Sergers


What To Look For When Buying A Serger:

You know, if you buy a cheap serger from a box store, you will be very frustrated.  So don't!  What is the difference?  "Tolerance."  

When a machine is manufactured, the manufacturer sets a tolerance level.  "Low tolerance," means they don't tolerate any sloppiness in the manufacturing process.  A "low tolerance" factory will make a quality machine.  The metal has to meet a certain quality.  The parts have to fit together tightly, without any "play."  You can detect a serger that's made in a "high tolerance" factory (where they allow sloppiness), by grabbing the needle bar and see if it will wiggle forward and backward.  If it wiggles forward and backward, we can't set the needle/looper distance (a timing setting), because it's variable.  If the metal is cheap, the screws strip, and the parts wear out quickly.  It then becomes a disposable machine.  When you take a cheap machine in for a repair, we don't have much to work with.  Sometimes we will tell you it isn't worth the cost of having it repaired, because we CAN fix it, but it won't STAY fixed.

Three features that you really want on a serger are 1) a built-in rolled hem, 2) differential feed, and 3) a tall thread rack.

#1  The rolled hem is such a great way to finish a raw edge.  You can use it to finish the edge of a ruffle, instead of folding it in half.  You can finish table linens or anything else that you don't want to put a hem on.  On most machines, there's a switch in the front that's pushed forward for regular serging, and pulls back for a rolled hem.

#2  Differential feed means that you have 2 feed dogs.  The front feed dog goes the same speed all the time.  The back feed dog can be adjusted to go faster or slower.  So, if you're sewing on a stretchy fabric, and you don't want it to stretch out and be wavy, you can slow down that back feed dog.  However, if you do want it to stretch out and make a "lettuce leaf edge," you can make the back feed dog go faster.  Also, if you're sewing with a non-stretchy fabric, and you want to gather it up a bit, you can slow down the back feed dog, and it will gather it.  You'd need a gathering foot to get deep gathers, though.

#3  A tall thread rack may seem like a little thing, but the taller the thread rack, the nicer the thread feeds off of the spool.  And it is sooooo important for the thread to feed well off of the spools.  If it doesn't feed well, where the threads are supposed to lock on the edge, will wave. 



I'd like to show you a few things about serger repair.


Here's a common problem we see with sergers.  There are 2 pins in the needle plate that hold the fabric stable as the stitch is formed.  Sometimes they get bent or broken off.  Sometimes you can bend the bent pin back in place.  The pin on the left is too bent, and will have to be replaced.  The pin on the right is broken off, and will also have to be replaced.  Some sewing machine mechanics are willing to replace these pins, others will just have you buy a whole new needle plate.



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I worked on this serger a couple days ago.  The woman says she sews on flannel every day.  If you'll look closely at the needle plate, you can see that the center support is broken out and pokes up in the front.  And the support between the pins is broken and pushed down.  The cause of the break is the amount of lint that's packed into the feed dogs.  WOW!  That's a lot of lint!


You can click on the image to get a closer look.

Moral of the story...  it's a great idea to remove the needle plate, and clean out the lint every once in a while.

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Sometimes the thread pullers get knocked out of whack.  And no matter how much you mess with the tensions, you won't get a  good stitch.  This is a Bernette, but is the same on most Berninas.


In this picture, the thread puller is knocked out of position.

Here, I've loosened the black screw, and moved the arm so it's even with the looper arm behind it, then re-tightened the screw.
If you have a Bernina or Bernette serger, this is a simple thing you can do yourself!  

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When sergers sit unused for a long time, the old oil will turn into a gummy mess.  So, if you can't turn the handwheel, that usually means you have a gummy mess inside.  Then we have to remove the old oil with a "solvent," remove the solvent and whatever it disolved, then re-oil.

To prevent this from happening to your serger, just get it out and use it every month.
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This poor serger!  Its owner should be reported to the sewing machine abuse council!


Strike 1:  Bad thread.
Strike 2:  The thread rack is on backwards -- the thread needs to pull straight up off of the cone.
Strike 3:  The far left spool pin is broken off.
Strike 4:  The pad under the spool pin is falling apart.

Strike 5:  The thread puller is out of position.

This is a great serger!  We'll just clean it up and it will run like new.


After its been cleaned and oiled, we'll put the thread puller back in place.
Then we need to repair the spool pin.  I cut a spool pin off of another machine that was in the "bone yard."  

