Serger initiation: baby pants and hat

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Since the beginning of this year I am the happy, but still inexperienced owner of a serger. Before I had my daughter I was not that interested in sewing with knits and never felt the need for having an overlock machine. But then I started to notice all these cosy velour baby pants in the shops that looked like they would be easy to make and kept seeing cute printed knits in the fabric stores. However, my first attempts at sewing velour with my regular sewing machine failed miserably, because the fabric kept shifting and curling and on top of that everything got covered in fluff. That’s when I decided to order an overlock machine.


This fabric hid in my stash for nine years, waiting for my serger to arrive.

Initially, I had planned on buying a Husqvarna Viking Huskylock s15, as my regular sewing machine is of that brand. Besides the fact that I am still quite happy with my sewing machine after buying it three years ago it also seemed smart to buy a local brand. Nevertheless, I ended up ordering the Brother 1034D serger from the UK, because I could not justify buying a serger that was more expensive than my regular machine – or spend that much money anyway – when I wasn’t sure whether I would actually use it much. In addition, it seems like the internet is crowded with Brother 1034D owners, which makes it easier to find tips and tutorials.


Giant Triangle pants and hat, no. 2. in Ottobre 6/2013.

The first projects I made with my overlocker were the baby pants and hat from Ottobre 6/2013 . The velour with a retro print I used must have been in my stash for about 9 years, as I bought it at the fabric market in the town where I lived as a student. Ah, the luxury of a weekly market devoted to sewing supplies! This piece of fabric was a remnant and for this experiment I used the edge where the print is uneven. The brown ribbing for the cuffs is new.

Anyway, the serger had been standing in the kitchen (where I do all my sewing) for a couple of weeks before I had gathered the courage to actually use it. But once I started sewing the legs of the pants I became really excited at how easy it was in comparison with sewing velour with my regular machine: no shifting whatsoever and nicely finished seams. Attaching the cuffs and sewing the three curved pieces of the hat together was a bit more challenging, but still went fairly smoothly. I also used the overlocker to sew a tunnel for the elastic waistband, but as I had trouble figuring out when and how to stop while sewing in the round, it looks wonky where the tunnel was initially left open before the elastic was put in.


It can be difficult to tell which side goes up, perhaps I should have rotated this image.

The thing I am least happy about is the brown binding on the hat. First of all, I had trouble attaching it evenly and then I somehow sewed on the straps too high, so they can’t be tied properly. To stitch down the binding I used the twin needle on my regular sewing machine. While the stitching is not perfect, it was the first time I managed to use a twin needle without the threads breaking or tangling, so that was quite a milestone!

I already made these garments in February and unlike the hat the pants are in regular use now. They are a size 86 and my 17-month old daughter has finally grown into them. Equally to Burdastyle’s, Ottobre’s sizing seems to be on the generous side.While I do like the drafting of many of Ottobre’s children’s patterns, I am not too keen on the frequent use of knit binding along necklines, sleeves and pockets, but that might change once I get more used to attaching binding.

Now back to the serger: although I find it easy to use and threading is not too much of a hassle, I still haven’t experimented much with the settings and have yet to try out the different presser feet that came with it.  In that sense, it might be a bit early for a thorough assessment. However, I definitely do not regret buying my serger and while I got it mainly to sew knits, I actually find myself using it more and more often to get a clean finish on seams and hems of projects in woven fabrics. More examples of that later!

Printed velour: from stash
Brown ribbing: Jonic Textilimport

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