Tag Archive | expensive

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!

Hidden Button Joints on a Cool Cat

P1040187Since I have recently taken a fancy with button joints, I found this amigurumi cat pattern that called for the use of button joints but with a variation. Instead of showcasing the button and using large fancy expensive buttons to accent the amigurumi, these buttons are hidden inside the amigurumi, so you only need small flat inexpensive buttons to complete this amigurumi’s joints.

P1030778The construction of this cat started out with the crocheting of its parts. The crocheting was simple and fun. This cat pattern is similar to the monkey pattern I had previously made so I was familiar with how it was made. I stuffed the arms and legs as I crocheted them. The pattern called for the eyes and nose to be crocheted pieces and then the mouth would be embroidered to the head. Because the eyes and nose are crocheted pieces, I prefer to stitch them to the head after stuffing the head. Of course, if I was using safety eyes, I would have inserted them before stuffing the head. So, after stuffing the head, I placed the eyes and nose on the head to stitch them on P1030766and screamed in terror. This was the most scary face I have ever seen on an amigurumi before! I read the pattern again to make sure that I had made the eyes and nose correctly. And I studied the pictures that the pattern came with, but I could in no way get my cat’s face to be the adorable face on the cat in the pictures of the pattern. Not wanting to use this terrifying face, I turned to other amigurumi patterns for ideas. Remembering back to when I had first started making amigurumi’s and some of the techniques I had learned, I decided to embroidery the nose and mouth on to a piece of felt. I had purchased some P1030769safety cat eyes many years ago, knowing that some day I would make a cat and this was that day. So, I first unstuffed the head so that I could attach the safety eyes backs and then stitch the felt piece to the head. I dislike stuffing in the first place but to have to un-stuff only to have to re-stuff the head again was agonizing for me, but I could not finish this cat with it’s original horrifying face. I unstuffed the head, attached the eyes, stitched on the felt embroidered nose and mouth and then I re-stuffed the head. Now, with the head and cute face completed, I could continue on to the next part of this amigurumi, the hidden button joints.

P1030770The arms and legs were crocheted with two small patches at the top of each piece. When sewing the arms and legs on, one button was placed in between the patches and one button was placed inside the body. The buttons were lined up and stitched together through the one patch and the body. Then the two patches were stitched together to hide the button. The arms and legs can now rotate around the button joints. How fun is that?

P1040189And with a little more stuffing and stitching, this cat was finished. I think he turned out to be very cute and I really like the hidden button joints and the way they work. I was a little surprised by how expensive small buttons cost, and then the fact that you needed to use 8 buttons to complete this project really made the cost add up. I spent about the same amount on fancy buttons for the previous jointed teddy bears that I made previously as I did on the small buttons for this cat.

P1040194This was a fun variation to the button jointed amigurumi’s that I have made in the past and I really like the results. Stay tuned because in the next post, I’m going to show yet another way of making a jointed amigurumi. It should be fun!