Sewing Machine, Sergers and Decisions

THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to comment on my last post about sewing with jersey and what they used, machine vs. serger. It was very interesting to read all of the comments and I really appreciate you all taking the time to write your thoughts. I also read what everyone was saying when Liza Jane asked a similar question. Much food for thought.

So have you all helped me make a decision? Er, not really! I am still swithering between new machine or serger and hope that I will eventually be getting both but am only planning to get one in the immediate future. I have also decided which ones I would like:

For the sewing machine, a Janome 525s:
Janome 525S Sewing Machine

I phoned my sewing machine repairman for advice and he recommended a Janome as being a good quality and reliable machine. As someone who knows a quality machine, he often buys machines for schools and recommends the Janome 521 or the 525S. This second one would be my choice. I'm reluctant to get a computerised machine as I just feel that there is more to go wrong - and I'm saying this as someone whose car has sailed through its MOT 2 years in a row with nothing needing done because it is a great basic car (who needs central locking?!). I like to keep it simple.

I suppose the recommended approach to buying a machine is to try a few brands and models but this is hard these days as I think there are far fewer shops specialising in sewing machines - I don't think there are any in Glasgow (though please correct me if I'm wrong!).

Personally I find too much choice overwhelming and generally counter-productive, and I prefer to get a recommendation from someone I trust - like my repair man. He can also get the machine for me, matching any internet price, and if it needs any servicing done he can pick it up from my house. Ideal.


Serger wise, I'd go for the ubiquitous Brother 1034D. This model seems to be very popular amongst sewing bloggers but isn't too pricey, as sergers go. And I've got a strong recommendation from people I trust - all of you!

The problem with a serger is that it's another machine to add to my sewing space in the living room and my already hobby-tolerant husband has to put up with all my knitting and sewing stuff all over the place. As you know, that stuff grows arms and legs and as much as I would like a serger (and a dressmaker's dummy - one day!) I wonder if I should wait until I have a dedicated space for sewing (again - one day...) or at least wait for a while. And I have to admit that I am still a little intimidated by the thought of a serger, maybe I should just get a good sewing machine I am really comfortable with sewing jersey on, and then treat myself to a serger later on if I want to take things a step further?

Or then again, will a serger REALLY take up a lot more space? It sounds like the easiness it could bring would be well worth it. Perhaps I should just go for it and buy one.

So thank you again for your input and for reading this latest brain ramble. I'll be sure to keep you updated about what I eventually decide!

K x

27 comments:

  1. My overlocker (the ubiquitous Brother) was a very generous gift, but I have never ever regretted asking for one. I don't do anything fancy with it, just finish seams and sew jersey, but it makes life so much easier. No more faffing around with French seams/pinking/zig-zagging. And it's so quick! It takes up less room than I anticipated. The only thing is that you have a lot more thread spools lying around.

    David Drummond (in Edinburgh) is a great sewing machine shop, that's where I got my Bernina years ago. It was a display model so I got a discount too! they'll let you try lots of different machines.

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  2. There's a place near us (Pembertons) where you can try out machine. If you want to come over for lunch one Saturday we could go and check it out.

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    1. Thank you, I think I'll take you up on that offer!

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  3. I have a Janome machine, love it! I bought the Brother 1034D serger last year on the recommendation of sewing bloggers and I wouldn't be without mine now. I don't have a sewing room, just a corner of my lounge. The sewing machine sits on a small table and the serger has to live on the floor! I swap them over when needed. Have fun choosing!

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  4. good choices. i would love an overlocker (am really interested in the one you posted - that's a great price). i have a brother machine which is fairly basic - it cost about £100 when i was first starting out but came highly recommended by the local sewing machine shop owner. i am holding off buying an overlocker for the same reason as you - space! unless you can find a desk or similar which holds one machine out of the way while you use the other? sure i have seen them advertised!

    in the mean time i have just ordered an overlocking foot for my current machine so will see how i go with that!

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  5. I have the Brother overlocker, and have ended up having to put it on a different table in another room because there wasn't enough space on my sewing table, so I can see that it would be an issue if you don't have a lot of space. That said (if you haven't seen one in the flesh), it's definately not as big as a sewing machine.

    The Janome machine looks great, and the £150 off is even better! And it looks like it has an overlocking stitch on it, which would be better than nothing. I love my overlocker, it's brilliant for fabric that frays a lot, but I suppose it depends on what your current sewing machine is like. Good luck with the decision. :)

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  6. hoorah! The brother doesn't take up so much space. Both machines sit tidyly at the back of my sewing desk, and I just bring forward the one I need to use.
    I'm in a similar situation as you: my sewing area is also the living/dining room, and my husband's "hobby" room. It's a good job that neither of us are neat freaks.