I used a Dremmel to make a hole through the bottom of the base.  Then I used the Dremmel to hollow out the spool pin.  

Select a screw that will stick up about 1/2" past where the old spool pin broke off.  Make sure the screw and hollow spool pin with fit together nicely.

Mix up some 5 minute epoxy, and put it inside the hollow spool pin.  Screw the new spool pin on, and let it sit until hardened.  Clean up any excess glue.


Not a very good picture, but you can see the position of the thread rack.  It even has a sticker on it that tells which side should go towards the front.

Didn't have time to take more pictures, but it sewed-off beautifully!

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Skipping Stitches and Tension
(A reply to Anne B. that may be helpful to someone else.) 


The first thing we need to check when a machine is skipping stitches, is the needles.  Have you put new needles in?  And are they pushed all the way up?  When pushed all the way up, the needle on the right will be a little longer than the needle on the left.  Some Singer sergers take a very specific needle.  Go wherever Singer needles are sold, then look for the serger needles.  They’re different from other brands because the top of the shank is very small.  Use a size 75 to 90 needle.

The next thing to check is the needle guard.  This is under the needle plate and is like a shield on both sides of the needle (front and back).  Do the needles hit the needle guard?  That’s something you can adjust.

Then make sure there are no burrs or damaged needle plate pins.

If you’ve checked all of this, and you’re still skipping stitches, it’s time to take it to the shop to have the timing adjusted.  That’s something you don’t want to try yourself.  If you scramble the timing, it would be a disaster.

It sounds like the Juki’s timing is waaay out, or it has the wrong needles in it.  The older Juki’s also take a very specific needle, the BLx1.  The newer Juki’s take a regular Schmetz or Bernina        130 705H.  Use a size 75 to 90 needle.

The timing settings on a serger are quite complicated.  #1.  The needle bar has to be the right height.  #2.  The lower looper has to take the thread off the back of the needles, and hit just above the needle eyes.  #3.  The upper looper has to take the thread off the front of the needles, and hit just above the needle eyes.  #4.  The loopers have to be very close, but not touch, and the lower looper has to cross behind the upper looper, just under the bump.  #5.  Both loopers need to come very close to the needles, but not touch.  #6.  The feed dogs need to be going down at the same time the needles are just about even with the needle plate.  #7.  The cutting arm needs to be in sinc with the feed dogs.

As for the tensions, you’ve got to start with a good thread.  A couple that we’ve had trouble with are Mediera and Guterman.  There’s also some that comes on a very big cone, and is very stiff (don’t know the brand).  If you use Maxilock, you’ll always get your best stitch.  Then make sure the thread is pulling straight up, off of the cone.  The easier it comes off of the cone, the better your stitch will be. 

Turn the tension dials to zero, then blow them out with an air compressor or canned air.  Then put them all on 3, and start adjusting them by how your stitch looks.   

Start with the needle tensions.  They are the straight lines on the back of the fabric.  If they’re looping, tighten the tension.  If they’re pulling too tight, loosen them.   

Then work with your loopers.  You want the ridge, where the stitches lock together, to be balanced on the edge of the fabric.  If the ridge is coming tightly to the front, loosen the front.  If it’s coming loosely to the front, tighten the back.  If it’s coming tightly to the back, loosen the back.  If it’s coming loosely to the front, tighten the back.

I hope there’s something here you can use.

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Here's some pictures in reply to serger timing. 

There’s a bolt/screw at the bottom of the lower looper that holds it onto the shaft.  If you loosen it, you can move the whole arm.  

 The lower looper should pass behind the needles and the tip should be just above the eye of the needles.

The loopers should only have a tiny space between them, but they should “nest” together. 

75 comments:

  1. The rolled hem is such a great way to finish a raw edge. You can use it to finish the edge of a ruffle, instead of folding it in half. You can finish table linens or anything else that you don't want to put a hem on. embroidery machine reviews

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  2. I have an Elna dcpro5 serger. I love the machine. Yesterday I discover 2 spool pins were broken. how can I fix them?

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  3. Why is my differential feed stuck? It won't move I can serge overlock but no gathering or anything that requires a cxhange in the differential feed.

