Thursday, February 17, 2011

ARGH&$@#!!! (aka Messing with My Serger)

I have a thing for gadgets - kitchen gadgets, electronic gadgets, sewing gadgets. You name it, I probably have it. Ginger grater? check. Fancy phone that my 4 year old can operate better than I can? check. Kwik Clip (safety pin closing gadget)? check.

So a few years ago I decided I absolutely NEEDED to have a serger. Had I ever used a serger at that point? ummm.. no. BUT, I had read about them and they looked really cool. So, I pooled together some birthday money, did some research on and trusty old amazon reviews and got myself the Brother 1034D serger.

In the first month, I had it out every day. I got all sorts of books on serging, and I played with it constantly. Then, I moved on to something else and my little serger sat under its dust cover for a couple of years until last week when I decided I wanted to make my daughters some twirly skirts. 

I read somewhere that you could use a serger to form the gathers needed for each layer of the twirly skirt. "Fantastic!" I thought because I am not a huge fan of gathering on a sewing machine (ie using two basting stitches in the seam allowance and pulling by hand)  I have a tendency to snap the thread as I am gathering.  So I dusted off my serger, pulled out my manual and decided to figure out how to make gathers on the serger.... this is the point where the ARGH&$@#!!!! comes in.

The manual makes it sound so easy ... just snap in the gathering foot, put the dials on the following settings, do a test piece with your fabrics to figure out the ratio and TADA you have a gathered layer attached to a non gathered layer all in one step. In reality however, not quite so easy. Now, I made it through Calculus 2 in college so you would think I could figure out a fairly simple ratio... nope. Try as I might I could not figure out how much fabric I needed for each layer. Every time I ran a test piece it came out differently. I ended up calling my husband in, and even his mad math skills couldn't get it right. 

I was determined to make this skirt though, so I kept fiddling with it and through a combination of serging & sewing I finally got there:

I used about one-third of the Hello Betty Retro HoneyBun from Moda to make it. The other two-thirds I used to make this coil basket for my etsy shop:

So in the end, not as smooth and easy as I thought it was going to be, but I ended up with a skirt that I'm pretty happy with. That is the nice thing about the volume in these skirts - they hide a lot of the imperfections nicely :) I'll try for a tutorial after a few more tries. There are several good ones out there though if you are interested...
If anyone has any good serger resources to share, I'd appreciate them! 

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