Thanksgiving was a wonderful day for our family. I hope it was the same for yours. There is much to be grateful for, not the least of which is our on-line quilting community. Now there will be the transition into the Christmas holiday season. I am hoping I can convince Ray to put up our outdoor lights this weekend. I think, of all the holiday decorations, the outdoor lights are my favorite. I like to get them up as early as possible so we can enjoy them for as long as possible.
I have a new toy to share with you! The back story is that my father-in-law shares my love of thrift stores. We both enjoy the hunt as one never really knows what might be found on any given day. In October, my father-in-law called me and said he was at a thrift store and was looking at a sewing machine. He said he didn’t really know what it did but it looked interesting and was in great shape. I asked a few questions and figured out it was a vintage Baby Lock EA-605 serger. I think the model was made in the late 1970’s. It is a heavy little guy, being made of metal rather than plastic. When he said the machine was priced at $25, I asked him to grab it for me. He brought it over a few weeks ago when we were celebrating my birthday. (This was a mighty fine quilty birthday!)
Actually, the serger won’t be used for quilting. In case you aren’t familiar, sergers are used to create a finished seam. There is a blade and four lines of thread. There are threads entering from above and below, though there is no bobbin. As the seam is created, the blade trims the excess fabric close to the finished edge. It is oh-so-cool! Having never used one, I signed up for a basic serger class at a little fabric shop in town. That helped me figure out some of the basics but there is still much to be learned. This particular machine is designed for woven fabrics, not knit fabrics. However my serger class instructor thinks I might be able to get a decent result with knits, so I will have to give it a try.
Because the machine needed a few adjustments I took it to our local sewing repair genius. Deby was able to clean and adjust everything and it runs so smoothly now.
I wanted to practice on something simple so I made some Christmas themed drawstring bags. I have made a few each year for the past two years and have quite a collection now. I love not having as much paper to throw out come Christmas morning. I had a stack of vintage Christmas fabrics to use as well as loads of ribbon for the drawstrings.
I think the tiny ones are just adorable.
I turned this one inside out to show you the finished seam from the serger. I didn’t use the serger for the casing that the ribbons threads through. I switched over to the regular machine for that. Check out the clean finish on that seam. So great! I will practice a bit more and then try something simple like pajama pants.
If by chance you also have a serger, I would love to hear about any resources, blogs or uTube videos you might have found helpful for learning to use a serger. Leave details in the comments.
Finally – Craftsy has gone all out for Black Friday this year. Beginning on Thursday, 11/24/16 classes are $17.99 each. Fabric and notions are all on sale as well. I am quite curious about the Boundless line of solids. I took a look and the prices are amazing. Solids, in a rainbow of thirty different colors, are available in pre-cuts such as layer cakes and jelly rolls, as well as yardage.
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I am linking up with a few favorites this week, including the Elm Street Quilts ‘Bag It’ event. Find out all about them at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
Score! It’s a beauty! Have fun playing with it. It did a beautiful job on those cute bags! XO
Why not use it for quilts? I used mine to assemble a jeans quilt, since jeans frayed so easily. Cute bags!
Hi Francine – my concern would be that the seam width wouldn’t be very precise. It seems like it might be hard to achieve a clean 1/4″ seam. Maybe for straight patchwork and not any intricate piecing– especially after I practice with it a bit more. It is a challenge because there is so much ‘going on’ at the needle site- I just need to continue to practice.
Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. I appreciate it. I bet it would be especially good for a quilt with denim, because of the strength of the seams.
Bernie, you certainly did get a great birthday gift! It looks like it’s in perfect condition! I’ve toyed with getting a serger for a long time, but I know next to nothing about them. I’ve also made a few Christmas gift bags like yours and always say I will make more each holiday to build up my stash. I don’t like all of that paper going into the trash either! Have fun with your new toy!
Thank you Kathy. I think the bags are a great use of scraps. Also, they take so little time to make.
I really don’t know a whole lot about servers either but look forward to playing with this one and figuring it out. They are certainly complicated to thread! To change colors of thread,the teacher in my class recommends cutting the thread at the site of the spool, placing the new spool, tying the old thread and new together and pulling the new one through the path, much like one would do on a long arm. It is just a very weird path to follow. Lots to learn, that’s for sure!
I love my serger! Can’t point you to any specific videos, (although I know Craftsy has some and all their videos are good) but I’ll give you my tutorial for perfect serged napkins to go with your quilted placemats.
I also would recommend allfreesewing.com – put serger in the search box to see lots of tutorials. Just close the popup asking for you to create an account, you don’t need one to use the site. I have several tutorials on that site for sewing.
Thank you so much Carol. I will take a look at your tutorial. Napkins would be a great thing to practice on. I appreciate the tips! Happy Thanksgiving.
What a fun find for $25, and it looks like you’ll get some good use out of it. The gift bags are really cute!
Thanks Wendy. I just love having something new to read about and practice with. Especially since I have not had to invest a billion dollars into it. ?
Wow, the Serger just looks like it is built to last. I really appreciate older machines that are so solid. It’s great it was such a deal and working well now.
Exactly Yvonne. While one doesn’t get all the bells and whistles with an older machine, you do get a less complicated machine to learn on. One problem with the machine is the lack of a light. I will need to get something that can provide a light source because it is a trick to sew without a light. But yes, it is really solid and it doesn’t appear to have been used very much. It is so clean.
I love that vintage serger! What a great find. Lucky you to have a thrifty father in law. The bags look great as well.
Check out Sewing with Nancy either here:
and her YouTube channel:
and have a look through for serger related videos. Some videos combine serger techniques with sewing machine techniques but I have just watch a number of the videos and I felt I could ask better questions when I went for a demo last week and I pick one up next week.
Re patchwork – a friend with a serger suggested I try it out making log cabin blocks. It won’t matter if they are not exact in SA size so I will use up left over Jelly Roll strips and make a lot of scrappy blocks for mug rugs and such quick projects. I should help me get a feel for the machine she said.
Have fun with your little green beauty
This information is so helpful. Thank you for taking the time to write this up for me. I will check out your ideas right away!
Hope you have fun with your machine too!
The vintage serger was a great find, and made a wonderful birthday present for you, good luck with your learning curve, looks like you are making great first steps. The finished seam on the bag is so neat, good job no-one ever sees my finished seams. It’s a great idea to make the reusable bags, it’s something I keep meaning to do, though I’d have to use sale fabric. Do you just use them for family members? I love the idea of using less paper, I’m a great believer in recycling.
Great bags! Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts Bag It and congrats on your thrift store find.
I have this same serger. My mom left it to me. I have used it continuously growing up, but now that it is mine–I broke the needle and can’t find what needle is needed to replace it. I have bought three different serger needles and none of them have fit. Do you know what needle yours takes?
Hi Carmen: I do have a package of needles that work for this machine. I hope this helps you!! Let me know if you are able to find the needles.
On the back of the needle pack it says:
Canu: 14:25 1
NM: 90. SIZE 14