low. It had many built in stitches and a ton of other features that my little Brother did not have.

I was in heaven and it changed my sewing quality and quantity dramatically.

Previous to owning this machine, my sewing always involved a fight between me and the machine. With this new machine, the fights were less and when they did happen they were less severe. This is when I truly began to enjoy sewing. Life was good but then the Brother Innovis 4000D came out and replaced the Ultimate 2001/2002 model.

My third (and still currently in use) embroidery machine:

Although I loved and still do love my Ult-2001 machine, the Innovis 4000D offered many new embroidery features that I wanted. When I purchased the 4000D in 2004 I paid  just under $5000 for it. This was quite a deal at the time as they were selling in the shops for somewhere between $7500-$9000 depending on what accessories that you got with it.

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Since the 4000D is also a combo embroidery and sewing machine, it was meant to replace the Ult-2001. But that didn’t happen, and I’ll tell you why a little later in the story.

From an embroidery stand point the 4000D did surpass the Ult-2001 with great new time saving features like auto threading of the needle, auto cutting and knotting of jump stitches, and a faster stitching speed. It also had better precision in the stitched designs and a better bobbin sensor with a larger bobbin. A larger mega hoop was also included which let me now stitch designs as large as 7×12 inches in size and it had a larger/brighter touchscreen which was nice on my aging eyes. Loading a design into the 4000D machine is now done using a USB memory stick thumb drive or a normal SD memory card, which are very inexpensive and available everywhere unlike the older brother memory cards which required a special reader/writer and were very expensive to purchase.

Although it will still take the older 3.5″ floppy or brother memory design cards if you wish to use them.

You can also load designs directly from a CD-ROM drive plugged into the machine. My 16 gigabyte USB memory stick will hold thousands of designs and you can file them into folders to find them easier, plus it is fairly easy to load the designs on to the stick from a computer. The new PE-Design digitizing software for the 4000D had improved in several places as well so I decided to pick it up too. The cost to upgrade the design software from my old version which I got with my Ult-2001 machine to the new version was $500. If you were not eligible to upgrade it was $2500 to purchase it new.

From a sewing stand point, the Innovis 4000D slipped a little in my opinion.

The biggest issue I had with it as a sewing machine was the manual threading of the machine when you wanted to use a double needle. This is due to the new auto threader. A feature that added to the embroidery part really took away from the sewing part. Without  having the cover stitch feature on my serger, sewing with a double needle is important to me in the construction of my husband’s shirts and other knit projects that I make. I just do not prefer to sew on the Innovis. Lucky for me, the Ult-2001’s were not selling well used since everyone was trying to get rid of theirs to purchase the new 4000D machine, so my husband decided that I could just keep both machines, one to do embroidery with and one to sew with. And this worked out way better than I ever thought it would!

Life is good once again. Really good in fact!

I now have a serger that I have loved for years and is still going strong, a sewing machine with fabulous features that does exactly what I want, and a very fancy embroidery machine that does everything I want it to do as well. And if I ever needed or wanted to I could use either machine to sew and/or embroider with at the same time! It hasn’t happened yet, but in case one of them needed to go to the shop for repairs, I always have a backup machine. Over the last couple of years, Brother has introduced a few new embroidery machines but their features have not enticed me to purchase one over what I already have. I must admit though that the built in camera above the needle so you see a zoomed in view of what you are stitching on the touchscreen is a cool feature in the new 6000D, but not worth me coughing up another $7500+ for it. I also had a demo of the new Viking Designer machine that has a 15×14 inch hoop. That’s BIG! Now keep in mind it does this by using a special hoop and tricks like making you sew half the project and then flip it around and then sew the second half. In my mind I can do that on my machine too by using my current 12″ hoop without having to go through the hoops and using the tricks. So in conclusion: As you can see, I really like the Brother embroidery machines. I have tried and read and researched the pros and cons of all the other brands through the years and I like the Brother’s as they seem to have the features that I want and need.

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Keep in mind here that I am not a quilter, and if I was I might have chosen a different brand of machine like the Viking #1 which was a beautiful sewing and quilting machine, but I never felt like it had the embroidery capabilities of the Brother’s. Today looking at the quilting features of the new Brother Innovis 6000D Quattro I think I would still choose the Brother even if I was a quilter, but I probably wouldn’t have 10 or 15  years ago as several other brands of embroidery machines back then had better quilting features than the Brother’s of their day did. Now as you are deciding to purchase an embroidery machine for yourself, you need to decide what you’re going to do with it.

Here are some great questions to get started in your journey:

Would you be limited by the features of the smaller less expensive machines? Will you be quilting more than sewing? Do you just want to try this as it might be a passing thing for you and a little machine will work just fine as a starter machine? Or, are you in this for the long haul and a larger fancier machine would be money better spent? One note I would like to make here is that if you don’t require the support of a dealer for help and classes you can do some digging on the internet and ebay and get a new or nearly new embroidery machine for thousands of dollars off of the retail (dealer) price.

They will still have the remainder of the factory warranty on them too which any dealer will usually honor.

I personally have never lived close enough to any dealer for support so I have always searched out a deal to purchase my machines rather than purchasing them from a local dealer with support included.

Coming up next week: Part 3 and the Art of Embroidery.

My Sewing Machines – Part 1: The Beginning

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My Sewing Machines – Part 1: The Beginning

(Updated: June 13th, 2105)

Someone asked in one of my previous posts comments what equipment I was using was in my sewing studio.

I thought about this question for awhile and I decided that it would be better to delve into this question a little deeper and not only answer the question of what I currently use but why I currently use it.