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  4. I have a simplicity easy lock 850. Purchased used. The feeder dogs do not seem to move? Any suggestions? Rrgw45@gmail.com

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  5. I have a simplicity easy lock 850. Purchased used. The feeder dogs do not seem to move? Any suggestions? Rrgw45@gmail.com

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. My first guess would be that the feed dogs are packed with lint. So you’d need to remove the needle plate and clean any lint in the feed dog area. My second guess would be to check the stitch length, which would be inside the left side cover. Loosen the screw and slide the indicator to about 2 1/2. My third guess would be that the feed linkage is frozen up. Nothing that a little WD-40 can’t take care of.
    My first guess would be that the feed dogs are packed with lint. So you’d need to remove the needle plate and clean any lint in the feed dog area.
    My second guess would be to check the stitch length, which would be inside the left side cover. Loosen the screw and slide the indicator to about 2 1/2.
    My third guess would be that the feed linkage is frozen up. Nothing that a little WD-40 can’t take care of.

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  8. Any chance you know where I can purchase the pins that go in a needle plate? It seems easy enough to just replace the pins. Mine bent and I have purchased two entire needle plates that don't fit well.

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  9. It depends on what brand your serger is. I can get Bernina (and Juki) pins easily enough from Bernina. But any other brand I’d have to get from Brewer, and they just don’t exist through Brewer. Bernina pins are too thick to fit in other brands. So you’d need to call the dealer for your particular serger brand.

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    Replies
    1. Hello! I have had a pin on my Bernina 2000de come off. It's not bent and the needle plate looks good. How does one re-attach the pin? Thank you!! Susan

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    2. Hi Susan,

      You can glue the pin back in with super glue or a 5 minute epoxy. The first thing I do is clean the grove out with a small screw driver. Then remove the parts off the back of the needle plate. Have a pair of big pliers handy – I like to use channel locks. Use a big pin to put a little glue all along the grove. Both pins should be sticking out about the same length. Then squeeze the pin into the groove with the pliers. Wipe away the excess glue – top and bottom. When the glue dries, you can scrape it off with your fingernail or a small screwdriver. Then put the parts back on the back of the needle plate.

      Good luck with your repair!

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    3. Annette, I can't thank you enough for your quick reponse! I really like to fix things around the house and I'm very excited to have come across your blog. Your directions are great and I'm excited to tackle this repair! It was killing me to wait for a repair. Susan

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  10. Hi, I have a Singer 5 thread that won't feed fabric unless I place upward pressure on the leading edge of the pressure foot with my finger. It doesn't matter what pressure foot I use, I have the same issue. The machine will not feed fabric on its own. Any ideas as to what is wrong? It is clean. The stitch length is set to normal as or all the other settings. I just received this machine (used); however, the previous owner swears it works. It is several years old and was only used 3 times. Thank you.

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  11. Hi Vicky,

    My first guess would be that the presser foot tension is turned too low. The knob on the top, left side of your machine would be the presser foot tension. Turn that to the second from the highest number. My second guess would be that the presser foot shaft is gummed-up. A little WD-40 on the shaft would fix that pretty quick. One more thought would be the feed dogs may not be coming up high enough. I’ve seen needle plates packed with so much lint, they bow upwards, so the feed dogs are barely showing. I’ve seen some break, too. Another thing that keeps the fabric from feeding, is having burrs on the needle plate, stitch finger or support pins. Take the foot off and see what shape the needle plate is in. If there are rough spots, you can polish them with a very fine sandpaper (about 400-600 grit).

    I hope you're able to get your serger going.

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    1. I took my serger into the shop and it is the needle plate. It will have to be replaced. Thank you so much!

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  12. I have a BabyLock SE200 that has been sitting in my closet for a (shameful) number of years. It was a gift all those years ago and I never really learned how to use it. It was used when I received it but had been serviced by my local sewing machine store. I pulled it out tonight hoping to watch some YouTube videos and figure out how to use it. I got the thing threaded and it seems to be working just fine motor-wise, but the feed dogs won't engage and move the fabric through. I lifted the presser foot to look at them and they don't do anything. I'm assuming that this many years of not being used the oil is all gunked up. I'm willing to spray a little WD-40 to see if I can get things moving, but I don't know WHERE to spray it. I'm not sure exactly what's supposed to move.

    Also, would you happen to know if any of the more modern machines have presser feet that are compatible? The feet I have are the snap in kind, so I wondered if I could use any feet of that type.

    Thanks!

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  13. Hi Steph,

    If you remove the needle plate, you may be able to get to the feed dog linkage with the straw on the WD-40 can.

    Most modern sergers have snap-on feet, but not all brands are compatible with each other.

