Here is the posting on Margo's Patterns Group that helped me decide what serger to buy.
If I replace this serger, what brand would
you recommend? What do you
particularly like about it? How many threads should it accept?
I particularly like the older Baby Lock sergers, or the newer Baby Lock
or Juki sergers. Baby Lock made the first household serger in 1964,
Juki made theirs in 1969. They have clung closer to their industrial
roots, and seem to be the most reliable I have worked on (I have done
machine and serger repair for about 10 years, the last few a lot less
active.) There is also some crossover - many Simplicity sergers are
made by Baby Lock, and simply have another nameplate on them. Look for
Japanese make rather than Taiwanese or Korean. There are only three or
four serger factories in the world and those few factories make all the
sergers out there.
My customers had the worst problems with Singer (any model), Pfaff five
thread, Huskylock lower models.
Baby Lock did the two thread chain stitch and a two thread overlock on
their 1971 models - they abandoned the technology a few years later.
They couldn't find a way (this was explained to me about 8 years ago by
a BL tech when I was going through service training) a way to switch
from chainstitch to 4 thread overlock reliably. If I had unlimited
funds, I'd try their new Evolve (BLE-8). If I had to replace any of my
sergers right now with my budget (I seem to have acquired a bunch o'
BabyLocks at the moment) I'd buy the Simplicity SL890DK.
It has the same industrial strength motor as my BL5380ED, it has dial
tensions (you can clean them more easily than lay in tensions, and you
can pull out on them rather than change your tension settings to pull
threads through. You can also bypass them entirely if you are using
decorative threads in your loopers.) It also uses industrial needles
rather than household needles. It means you have to buy separate
needles, but that those needles are made to go 1500 stitches per minute
rather than the 750 pm of the standard sewing machine. It's built in
rolled hem means that to change to rolled hem you only need to remove
the left needle (each needle has a separate screw - some sergers have
one screw holding both needles - nearly impossible to change needles
around.) and pop out the stitch finger that makes the full width seam.
You then tighten the lower looper tension and the basic changeover is
complete. No different needle plate, no different presser foot. There
are also great feet for this machine - piping foot is AWESOME for
making yards and yards of piping, blind hem foot really does make great
blind hems, and I don't use it really at all, but there is also a foot
for attaching beads and pearls to stuff. I think they look tacky, but
that's the handwork in me coming out. More than you ever wanted to
I have no affiliation with allbrands.com, and I no longer have any
affiliation with BabyLock. Just a really happy customer/service person.
You could also see if one of your local independent machine dealers has
an older BabyLock used, or even eBay, but then you don't know how it's
been treated. Stay away from models BL202, 302, 402. Ideally you want
it to use needle style DC x 1F.
Lady Elisee du Lyonnais