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    1. agree, when Im not using I put the serger in a shelf... before the sewing room, my fellow just got used to not eat in the dinning table as I had "my studio" set up all the time

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  7. I love Janomes second only to old Berninas, which is why we have old Berninas and new Janomes in our studio! The only thing I am not thrilled about with the oens I have (which are computerised, 3040 I think) is that the 'overhang' of them is deeper and the needle set further in, making the angle at which you can see the needle shallower. This means if you are tall you have to bend down to see, not at all ergonomically correct. So if your one has this issue, make sure it is high enough up for you to see properly!

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  8. I have a Janome 640 serger/overlocker and it is fabulous (they don't seem to be for sale now, but I am sure that there are others that are just as good). I would certainly recommend one. My first overlocker cost GBP70, had three threads and was made by Suzuki - it was a great machine, I bought it second hand and I think that was through my sewing machine repairman, so maybe have a chat and see if he is aware of a secondhand one for you to start with.

    My next one was one from Argos - a Toyota (gotta love these car manufacturers that make overlockers!!), it was cheap and lasted quite a few years until I moved to Canada.

    I also used to have both my sewing machine and my overlocker on a table and pulled whichever one I wanted to use to the front. Fortunately now I have a sewing room with Ikea 'Expedit' furniture and that is perfect!

    I agree with the other commenters - the machines do not take up much space and you will have so much fun with an overlocker! Happy hunting!!

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  9. I have a Janome and my daughter has a Janome too. My Janome has an overlock stitch. I have space issues as well. An overlocker/serger is on my wish list. I think that a sewing machine gives a lot more mileage than an overlocker. I can applique with it it, sew knits with it, quilt with it etc. Try a few different machines to see what you like best.

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  10. I have that same brother serger and it sits right next to my sewing machine, which is on a desk. I just pull whichever machine i want to work on forward on the desk. I'm very happy with this serger. It makes finishing seams a breeze! It's really fun actually =) and threading was not as bad as i thought it would be!! One thing that it does not do that i wished it would do is a coverstitch. But for this serger's price, the lack of that feature wasn't a deal breaker. (well mine was a gift… but i wouldn't have wanted my husband to buy anything more expensive)

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  11. I have that Brother serger too and I have it around the corner of the table from my sewing machine, so they are very close (at sew at a cheap IKEA dining room table that I got for a cutting table but apparently do everything on). I don't do anything fancy on it either and having never sewed jersey didn't even know that was one of the bonuses of it! But I do love that I have it. I wish there was a bit more information online about some techniques (don't even look anywhere I have to go in a circle like an armhole, omg). But as for the machine itself? LOVE it. So glad I purchased it!!

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  12. I can also recommend David Drummond in Edinburgh. They are really helpful and you can try them out (and if you buy you get a free lesson on how to use the machine - although I guess that's another trip to Edinburgh... They are right next to Hatmarket though!

    I checked out Which? First - you can do a trial for a month for £1 - narrowed down my selection, then went to Drummond's to try - I love my Brother sewing machine I bought last year.

    Also, doesn't John Lewis let you try? The one in Edinburgh does, but they don't stock all models.

    Good luck!

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  13. Clearly they are next to Haymarket, not the less well known historical market of headwear...

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    1. Ha ha, I didn't even notice the typo as I know where you mean! I didn't know about John Lewis letting you try machines either. The haberdashery bit of the Glasgow store is much smaller than Glasgow but they do sell machines so they probably do let you try.

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    2. I mean 'much smaller than Edinburgh' :)

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  14. Janomes are good machines. The serger would depend on how much you think you will use it. I have a Janome serger with a differential for 20+ years and have had no problems with it. It basically closed my three boys when they were tiny til the youngest was about 8.

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  15. If you get the Janome I am pretty sure you will love it. I keep my overlocker on the same table as my machine and just push them around as required. They don't take up as much room as you might think.

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  16. It looks like the Janome machine you fancy does a knit stitch to sew and finish seams on stretch fabrics so you might not need a serger as well. Obviously, it won't trim the seam at the same time but you could always adjust the difference off your seams before you cut your fabric. Bonus!

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  17. My toyota serga sits in the desk next to my Janome (like you I opt for the mechanical machines) I use both my machines all the time and they are hardly every put away. when i'm not using one i just push it to the back of the desk.

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  18. I have a 625E Janome Sewist and it's pretty awesome. The automatic butotnhole feature isn't very good and I don't feel that it makes the nicest looking stitches - things your repairman might not notice. I use it for sewing knits and as long as you don't start at the very beginning of the seam, it's very good. Start about three stitch lengths in and then the end of the knit won't get sucked into the feed dogs.

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  19. I had a serger for Christmas (Janome 9200D) and am in love with it. So much so, have been too busy making things to blog about them (I will!!). I was worried it would take up too much room, but it fits neatly on the end of my sewing table, and I just put the leads away when I'm not using it.

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  21. I have Janome sewing machine too(not computerized one - I don't know why I would need 60 types of stitches%)

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