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    1. Thank you for the reply. My son and I got inside the machine and sprayed WD40 on some random things and got it working again. Now to get the tension adjusted. Wish me luck! I just need some time to play with it. Thank you again for the time and effort you put in to answering everyone's questions.

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  14. I have a singer serger. Was working fine but now the thread will not catch the fabric. Loops just fine without fabric...help?

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  15. Hi Halen,

    When a serger makes a chain without fabric, but not with fabric, there’s something that’s just a little off. First, replace both needles, then re-thread the serger and make sure everything is threaded like it should be, and be sure it isn’t tangling on the thread rack. Then check the tensions and make sure they haven’t been moved too high. It should be somewhere between 3.5 and 5.5. Next, make sure your needles are both pushed up as high as they can go. The needle on the right will be a little longer than the needle on the left. If that doesn’t fix the problem, then there’s a timing setting that’s off. Most repair shops charge $80 to $125 to time a serger. You have to decide if your machine is worth putting that much money into, or if you’d be better off putting your money on a better serger. With those Singer sergers, we can re-set the timing, but it’s very likely to go out again, pretty quickly. The quality of metal they use in those machines just can’t hold a timing setting.

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  16. Thank you. I have already tried with the threading, needles, etc...so I guess it's the timing.

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  17. Hi I have a 5 thread singer server 14T967dc the machine will not chain thread anymore.I did have a jam which I cleared up now it will not chain is it possible one or both the loopers are off set?

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  18. I hate to say it, but Singer has no business making a 5-spool serger. If it’s new, take it back and get your money refunded. If it’s old, don’t put any more time or money into it. Get a new machine. OR, get a used Bernina or Juki or Huskylock or anything else. If you want a chain stitch machine, buy a chain stitch machine, not a 5-spool anything. If you want a cover lock machine, get a cover lock machine, not a 5-spool machine.

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  19. I recently picked up a singer professional 14u12 at a thrift store. The plastic has yellowed and it was pretty clear by the dust covering it that it hadn't been used in a while. Even so it looks decently taken care of and even had the manual so we got it.

    I spent a couple hours today dusting/cleaning/oiling and re-threading it. And when I started it up it was super slow to start almost like it was locked up. After cranking the wheel a bit it started to run albeit slow but it had a perfect stitch on my little tester fabric. It never really picked up speed and then started to smoke. A lot of things I'm looking up are saying it's probably just dust or residue that needs to burn off, yet it worries me to do that if there could be something else going on.

    I'm super handy with things is there anyway you could help me figure out which step I should take next? Should I open it up to see if it's just dust/old oil or should I try and see if I can "burn it off"?

    I just don't want it blowing up on me but I'm confident if it's a somewhat simpler deep cleaning dusting I could handle it myself.

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  20. Hi Christine,

    If it’s stiff to turn the handwheel by hand, then it needs a good dose of WD-40. If the handwheel turns easily, then it’s probably just the motor burning dust, and the smell should go away after it’s been used for a while.

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  21. Hi Annette!
    I have a Brother 1034d that I use at least once a week. Today I was working with it and a pin head got caught between the presser foot at the very back and the feed dogs. I thought I had cleared the pin, but no. After I pulled everything out and started again, the machine was feeding the fabric verrrrry slowly, so that the serged edge looked like a satin stitch! The stitches looked perfect, just very close together. No change in the differential feed or presser foot pressure seemed to make a difference. I opened everything up and cleaned it out, still no difference. The feed dogs appear to be moving correctly and coming all the way out. Any thoughts?

    Thanks!
    Beth

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  22. Hi Beth,

    Did you try to adjust the stitch length? I wonder if the pin head jammed the stitch length linkage. If adjusting the stitch length doesn’t make a difference, your machine will need to go to the shop. That ‘s something you don’t want to mess with.

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  23. I have a Bernette 334DS. It was serging perfectly the other night and then bam! it jammed up for seemingly no apparent reason. I have cleaned it, rethreaded, put in new needles, checked the plate pins, etc. I have watched the loopers move and they are both moving where they are suppose to, but it will not make a chain now. The thread moves through fine, just won't make a chain. Does this sound like a timing issue or something else? Much appreciate any help you can give before I have to resort to taking it in.

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  24. Hi Melissa,

    Yes, it sounds like a timing issue. The first thing to check, is to make sure the needles are all the way up. The needle on the right should hang down a little lower than the left needle. If the needles are in right, and it still won’t form a stitch, then you’ll need to take it to the shop to have the timing adjusted.

    Those old 334DS sergers are pretty great machines.

