Serging (Not Surging) Forward

The shirt I started back in June is finally finished. I got off to a great start using a vintage “Fast & Easy” Butterick pattern and a summery cotton print from my stash:

What should have been an afternoon project came to a screeching halt when I decided to serge the side seams. The last time I used my serger was in 2020, when I made myself this bathrobe.

For the uninitiated, a serger is a specialty type of machine that sews seams, trims off seam allowances, and finishes raw fabric edges — all at the same time. The serger requires four spools of thread, each of which has an intricate threading process. The four threads work together to give a lovely finished edge to a seam.

Almost immediately one of the four threads broke. Now most people would simply rethread the one that broke and carry on. Not me! Here comes a confession:  I never learned how to thread my serger. I found the diagrams that came with my manual impossible to follow so every time a thread broke I would pack my serger in its original box, return to the Montavilla Sewing store where I purchased it back in 2004, and ask the nice people there to “show me one more time how to thread it.”

This time I took my serger in to Montavilla to be serviced because it was way overdue. When I got it back a couple weeks later other things in my life took precedence and it wasn’t until yesterday that I got back to finish the job.

I’m pretty pleased with the result. My summer top is casual like a camp shirt but a wee bit dressier. If you look at the pattern cover you will see that the shirt was designed to be tucked in at the waist. I wanted mine to be an overblouse so I added a second button at the waist. I also lengthened the bodice by one inch and took in the side seams an inch. The fit is a bit boxy but I like it:


Even though my heart remains in quilting, I’d like to make myself a few more short-sleeved shirts. I even have another vintage pattern in mind:

Can you guess how old this pattern is? Hint: big hair and broad shoulders! This pattern dates back to 1985.

As for my serger, it was a lower end model when I bought it almost 20 years ago. Most of the sergers sold today are called “self-threading” or “air-threading” sergers, taking all of the hard work and frustration out of trying to thread them yourself. I think it’s time I upgraded my serger, don’t you?

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7 Responses to Serging (Not Surging) Forward

  1. Chris says:


  2. Christine says:

    Just so lovely, and your favorite colors.
    I have a serger I have not used in years & years. Maybe you can help me in one of your classes become inspired to make a garment. I’d need lots of help…as usual!

    You are such an inspiration to us, Dawn!

  3. Vickie Rooks says:

    Your new shirt turned out very stylish!

  4. Nita says:

    Yes, Dawn, go for it!!!!!

  5. Diane says:

    Lovely result! But, now we know, you have a pattern stash too??? 😉

  6. Terese Scollard says:

    Lookin’ good! I remember that pattern!

  7. Arden says:

    Dawn, I bought a new self threading serger, really fancy and expensive. And Every. Single. Time. That I use it, I have to get out the book and figure out how to use it yet again because I don’t use it enough. I’m making a bunch of cushion covers and I’m going to have to get the book out again and figure out how to do it! I’m not sure the price was worth it.

    But your blouse sure looks nice. 😉

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