How to Buy the Best Serger Sewing Machine

581141_dangerous_driving_roads_2Traveling down the road of indie designer, unknown what may lie ahead, they warn “danger: winding road.”  So I’ll pause for a moment and contemplate and share an interesting tale.

The road rocky at times but also exhilarating and for darn sure original, I find myself challenged to make my work come alive. Every stitch and every seam bind together with the help of my trusted accomplices, my sewing machines. The machines, my tools, make it all happen. Until they go bust. This is when the road becomes long and winding, and sweat beads travel across my brow as my head bows into my hands.

[clutching his chest dramatically] “Oooo… Its the Big One… You hear that Elizabeth… I’m comin’ to join you,” says Fred Sanford when we thinks he’s having a heart attack. And this is what goes through my head every time my machines act up or break down.  And this time it was the finicky serger. Only 2 years old my Janome Magnolia Serger had had it with the plush thickness of the towels used for Towelhoodies. I knew I needed a stronger serger for Hoodies, but one that could still work on my apparel items and hats.

Looking for advice, I reverse engineered the problem. Who will repair my machine when it needs maintenance? Finding the nearest and reputable repair person is key. At my local Joanne Fabrics Store, they have a weekly pick up and drop off service for sewing machine repairs. That would help, because then I don’t have to ship or go out of town to acquire repair services. Speaking further with the repair man personally, I found they repair many brands of sergers but their favorite machine to fix for its ease of repair was Babylock sergers. This is important. Why? Because every time you need maintenance or repair, do you want to be the customer with the annoying machine, that’s hard to fix and find parts for. No. But repair is not the only question to answer and have thought out prior to purchase.

Mainly what you are looking for is a quality stitch and ease of use. Upon further research, which I found on the’s forums, everyone who owned a Baby Lock Serger said they “loved it!” And then when I read that someone else was using their Baby Lock Imagine on cotton towels with great success, I was almost sold.

Next I spoke with a Baby Lock dealer in Grandville, Michigan, outside of Grand Rapids. Candy, one of the owners, shared some history about the Baby Lock Company. In 1964, several engineers and middle managers at a Japanese industrial company believed that they could redesign the industrial serger they were currently manufacturing to be smaller and lighter. Their company rejected the concept, but the team was so committed to their idea that they quit their job and formed their own company. They wanted to build a smaller “baby” serger for home sewers that was capable of producing an overlock stitch. This was the birth of a machine called Baby Lock.DSCF0444

Since then, Baby Lock has kept innovation in mind for all of their products. Today Baby Lock is known worldwide for advancements in sergers – particularly the patented Jet-Air and ExtraordinAir Threading™ technology that threads an entire serger with the touch of a button. Also many patented features inside where the tension lies sets them far ahead of other serging machines. It seemed with these credentials, the Baby Lock serger would last.

So now, it was time to test the machine. Off to the dealer for a sampling of the Baby Lock Imagine. The stitches it laid out on the fabric were beautiful and the machine ran with such ease. Next up the towel fabric. The feed dogs moved the towel through smoothly and serged the edge with the utmost of quality. Impressive was the Jet-Air threading and the fact that you could move through different weights of fabric without any notice of tension problems. This means that the stitches laid down were in perfect harmony with the fabric, no matter what the weight of fabric you were using. And moving from one weight of fabric to the next, the machine automatically adjusts its tensions to produce a perfect stitch.

The cost was an issue and not one to ignore. But with free financing and no interest for 2 years, offered by the dealer, I was determined to pay it off sooner and get a serger that would outlast its competitors. And so I did.

Imagine that! Now I am a proud owner of a Baby Lock Imagine serger machine.

Introducing my newest partner in design crime…thanks to Baby Lock.


Interesting things I learned along the way:

Husqvarna Vikings are good sergers for home sewing but not for the heavy duty sewing I do with Towelhoodies. They are a good value as well.

Juki Industrial Sergers are great for heavy duty sewing. So that means an industrial motor and big table. But not a home sewing machine by any means.

Don’t buy used. Sergers are just finnicky so buy from the dealer to get the manufacturer’s warranty.

Buy a Baby Lock Serger because they are the leaders in serger sewing machines and that’s just a fact!

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