    Good luck to you!

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  25. Thank you for all the help. I took her in and turns out it was the lower looper timing. They fixed her all up and now she is serging great!

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  26. Hello! I have a Bernina 2000DE that was a hand-me-down from my MIL. I don't recall ever having two pins in my needleplate, but I did have one and it's gone AWOL. Do you sell parts or know where I can find them? I just need the pins from this plate, but all I'm finding is the complete plate for nearly $100. And Bernina doesn't even list this model on its site anymore. I'm desperate!

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    1. I managed to McGyver something out of a boutonniere pin and a doll needle, but I'm hoping to find something a little more secure. Any suggestions?

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    2. Hi Indywriter,

      I didn't see your comment until just now. The part number for the roll hem pin is 502010.00.79. That's the pointed one on the right. The stitch plate pin is 502010.00.43. Any Bernina dealer can order these for you and ship them.

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    3. Thanks so much for helping!! When I called my local dealer, they said these pins were parts for the 2000DCE and likely wouldn't fit my 2000DE. I know that these two machines have different needle plates, but do you think the same size pins will work? They'll order them for me, but won't take them back if they're the wrong size.

      Thanks again!!

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    4. Your posts don't come to my email for some reason.

      All of the Bernina stitch plate pins are interchangeable. They want to sell you a whole new needle plate. They probably have never replaced the pins on a serger, or they would know that! There are long pins and short pins. If the pin is too long, you can grind it down.

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  27. wow, you are awesome for sharing this info! thanks!
    I do have a problem with my 25 year old Juki 634DE. Trying to find the reason for breaking Right needle thread led me to listen for frequent "tink" sounds, which led me to tutorials on timing, which led me to get out the magnifying glass to closely examine the workings of loopers, needles etc.
    My problem is this: both needles are slightly askew. I'm unsure which is out of whack, but the Left needle is a slight footstep ahead of the Right needle (or perhaps the Right one is a small step behind). They are not both completely straight up and down.
    This makes one hit the upper looper on the uptake, and the other hits the lower looper on the downswing.
    I've tried 3 sets of brand new needles - Schmetz Universal 80/12 and 90/14 - and they all sit with this odd angle. I took out the tiny screws which hold the needles and one had a point on it, which I honed down just in case it was pushing the needle to one side, and have switched screws Right to Left and back; still the same angle.
    Thinking that the needle holes need cleaning out...? Any ideas?
    I'll be following you from now on!

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  28. Hi Sandra,

    The needles on a serger are supposed to be different lengths. If you hold your right hand out in front of you, and point your pointer and middle finger down (close the other fingers), that’s what your needles should look like. The right needle should be a little lower than the left needle.

    If needles and loopers are “tink-ing” against each other, then the timing definitely needs to be adjusted. I don’t recommend that you try adjusting the timing yourself. It can get scrambled pretty quick if you don’t know what you’re doing.

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  29. I have a White 534 and the wicking string for the oil has broken so it won't oil the parts properly. Do you think I can just use any cotton string to replace it? And also, my hand wheel won't turn so where exactly do I clean out the gunk. (I actually have 3 White 534's because I love them).

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  30. I have an old White 534, too! One of the best back in its time!

    The wick inside the machine isn’t necessary. You can oil it manually if you remove the top and bottom covers.

    If your handwheel doesn’t turn, your serger is probably frozen-up with old oil. Sergers are particularly susceptible to freezing-up if they aren’t used regularly. That’s when we use WD-40. If you have any of the wick in place, you need to keep the WD-40 off of the wick or it’s reservoir. Here’s a link to how I use WD-40 on sewing machines. http://shesasewingmachinemechanic.blogspot.com/2014/12/using-wd-40-on-sewing-machines.html You’d spray all of the metal parts that move. The difficult part is removing the WD-40. We use an air compressor. So if you have access to one, that works best.

    Good luck to you!

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  31. I have a Bernina 2000DE. Its been working fine and all of a sudden the light started flashing when I press the pedal that useually indicates the looper door is open only it's closed. Is there anyway to reset it? I've tried unplugging, turning off then back on. I changed the needles, retreaded mutiple times and I just can figure it out. The manual says this light flashes when the looper door is open, presser foot is up or its set up incorrectly. I was sewing and stopped to change the fabric and this started. Thanks for your help!

