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Ideas for Finding a Serger for Free/Cheap…

Quick preamble, a serger essentially “finishes” seams. It’s the #1 way of preventing fraying and is especially useful on garments which will be washed and worn a lot. I don’t have one because…well they’re expensive and I didn’t save up for one before the debt.

I have my own little sewing machine hack which approximates serging the seams, but I really would like to be able to use one.

Shanti of Antishay wrote a great post on Friday about not breaking the bank on your hobbies and also mentioned the serger dilemma. In her case, she found a local sewing store which lets her use their sergers while they’re open. Wow.

I liked her approach. After all, I’m not sewing enough clothes that I even need to have a serger. It would just be good to have access. I’m also the type who’d be a bit nervous of sewing in public, but I stored away the idea.

This morning in the shower (how many good ideas come there?) I suddenly remembered that my church, while progressive, has a bunch of older ladies who grew up as either old order Mennonites or even Amish. What are the odds that some of them sew? And that they’d have sergers? And possibly be willing to lend one for a week?

I’ve only been there a few months, but I’ve gotten to know a few of the younger women a bit. Perhaps one of them could make an introduction.

I’m also going to find a way to follow the local craigslist for sergers. I believe there’s a way to set that up through Yahoo Pipes, I just have to straighten it out.

So thanks, Shanti and yay for thinking outside the “I can’t afford it” box!

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Serger Roundup 07/13/08
July 13, 2008 at 2:10 pm


LJ March 30, 2008 at 4:32 pm

Isn’t it so hard to get outside that “I can’t afford it” box? Frugality takes some creative thinking and I am glad that you found some inspiration to think outside that ugly old box! πŸ™‚

Take Care and I hope you find a serger!

Aryn March 30, 2008 at 5:16 pm

I hope you find a serger, too! I’ve gotten a bug into my head to make my own slipcovers. I can’t stand the ones on my couch anymore, and I live near a 9 block fabric district where I can get cheap, high-quality fabric. The downside – I haven’t sewed since I was 13 and I don’t have a sewing machine. Fortunately a friend will let me borrow hers, which just leaves the not having sewed for 20 years problem.

Caro March 30, 2008 at 7:34 pm

I have discovered one of the most nifty things about Criagslist is the RSS link at the bottom of EVERY search page. So I refine my search–for me it involves choosing the neighborhood because my area, Seattle, has a number of distinct areas and depending on my search, I may or may not be willing to drive very far for my item. After I have refined my search, I click the RSS button and it adds it to my default RSS reader (for me it’s Google, for you, it’s probably Yahool?)

Anyway, I have searches on there for TONS of stuff now. From Diapers to my china pattern to the specific shoes my daughter is crazy about. I don’t actually buy much this way, but for things that I’m really coveting, this is a way to watch for them easily without remembering to search for a dozen different things each day.

But I also think that getting involved with the older women at your church sounds rewarding in its own way. Maybe there is even a sewing club in the making there?

Vered March 30, 2008 at 8:55 pm

Somewhat off topic perhaps, but I must say it is AWESOME that you can sew! I wanted to sew my own clothes so badly, and even took a private sewing lesson (yes, really), but I seem to be sewing-challenged and just couldn’t get it. πŸ™ Back to shopping at the store.

Bellen March 31, 2008 at 9:21 am

While you’re waiting to find a serger you can learn to finish seams other ways. There is, of course, zigzagging them, French seams and the seam finish like jeans have. Any basic sewing book should have instructions. Do local fabric stores take trade-ins? Maybe they have a good used one? Good luck in your quest.

mrsmicah March 31, 2008 at 12:29 pm

Yep, Bellen, I tend to use a zig-zag and sometimes I have a special stitch wheel I use with it.

Shanti @ Antishay March 31, 2008 at 6:37 pm

Thank you! What a good idea πŸ˜‰ I hope you have luck with the li’l old ladies πŸ˜€

mapgirl April 1, 2008 at 11:12 am

Perhaps you should tell people that sergers are priced very differently from regular sewing machines. I don’t think i’ve seen a decent model anywhere for less than $500-700. You almost have to find one used to get a good deal, whereas you can find regular machines now for like $150 brand new.

Try a repair shop. They may have a lead on refurbs and people looking to sell their old one to buy a new one. I know a friend of mind did that in San Francisco and ended up with a nice industrial machine for his artwork.

I have two regular machines waiting for a refurb. There’s a shop on Connecticut in Woodley Park that takes machines. (Try a vacuum repair shop. Most of them take sewing machines for repair because they have similar motors.)

Eh, good luck. If you get one, I might have to come over and borrow it. (Sewing party anyone?)

Watch out though, you’ll want to get a sewing table for it, etc. That kind of stuff adds up, especially since you will probably end up with large cones of thread vs small 500yd spools. Next thing you know, you’ll end up with a specialty hemming machine that uses invisible thread! LOL

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