Tuesday, 18 May 2010

How I killed my serger stone dead and made myself miserable

This is the tragic story of my serger and how I killed it. I hope this can serve as a warning to others because it is too late for me and my serger (well it isn't too late entirely but it is all a bit depressing. You will see.) Well, I decided I wanted a serger about a month and a half ago because I wanted to be able to make tshirts. Also I wanted to be able to make the most marvellous skirt I saw on Craftster which seems to involve about a million patchwork pieces. Would you like to french seam a million patchwork pieces? No, well I wouldn't, either. So, I researched my serger and I considered buying one from these people: and then I read this forum thread: and I reconsidered. What, I thought, if I have any problems with my serger when I have got it? I don't want to be having to send it back to someone who calls customers Nazis. I have enough trouble in my day-to-day life without going looking for it on an active basis. So I bought my serger from a local shop. And I am very, very glad I did. Because I had had the serger barely a week before I ran into problems which were ENTIRELY OF MY OWN MAKING.

I am what you might call an active kind of learner: I do not understand things until I have done them, myself, with my own two hands. I don't read instruction books: I use them as a reference for after I have worked out what I am doing. I cannot learn by reading, or by watching someone else. I do not believe most people are like me, as otherwise no one would bother putting instructional videos for anything on YouTube. As far as I'm concerned, you might as well tell me to look at a video of a sneezing panda and then go and perform open heart surgery, that is how little visual learning means to me. Anyway I have managed very well thus far and this was my approach to the serger. Well, never mind the instruction book: what they should have done with the serger was sell it wrapped in a big bit of paper that said in words a foot high, THIS IS NOT A SEWING MACHINE! YOU CANNOT SEW OVER PINS WITH IT! Because that is the only thing you need to know. Did you know that? I didn't. I know it probably isn't ideal to sew over pins with a sewing machine, but the worst that ever happened to me was that my needle broke and hit me in the eye. And it glanced off my eyelid! So it was absolutely fine. So I naturally assumed you could do the same with a serger. This was mistake number 1. We will pause here for a calming photograph of Cambridge which I took earlier today. Isn't that pretty?

OK, so the difference with a serger is that blades are involved, and somehow this was what the pin buggered up. So it gave a kind of furious screech and stopped, sucking my bit of fabric I was practicing on into its innards. Well, when my sewing machine is difficult with me, I don't take any nonsense, I strip it down, I change needles, I swear, I rethread. So this is what I did. And I ran the serger again. And it made the most awful clanking noise you have ever heard. And the new needles I had put in bent (actually bent!), broke, and flew out. OK, I thought, I did not put those needles in properly, I will try again. And the same thing happened. At this point I began to feel a bit worried. Another calming break: this is Wisteria on Magdalene.

I tried again and actually things became worse. Oh my God, I thought, Oh my God. I have broken my serger. I put it it under the desk and I walked away and made tea, but there are some things tea can't cure and broken sergers is one of them. This is silly, I thought, I will have to deal with it. So I took my serger back to Sew Creative and spoke to the woman who had sold it to me. 'Hmm' I said. 'There are a few problems with my serger. It seems not to be entirely working. I thought perhaps you could press something and make it happier.' She fixed me with a look. 'And what led up to it not working?' she asked, carefully. 'Me!' I said, in an agony of remorse. 'Me! I sewed over a pin! And now my serger is dead! And I have killed it!'. Well, quelle surprise it turns out that this is not unparalleled. This has happened to sergers before. And so my serger was taken away 'it is probably not terminal' and is coming back on Thursday. And I am very excited. But, this is the rub, and we will pause for a very attractive photo of St John's which is my partner's Alma Mater although he is not grateful:

My serger is costing a fortune to repair. A fortune. I am not exaggerating. I could practically have bought another one (well, perhaps a second hand one.) So, if you go over a pin, this is a big deal. You will knacker your timing belt. Do not do it. Learn from my mistake. Then you will have a bonus £67+VAT which you can spend on the frivolous item of your choice (although if I remember it is financial reasoning like that which leads to destruction and ultimately death in Bleak House. And if we aren't getting our financial planning advice from Dickens, I don't know where we are getting it from.)


Silver said...

You are hilarious. ;) I am definitely following your blog.

Still, I don't mean to demean your sad serger plight. I know it's sad to kill your sewing things — my sewing machine refused to sew for a long time, and I was until I realized I had never actually cleaned the lint out of the inconveniently-placed hole BEHIND the bobbin trace. (Duh...) Once I re-oiled the entire thing (hurray for metal gears) and gobs of lint that had collected over years dripped out with the oil, it worked again.

Anyway. ;)

Susie said...

Thank you very much ;-) Hmm, lint, oil, bobbin trace. (Stares at sewing machine thoughtfully. Goes off to find manual, screwdriver and semblance of mechanical ability.)

Anonymous said...

yes - agree with silver.. you are a laff!

I feel your serger pain though...
calm chocolately thoughts...