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  32. Hi Melanie,

    My first thought is that the door needs to be adjusted. If you look inside the door, you'll see screws that hold the door on. They're adjustable -- side to side and front to back. The spring loaded rod may not be connecting with the switch that's in the side door. When you open the side door, there's a cable that comes around to the front. These two need to make a complete connection.

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  33. So I pressed on the bottom front of the door and it started to run perfect again and then it stopped after maybe a minuite. I completely took the door off of the spring loaded rod and reconnected everything making sure it was all nice and tight and the light is still flashing like the looper door is open even when it's not. I'm not sure why pressing it hard at the bottom worked earlier but it did only temporary though. I'm not an expert but pretty handy with tools. Is there a switch that could be bad that is part of the door. Its a bernina 2000DE. It sewed and ran beautiful until today. Any other suggestions? Thanks for your help!

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  34. I do not have a cable. Only a spring loaded rod at the bottom of the door.

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  35. The cable is in the left SIDE door.

    When you say the light is flashing, is it an icon on the screen or the light bulb? Do we need to put a new light bulb in? Do we need to check the foot control and cord? The power switch can get lint in it and won’t let it go when you push the foot control, until the lint is gone.

    What do you think?

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  36. It's the saftey switch light that indicates the looper door is open. The bulb is working for the main light. The needles are new the foot is down. Its an issue with the safety switch that says the looper door is closed. I do not have a left side door on the 2000DE only the front looper door. My bernina bernetteDS has a left door but not this one.

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  37. It's an icon just above the needle down button. My hubby opened up the front of the machine and says the switch for the door control is good. The only other thing I can think of us the foot pedal?? Would it cause the light to flash? It was working fine earlier and just quit then worked for a minute after pressing real hard on the lower part of the door. Maybe that had nothing to do with it? The power supply and foot pedal are seperate on this machine. The lights all work so it's definitely getting power.

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  38. My apologies, I got my Bernina sergers mixed up.

    So I looked up the schematic on your 2000DE, and I can’t find the safety switch. There’s a circuit board inside. I know you can’t get that circuit board any more, and I know it’s notorious for blowing out. If we could find the safety switch, we could probably by-pass it. There are 3 places it could be. 1) right behind the front cover, where the door is connected in the middle. 2) where the top of the door latches on the top, right side. Or 3) under the machine on the right side, next to the door.

    Can you see where it connects to a switch?

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  39. Correct it's under the door on the right side. We've found the switch my hubby took the cover off.

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  40. He bypassed it already with a jumper wire and it did not work :(

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  41. Darn! That makes me think it's probably the circuit board.

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  42. I bought a new one. Its ashamed because this is a pristine serger that sews beautifully. The inside and out are immaculate. Its been used maybe you 10 hours....maybe I can find a hand person who can fix it to take it off my hands.

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  43. A new serger is probably the better way to go. The Bernina 2000DE wasn't one of Bernina's better sergers.

    You gave it a great try!

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  44. Thank you very much for sharing this :)

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  45. Hello!

    I have a brother 1034D and I've wasted probably 10 needles trying to fix this issue. The problem started as just one of the loopers not catching so I changed from 4 to 3 threads, cleaned it, replaced the needle, and it was fine for what I'd been sewing. Switched to another project and returned to 4 threads. It was okay for a good few hours then again one of the loopers started skipping. Re threaded, cleaned it out with air and again it was fine for a bit. But once again it wasn't catching, this time it was the upper looper and no matter what I did it wasn't working. Went to the store, bought new needles and worked for a moment. Now it's not chaining, the lower looper is scraping the plate, and the right needle keeps chipping just at the very tip. Happened 3 times, no matter what I did. Is it even salvageable? Or worth repairing? Or should I just purchase a new machine?

    I sew almost daily, mostly cotton and rayon but a lot of gathered material so it can get thick. The machine handled it pretty well for the last 6 months until just now. My regular sewing machine is a commercial grade Viking and the serger was really just to add a cleaner finishing touch to my garments. If it is not worth it trying to fix what are your recommendations for machines around $500-$800?

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  46. The timing is probably out on your serger. And you could take it to the shop and have it adjusted, but it will go out again. The metal in those sergers can’t hold a timing setting. The other problem with that particular serger is the thread extender doesn’t go up very high, so the thread catches on the bottom of the spool and makes an uneven stitch.

    Cheap thread can also give you a bad stitch. Always just use Maxilock.

    If you’re serging on heavier fabrics, you probably should invest in a stronger serger. But keep in mind that no serger should do things like sew over a flat-feld seam in denim. That will throw the timing off or break the loopers.

