Select Page


Miss GTS says, “Make yourself at home–thread my serger!”

This plaintive letter recently poured in to Getting Things Sewn:

Dear Miss GTS,

I’ve bought a serger–hooray! So I should be happy, right? But now I’m worried I might break the machine out of the box and actually use it.

Miss GTS, can you help me?


Concerned in Columbus, Ohio

Dear Concerned,

Of course I can help. I’ve been an expert in not using my serger since 2007.

You’ve already taken the most important step: buying a serger. Good for you, Concerned. Miss GTS hopes it was a top-of-the-line model, the better for making your friends jealous. And also, why aspire to being an expert in not serging with a piece of junk?

Just follow these ten easy steps and you, too, can not serge for years to come.

1. Buy a very expensive serger (if you haven’t already), and plan to learn how to make those pretty edges on cloth napkins. Then recall that you don’t use cloth napkins, because

  • cloth napkins get stained
  • you hate laundering napkins
  • you hate ironing napkins

(And remember those napkin wedding presents? From both marriages?)

2. Store your serger in a dark corner. Cover it with fabric remnants you’re collecting to “practice” on. Bonus points for storing your machine in the original packaging.

3. Have a dealer that’s at least a 30-minute drive from home. Sixty minutes, even better. If the dealer is located in a chain fabric store with Muzak, you’re home free.

4. Assume that the manufacturer must have great instructions in the manual and online written by (or at least edited by) a native English speaker.

5. Take a class from the dealer to learn stitches for making “gifts” for your friends and grandchildren.

6. Take a “fear of serging” class at the annual sewing expo and make a very large, ugly cardigan.

7. Don’t go it alone, Concerned. Take local “fear of serging” classes. Swap stories with other timid serger owners about how horrible it is to thread your machine. The one who takes the longest to thread her machine wins!

8. Hang out with enthusiastic serger owners who boast about how many panties per hour they can produce.

9. Borrow serging books from the library that were published in the ’80s and browse the fashions. Lettuce edges! Seam finishes on the outside!  Oversized decorated sweatshirts!

10. Attempt making a t-shirt without getting help. When it doesn’t turn out, give up.

If you faithfully follow these ten steps, you’ll be on the path to success to not using your serger.

Good luck, Concerned. I’ll be thinking of you.


Miss GTS

(A copy of these tips suitable for framing is available for 25 cents for handling plus a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Just send your request to Getting Things Sewn, Basement Sewing Domain, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.  Allow four weeks for shipping.  You’re welcome.)