Tag Archives: Serger

An introduction, and more fun with drafting!

My machines

I would like you all to meet my long-neglected serger, Janomelock JL-603A, to be precise.

She is no beauty. She has neither the range of features of a new serger (4-thread setup, differential feed, easy to thread) nor the charm of a truly vintage machine (though as sergers go, I guess she’s pretty vintage). I’m guessing she dates to the late 80s or early nineties, when my mother-in-law used her to create figure-skating costumes for my sister-in-law . I wrangled her out of my mother-in-law five or six years ago (possibly to my sister-in-law’s disappointment, although she got the regular machine and doesn’t use it as far as I can tell). Whatever manual she came with has long since been lost, and my efforts at finding one online have come up completely bust, so I really have only the sketchiest idea of how to use her. In her favour, she serged just fine for me for the first three or four years I had her, even though I didn’t even know how to thread her properly for most of that time.

Then, about two years ago, I tried serging without the blade. I can’t even remember why, except that I knew the blade could flip up and I wanted to see how it would work. It worked fine, although there’s not a lot of room to the right of the needle/blade to maneuver fabric, so it’s really not much use. Then I went to put the blade back down and serge something normally.

The blade is stiff and kind of fiddly. I somehow put it down halfway.

Everything locked up in a terrifying grinding machine-screech.

I freaked out, ran around the room, eventually figured out the problem and got the blade in place properly, but the damage had been done. Everything sewed just fine—but the loops didn’t form. One of the loopers was hopelessly out of position.

And there she sat for about two years. Intermittently I’d take her out, vainly hoping that by re-threading yet again she’d magically recover. It didn’t, of course, work. Finally, a few weeks ago, I bundled her up and trotted her down to the sewing-machine repair shop. And there, for the low, low price of $100, they not only revived her, they threw in a package of needles.

This would be a bit more thrilling if I hadn’t seen a nearly-new, barely-used serger on Kijiji a little while ago for only $150. But anyway—

I can has serger! Now I have no excuse not to finish my seams. My knit tees can be

Syo's shirt

that much closer to the holy grail of “Ready To Wear”. And, I have the perfect project to try her our on:

Syo wants a shirt like my Frankenpattern shirt. I was not super-keen on the off-the-shoulders look for a seven-year-old (ok, largely because she wouldn’t be able to wear it to school), so with some back-and-forth, we settled on the design on the right, which is off the shoulders but with wide straps. She requested the short sleeves, as she always gets too hot with long sleeves (weird child).

I hunted through my rather limited stash of children’s patterns and found an early 90s-cum-50s ensemble that includes a fairly basic shirt to use as the block. Drafting the “cowl” wasn’t too tough (just a bunch of measuring off the block), assuming it ends up looking vaguely like the picture. The fabric will be this crazy print (to the left in the picture) that Syo picked out from the bargain section a while ago.

Syo's cowl pattern

In sick-baby news, Syo is much recovered, Tyo is sick and moping but not actually vomiting, my stomach is unsettled but that might just be from sympathy. So aside from cramping my style, all is well.

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