    Juki used to make the Bernina sergers. But for some reason, Bernina quit having Juki make them, so now the new Bernina sergers are pretty bad. The good side of this is that Juki is putting out the good Bernina sergers as Jukis. You can get them for $499 on Amazon. They are model MO114D and MO104D. The 114 has the controls on the outside of the machine, and easier access to thread the lower looper.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for replying!

      What are you thoughts on a Janome or the Huskylock s25? I've tried them in store and quite liked them but what about longevity and overall quality?

      What do I do with the brother? I'd hate for it to just go to waste by tossing it or putting it in storage. I'd prefer to give it to someone willing to repair it or a shop that refurbishes, but I don't know of places that do that.

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  47. I still like the Jukis better than Janome or Huskylock. They’re just made very well. Although some Huskylocks have the front presser foot lever, that’s really nice.

    The Brother will just be a headache for someone else. I wouldn’t take it to the thrift store or give it to someone. You could strip the parts off and try to sell them on Ebay. Or donate it to a local repair shop for parts.

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  48. Any tips on breakibg loose factory set lower looper needle screw? I have to replace mine. Singer serger, cheaper model :(

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  49. Hoping you can help before I throw my serger at the wall lol. I have a brother 1034d serger. I had something get stuck the other day and ever since I can't get it to serge right. I've don't just about everything and tried all the advice I've gotten. The very left needle is missing whenever the trension is above 5. I think it might be the lower looper not catching it. It's just so weird because at 5 and under it stitches fine except that is just too loose for me. When I opene the seam the thread is showing way too much. Anything above a 5 that left needle is skipping.

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  50. Hi Bobbie,

    Fist thought is that the timing is off just a little. Second thought is that there may be a burr on one of the loopers or on the needle plate pins.

    I had a serger in the shop today that was doing the same thing yours was. It turned out to be a burr on the upper looper and the needles were hitting on the needle guard that’s under the needle plate.

    I hope it’s something simple, and that you can get back to sewing.

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  51. Hello, I "inherited" a serger that my Aunt says she only figured out how to use once, and her and her daughter both said "good luck" when I took it home. It is filthy. It was sitting either in her garage or basement probably for years. I can't really complain because she gave it to me, but I'd rather not bring it to get serviced until I give it a good cleaning myself first. I haven't even turned it on yet. It's a simplicity sw432 (I know it's old and uncommon because there is next to nothing about them online...). Every part of it has some dust on it. I don't think it was actually used much, so I don't think the blades would have dulled or anything inside would have been overused and need replacing. Do you think I can give it a decent cleaning and have it work alright? Or does it sound like it would be beyond home cleaning? There isn't anything electronic about it, I really think it just needs a head to toe deep clean. Thoughts? -Catie catiepauline@gmail.com

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  52. Hi Catie,

    It’s certainly worth a try. You can clean the outside with glass cleaner. Then remove the bottom of the serger. There should be 3 – 8 screws to remove. Usually, you don’t have to unscrew the foot pads. Then remove the left side above the needle, and the left side below the feed dogs. If you have access to an air compressor, blow it out real good. If not, use a lint brush and canned air.

    If it’s frozen up (you can’t turn the handwheel), you’ll need to spray all of the insides with WD-40. Work it in until the machine is running smoothly. Then remove the WD-40 with rags and air. Then re-oil with a good “sewing machine oil” or “Tri-Flo Superior Lubricant.”

    Once you’ve got it running smoothly, put it back together. Check and repair the needle plate if, needed. Replace the needles and thread the machine. Remember that you have to thread a serger in the right order or it won’t sew. If the threads are numbered from left to right, start with #3, then #4, then #2 and #1.

    Set all of the tensions to their “normal” setting (if it’s not labeled on the dial, start at 3). Give it a sew and see what happens.

    Let me know if I can help further.

    Good Luck to you!

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  53. Thank you so much for your quick reply. I made sure to print out the manual and read all about threading in proper order. I will give the deep cleaning a go and see what happens. Thanks again!

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  54. I have a Brother 5234PRW. I was serging away happily when everything seized up. When I looked inside the front cover I could see that a piece of thread that was cut off the fabric got caught in the lower looper shaft. I tried pulling it out with tweezers, but couldn't get it. The Hand wheel won't turn in either direction. Is there anything I can do to get it out or am I destined for a trip to the repair shop?

