Serger Care and Maintenance – Prevent Problems Before They Happen

Serger care and maintenance is required more frequently than a conventional sewing machine for two reasons. One reason is that due to the cutting action of the knives on a serger a lot of lint is produced. The other reason is that the serger machine runs at very high speeds.

What type of serger care and maintenance should be done on a regular basis?

1. Cleaning the machine – the lint should be cleaned from the loopers and knife area often with a lint brush.

2. Oiling the machine – the parts shown in the user manual for your machine should be oiled periodically using sewing machine oil. Oil for household use should NEVER be used.

3. Replacement of the moveable upper knife – there are two knives that work like a pair of scissors in a serger. The upper knife is the moveable one and should be replaced when it becomes dull. The lower stationary blade should be replaced when needed also; the owner’s manual should be checked regarding information on the lower blade, which is of softer steel. If the trimmed fabric on a project is jagged, then the alignment of the blades should be checked. If the alignment is off, then the blade may have slipped out of its housing, and should be moved back, and the screw holding the blade in place back into the housing. If the alignment is correct and there is still a jagged trim, then the lower fixed blade should be replaced.

4. Replacement of the light bulb – when the bulb burns out, then it should be replaced, so that one can continue to see how to serge the fabric properly.

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Proper care of a serger includes changing the needles frequently. It is recommended that serger needles be changed after each project by some manufacturers. Some sewers change the needles when the needles become dull. It is not recommended that one waits until the needles become dull, so that prevention of damage to either the machine or fabric can be avoided. For information about the best time to change serger needles, the owner’s manual for your particular machine should be consulted. Serger needles should also be of good quality to prolong the life of the needles during serging.

The tension discs should also be cleaned periodically to remove lint build-up. The New Sewing with a Serger from the Singer Sewing Reference Library recommends tying a serger thread into several knots of 6 to 10 inches in length, in a button hole twist knot, then soaking the thread in rubbing alcohol. The length of thread should then be run up and down the tension discs several times to remove the lint build-up.

Proper maintenance of the overlocking machine can also prevent costly repairs and provide many years of problem free operations.

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