Well, it's pretty much nerd heaven here in Columbus today, as my brand new Brother Serger arrived today via UPS.
While here, I will give a quick plug for WalMart. Yup, I actually got the thing online at www.walmart.com. I blush. While I don't think this will secure me a place of honor at People Of Wal-Mart, I still feel a little icky about it. I must confess though, for me, the main deterrent to shopping at Wal-Mart is physically being in the store. Shopping online doesn't offer the same, er... CHALLENGES that you find in the actual brick and mortar locations.
Alas, I am ranting, when I should be raving. Let me start out by saying that this machine is absolutely amazing. Just stunning. I can't believe I've lived this long without owning one. This particular machine, the Brother 1034D is an entry level model which I picked up for under 200 dollars. Oh, and shipping was 4.95. And it arrived about three days after I ordered it. Logistics aside, it's just an amazing machine.
I cannot really compare it to OTHER sergers, as this is not only the first one I have ever owned, but also the first one I have ever played with. What I can tell you for sure is this: it took me about five minutes to go from taped up box to sewing seams up. It was immensely easy to thread, and I was tearing it up immediately after that.
Here's what the machine looks like out of the box, all rigged for sewing.
All the weird colored threads are what came with the machine. Just demo threads, I presume.
Some people like to bronze their kids first shoes. I like to take photos of my very first stitch.
And here's the very first time I joined two pieces of fabric. I know. Kinda nerdy. But here's the thing. With my old sewing machine, I had reached my wits end. The thing is always breaking threads, dropping stitches, always doing something wrong. It's really frustrating and tedious to deal with. I don't like it. So you can imagine my surprise when this little beast threaded up really quickly and started producing REALLY excellent results right away.
With the new machine up and running, I thought it was time to take another run at the Superman Returns body suit. Right now I'm just working on refining the pattern for the top half. The legs are pretty much done. I did a lot of fudging of the store bought pattern, and came up with these. This is the pattern for the sleeve, the front of the torso, and half of the back of the torso.
The most time in this entire project was spent not only getting the pattern together, but also cutting the fabric. The actual sewing was the fastest part of the entire affair. Here are the final results.
Overall, I'm extremely pleased with this, even though it is not perfect. I must point out that the machine did not stutter ONCE!! I did not have to rethread it once, it didn't drop a stitch. It's just a total dream to work with. And it's REALLY fast too. I can chew through fabric like nobody's business. I am very impressed with this machine. I suppose the real test will be to see how long it can maintain this level of excellence. I don't really plan on beating it up at all, so hopefully it will serve me for many projects to come.
As for the pattern, there are definitely things I need to change about it. The sleeves need to be lenghtened and tightened up a little around the forearm. The collar needs to be tightened up a little. Stuff like that. The original pattern is also kind of a mess. What I originally thought were just things about the pattern that I did not understand turned out to be genuine shortcomings of it. For example, some of the seams do not line up properly. One half will be an inch longer than the other, or something like that. Just a little sloppy. Nothing I cannot fix, and for 12 dollars, I suppose I should not really complain. The great news about the pattern I'm using as a base is that it is fundamentally correct in its design. I just need to clean it up a little, and make it fit my corpse a little better.
I am thinking of spending some time tonight modding the pattern, but I just don't know if I have it in me to go the whole distance again. I think start to finish, it took about six hours to get that blue shirt finished. I'm sure this time will be quicker, but I am feeling a tad worn out at this point.
I guess at this point, I'm just SO happy to not be dealing with the never ending stream of frustrations I had with my old machine. It makes me think I might want to pick up a traditional sewing machine from Brother, since this serger seems so great. As for my reconditioned Omega, it still has ONE thing going for it: it can sew through REALLY thick stuff. This will come in hand when I sew up the next cape. Other than that, I'm just about ready to chuck it out the window.