It will also give a good overview for anyone considering purchasing their own embroidery machine and the many joys, pitfalls, and costs of ownership of this type of equipment.

This information will be broken into several parts and posted over the next several weeks. It is a lot of information to get typed up and will be a lot of information for the reader to digest.

I hope it is helpful to some of my readers.

This will probably be more information than you wanted to know, but as long as I’m telling the story, I thought the beginning was a good place to start.

My mother taught me to sew starting at age 8 through a series of 4-H projects. If you don’t know what 4-H is you can check it out here.

As a young kid with very little interest in sewing, it was no fun and I struggled through the projects.

As I was doing the projects I thought to myself, my mom is an excellent seamstress, so why did I have to learn? Couldn’t she just sew it for me?

I also knew that I was going to be a professional career woman when I got older and of course, I would never have to sew for myself. I would be able to pay someone to do that for me.

It sounds like famous last words doesn’t it?

Oh how young, silly and naive I was!

Every year before the new school year started, my mom would sit us down with the pattern book and we would pick out a school wardrobe for that year and she would start sewing them for us. Mom would do her best to try and get us involved in this sewing, but it was easier to say, “No Mom, you just do it and I will fix dinner”, or I’ll do the laundry or whatever else so I didn’t have to sew anything myself.

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As strange as it may sound, it was my first trip to a big and tall store that got me into sewing. 

My husband and I had just married and we were going to college, poorer than church mice, and he needed some dress shirts for work. I did not even have a sewing machine at the time or really know what to do with one, but after laying out that kind of money for a few of his dress shirts, I decided I wanted, no make that NEEDED to be a seamstress and soon!

My husband purchased me my first sewing machine as a Christmas gift that year. It was not the smallest Brother sewing machine they made at the time, but it was the next step up from the bottom of the line model and I was so excited to get it!

A few days later my mother in law called and said she was getting rid of her serger and her sewing box and asked if I would like them.

Yes!

The serger she gave me at the time was just a three spool, but any thing was better than what I had which was nothing. Sergers also cost a lot more than a sewing machines did at the time so I was very grateful to have one.

Her sewing box was filled with many notions, pins, needles, bias tape, buttons, etc. so I was on my way.

At the time all of my sewing equipment was stored in the living room coat closet of our tiny apartment but I made do with what I had.99cents

The next big help for me in my sewing endeavors was a part time job I got at a fabric store. I got the job just for the extra money, telling them that my sewing skills were not very good, but they hired me anyway. I loved the job and enjoyed cutting fabric all day and talking to the customers about what they were going to make with their purchases. The other ladies that I worked with at the store were all so helpful and gave me great sewing advice as we worked together.

The store had inexpensive fabric at $2 a yard or less and the employees got a discount on everything and thus became the start of my fabric stash. The store also gave free fabric and notions to their employees to make fun projects for the store to display.

After being displayed in the store for 30 days, the display projects were yours to take home and keep. I made all kinds of fun stuff for the store displays that I would have never spent my own money on.

Once our schooling ended and we started our full time jobs we moved to a bigger apartment. With that my sewing equipment was moved to a larger closet in the spare bedroom. My ingenious husband got me a folding table that looked like an ironing board that fit in the closet. With my sewing machine on one side and the serger on the other, plus shelves on the side, my first sewing room was born.

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While out Christmas shopping one day, we saw a demo of the Viking Huskylock 1001L sergers from Husqvarna and I was in love with the 4th and 5th spools, differential feed, auto thread tensioning, and all the other great new features it had over my old 3 spool model. After listening to the lady’s sales pitch, we told her we would love one but just could not afford the machine at it’s current cost of just under $3000.

She told us if I did not mind a used one, that after the demo was over, she was instructed to sell the demo models at a discount, and would sell me one for less than the regular price. I was thrilled at this and agreed to purchase the demo model for just under $2000 with very little use on it. And it is the same serger that I am still using today.

Over the years, I have looked at the new models of sergers as they came out and debated about an upgrade, but decided against it since the only feature that I would gain that I might use is the cover lock stitch.

Serger and sewing machine technologies don’t seem to move very quickly forward as it turns out.

Speaking of sergers there are two types of sergers you can purchase.

There is the $200 kind at discount store like Wal-Mart or the $1500+ kind at a sewing machine shop. If you are a casual sewer the $200 models will probably work for you for occasional use, but if you are serious about sewing your money will be better spent on getting the more expensive models as they are built better, work better and will last you for a much longer time.

My Viking serger I mentioned above it over 20 years old now and I haven’t had a single problem with it in all those years.

I continued to use my little Brother sewing machine to sew curtains, sleepers, pants, shirts, bedspreads, comforters, etc. for many years until the arrival of the combo sewing and embroidery machines.

Stay Tuned for next weeks post: My Sewing Machines – Part 2: The Embroidery Machines

My Sewing Room and Me


Hi! My name is Lanita and I just love to sew.

Sewing is just a hobby for me, no professional sewing here. I have three machines. I have a Brother ULT 2001 that I use for my sewing machine, and a Brother Innov-is 4000D that I use for my embroidery machine. Both machines are usable as sewing and embroidery machines, but each has features that I like better for either sewing or embroidering. My third machine is my serger, a Viking Huskylock 1001L. It is an older serger, but it does a great job, so I have seen no need to upgrade.

My sewing table is new, and I am totally enjoying it. I got the cabinets and counter top from Home Depot. My custom made table was a little expensive, but it was still less expensive than the manufactured sewing tables that come in sizes and shapes that you cannot choose.

My machines are protected by Norbit, the sock monster. He keeps the dust bunnies away.