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  55. Hi Karen,

    If you’ve got some small scissors with a sharp point, or a seam ripper, you might be able to get it out. Can you take the needle plate off? Looks like it only has one screw to hold it on.

    If you can get the tangle out of there, that’s great. But… if it seized up, the timing may be off. So take it slow. When you get the tangle out, turn the handwheel by hand before you step on the foot control. If anything is crashing together, you need to take it to the shop. If not… Happy Sewing!

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  56. Hi there, The foot pedal of my Bernette 334DS has decided to stop talking to my machine. I did a test overlock(I don't often sew) and all was well. I have now cut out 4 cushions to make, the serger does not work at all. All lights on etc. Any advice?

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  57. Hi Flick,

    Usually the problem is in the cord, either leading into the machine, or leading into the foot control, or leading into the wall socket. To test which it might be, plug it in with the switch on. Then press the foot control all the way down and wiggle the cord. If the power comes on when you wiggle it at any of the 3 spots, then you know where the break is. The break will be inside the cord and won’t be visible by just looking at it. You may be able to get the cord in the right position to make it work for a while. But you will most likely have to replace it. The sad thing is that it’s very hard to find a replacement. Bernina and Brewer don’t carry them any more. You can probably find a used one on Ebay, but you won’t know how long it will last.

    A couple other possibilities are that the motor or just the mechanics of the machine could be frozen up. It’s not very likely to be the motor. If you turn the handwheel and it’s really stiff, it’s likely that the old oil that has frozen up the whole machine. That’s a job for WD-40!

    It’s a great serger! I hope you’re able to get it going.

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  58. Help, please. I’m trying to figure out how to put a new thread holder on a Bernette 334DS. I have two & trying to make one good one for a friend. Can you instruct me how to go about this? Please.

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  59. Help, please. I’m trying to figure out how to put a new thread holder on a Bernette 334DS. I have two & trying to make one good one for a friend. Can you instruct me how to go about this? Please.

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  60. Hi Rose,

    The most important thing about serger thread racks, is that the thread needs to pull straight up from the top of the cone.

    A lot of times, we use a Dermal tool with a file bit to cut and drill holes. It takes a steady hand. I try to brace my hand against my hip to get the best control. Are you taking the spool pins off of one and putting them on another? I’ve decided my favorite epoxy is Clear JB Weld (5 minute). It works great for this kind of thing.

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  61. Bless your heart.. My serger works again, thanks to your advice. It was looping terribly on the underside of the fabric. I took off the throat plate, & checked the pins - both there and in good shape - and I had cleaned it not too long ago, so there wasn't much dust/fuzz. I checked the needle positions & I think I raised the left one slightly, and I made sure my thread was coming straight up off of the cones (it wasn't, so I fixed that. Mine didn't have a sticker or anything to indicate which way the arm should face.) I ran a scrap of fabric through, and... No more loops! Yay! Thanks so much! You rock!

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  62. Hey Laura...I've spent about an hour reading through this post to see if there was anything here to help me with my problem, but didn't see it...hope you can help me!
    I have a Singer 14SH654 - my first serger ever, and I love it, but I've done something horribly wrong...I was sewing with denim and it got jammed up...took forever to get it out, but in the end, I think I've bent the lower looper. The needle is in front of the lower looper, but hits the lower looper on the down stroke, and ends up behind the looper on the upstroke. I know nothing about how this should work, being such a newbie...can you provide some guidance? TIA!

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  63. Hello,

    If you’d like to try to set your timing, I can try to help you. However, there are a few timing settings, and there may be more than one setting that’s off.

    If the looper is bent it will need to be replaced. If it’s just knocked out of time you might be able to fix it.

    There’s a bolt/screw at the bottom of the lower looper that holds it onto the shaft. If you loosen it, you can move the whole arm. The lower looper should pass behind the needles and the tip should be just above the eye of the needles. The loopers should only have a tiny space between them, but they should “nest” together. I’ve attached some pictures.

    Good Luck! Let me know how you’re doing.

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  64. Thanks! I didn't see the pictures, but I determined that the timing is way off - the needles are hitting the looper on the downstroke about half-way on the looper - the tip of the looper is far to the right on the upstroke! I tried adjusting just the bolt/screw, but it didn't help. I've rounded up the correct size hex driver but think I'll need to remove the bottom cover to get to it. I know, it won't be just a simple matter of removing the bottom, it's always a puzzle! Thanks for the reply - it helps just to know you're not alone! I'll let you know how it goes!

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