Sunday, May 07, 2006

Using a serger / serging rags

First off, meet my serger! This is a White 2000 ATS and a simpler serger you have never met. Trust me, I should know - I had a serger in the late 80's that I would have dearly loved to throw out the window, but in a sane moment I traded it in for a sewing machine. 
Phew! Sergey have really become much easier in recent years. I do not think you can go wrong with any of them.

And just to prove it how simple this machine is - here is a photo of the inside - complete with a color coded chart for each cone of thread. Every single spot that you have to thread the thread through is marked with the corresponding color. Got to love that! Oh, AND the tension dials have numbers - definately something my first serger didn't have, grrr!

I once heard that having a serger is like having a microwave. You see, you need a kitchen stove to cook, but not a microwave (although is is handy!). Same concept with sewing - you need a sewing machine (well, unless you hand sew), but a serger is nice too - I guess that pertains to making clothes because you certainly don't need a serger when it comes to quilting, but since I do like to make clothes, I also have a serger! Let me tell you, this baby is super fast! And today, I put it to good use in a very boring sort of way.

I thought I was being clever today to post about lobster to spare you all the boring, mundane chores of my day. But, in retrospect, perhaps it is of interest, so I might as well blog about it, or at least, this one chore! After all, my great grandmother probably thought it was pretty mundane to say... milk the cow, make butter, spin yarn, make maple syrup? I am not exactly sure what my great grandmother did on a daily basis, but those are some of my guesses. I have heard stories of my grandmother cutting worn parts out of big sheets and re-seaming them to fit a smaller bed, so perhaps recycling is in the genes? Because today I was recycling my old, stained or ripped towels, into cleaning rags.

Oops, not the best photo - guess the flash didn't go off, but perhaps you can see the stack I am working on - I put a shredded scrap in the front just to show how thrifty I am being! You can also see part of the serger box - I keep it in the box when not in use. Anyway, I just cut the towel into segments and serge around the raw edges using 3 cones of thread (not 4). I get 6 rags from a bath towel. Towels make the BEST cleaning rags! Except that towels with raw edges unravel like crazy in the washing machine, creating big knots and generally wreaking havoc in the laundry room. So, I was serging the edges today and giving each end a generous double-sided dab of Fray Check to prevent the stitching from unraveling (because you can't go forward/backward to lock your stitches with a serger like you can with a sewing machine and I was being too lazy to work a tail back into the stitching). Recycling my towels into nice, new cleaning rags that won't unravel in the wash.

And just in case you might have a serger that you really don't know how to use or are thinking about getting one, I would recommend this book - Serger Secrets, High-fashion techniques for creating great-looking clothes/A Rodale Sewing Book, ISBN #1-57954-464-9. I've had this serger for a few years now and still refer to this book often!


dot said...

Like you will be having fun with this new toy. I haven't gotten to that point yet, maybe when I become a grandma and want to make baby items. Have Fun.

Linda_J said...

I have a serger but seldom use it and MAY even own that book, LOL.

I liked the microwave analogy. Ours gets constant use and I would hard pressed to do without one.

Finn said...

You are one busy lady Evelyn!! But what a great idea, yes, the towels really do ravel way to much..good idea to serge them like that!

The Calico Cat said...

Ya know, Kaye Wood has a serger quilt pattern... She uses it for charity quilts - it is essentially 1 big log cabin block... So you can use that baby for other stuff. (I want one for napkins, but my new sewing machine came with a foot that is supposed to make napkins too....)

Laurie Ann said...

Hmmm, I love making useful things out of old castoffs. I think those rags will be worth the work! You'll have to show is the lobster display once your DH finishes it!

Hanne said...

I have never tried a serger, but it sounds like you are making yours very useful. You are good at recycling :-)There is a Norwegian quilt book with serger quilts only