Counting The Pennies

Doesn’t look like much, does it? I’ve been tossing silver coins and pound coins into an old glass vase that sits on a table by my sewing machine. I finally decided to empty them out. There was enough to order this:

What could it be? What could it BE?

This beauty came pre-threaded:

Five minutes after taking it out of the box, I had this:

Is it looking okay to you? Anything obvious that I’m missing?

I chose the Brother 1034D because Peter raves about it at Male Pattern Boldness and there seem to be lots of people on Sewing Pattern Review who like it. Oh, and it’s at the affordable end of the market. I ordered it direct from Brother UK for the three-year warranty.

I’ll let you know how I get on. Pre-threading is all well and good until a thread snaps. Any top tips for places to buy interlocker thread from? I love Walthamstow market, but cheap thread makes me nervous.

Get yourself a glass vase and throw some coins in there. Who knows what the sewing fairy will bring you…

My work for the evening: a second toile of the Gertie’s Bombshell Dress bodice.

Top Tip! Can you see where I’ve snipped into the seam allowance around the bottom of this toile? This allows the fabric to spread over your hips so that the bodice sits on your body much more true to form. This means that no unsightly wrinkles and folds bunching up from your hips will mislead you about the fit.

My bodice was too small. There’s 0% ease and then there’s 0% ease! I’ve let it out at several seams and now want to tweak the fit immediately under the bust. I also want to make the bust shell deeper for modesty’s sake and take it in a bit at the top of the sides. Keeping up?! In short, I need to transfer my adjustments to my paper pattern and recut.

What fun! Seriously. I’m not kidding. What fun!

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55 Responses to Counting The Pennies

  1. Anna says:

    I’ve been using a 1034D for about 7 years now, I even sewed cloth nappies on it that I sold online for a few years and it’s never let me down or broken. In fact I’ve never changed the blade on it even though I’ve used it so much! The threading will become second nature once you’ve done it a few times. My only tip is that if you’re replacing either of the right hand threads you need to re-thread the whole thing or it won’t sew properly for some reason, seem to be able to get away with not having to rethread the whole thing for the left hand threads though! Hope you enjoy using it, I’d not be without mine!

  2. New Yorker says:

    A modern home serger is not as difficult to thread from scratch as an industrial Merrow machine, the only machine I’ve ever used, but the key with both is to add new colors by tying the new thread to the already threaded thread. (Some people do that with their sewing machines, but I was taught that you always thread a sewing machine from scratch.)

    You tie the two threads together with a tiny knot, cut off the ends, and then slowly pass the thread through the machine with the power off until the new color passes through the last needle. When you’ve run through all three or four colors, then you turn it on and test the stitch on a scrap.

    If you need to thread it from scratch, I’m sure the machine has color-coded guides and a good manual. Depending on the threading mechanism, you may need a special wire to guide the thread. For the Merrow machine, people use a “Merrow wire,” but some people came up with the idea of using a flexible plastic flossing device that is sold in packs in U.S. drugstores. It’s apparently much cheaper. You’ll have to see what works with your machine.

    I don’t like cheap thread either, but I imagine it doesn’t matter as much if you’re only using it to finish a seam allowance. If you’re sewing knits with it, that would be a different matter.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Oh congrats! I love my Brother serger. Can’t wait to see toile #3!

  4. Katie says:

    Wow!! That is amazing!! I have the 1034D as well and I love it. I particularly love that it takes regular needles, so I can use all the same specialty needles I use in the sewing machine without spending a fortune buying needles.

  5. Kirsty says:

    Yay! I have the 1034D too. I am now an expert at re-threading it, thanks to a broken needle and some idiotic snapping of threads over & over until I finally realised the thread was getting looped over the top bar and so kept snapping. It’s pretty easy to re-thread, the instructions are very clear!

  6. Jessica says:

    I love my brother1034D. The American ones come threaded with only small spools of thread- not nice like yours. What I did like about it was that it was colored. You couldn’t do much useful sewing with it, but the colored thread (each spool a different color) allowed me to see better how to thread the machine (where each color went) as well as which spool of thread contributed to which part of the final stitch. I think it is pretty easy to rethread (and the threads do have to be in order, but you actually don’t have to always rethread them all for the first one, you just have to tuck it behind all the other things) but if that kind of thing confuses you, just try tying on a colored spool of thread and pull it through- then you can see where they go and rethread in solid.

    Congrats on the new machine! I can’t offer useful advice on thread purchases- 1) I’m in the USA, 2) I just use regular sewing machine thread.

  7. oonaballoona says:

    ACK! what impressive coinage!

    i know what you mean– le bombshell is work, but SO much fun.

  8. Portia says:

    Eeeeek! Yay! Jealous? Moi? 😉

  9. Debi says:

    Oh WOW! Congrats! This is such a good idea (the silver and gold coin jar)–I’m going to do that from now on!! YAY!

  10. Jane says:

    You’ve got it!!! Hoorah!!! When I saw that piece of beautiful overlocking I actually “ooohed” out loud. I wonder what I’ll be getting for Christmas?…. x

  11. Kirsty says:

    Ooooh I love your new shiny toy! I try to do that but I always end up routing out the pound coins to spend on breakfast, must try harder! 🙂

  12. Kelly says:

    I got the same serger for Christmas this past year! I did love that it came threaded with colored thread, matching the colored thread guiding lines on the machine. Other than that, I am still a little terrified of it. Silly, I know.

    I took a “get to know your serger” class, but it turned out to be a class in which the teacher tried very hard to sell you a $$$ Bernina, rather than really helping you actually learn anything about the one you took the trouble to lug all the way to the shop. This, in spite of the fact that my perfectly good serger was obviously brand new out of the box… :-/

  13. Donna says:

    OOoooo…I’ve loved this machine since Kirsty (leopard anchor) showed me her one in action! I can only wish….lol :o)
    Congratulations on actually keeping all your coins in your vase till you needed them :o)
    I love following your Bombshell dress make..
    Have a great week and have fun with your overlocker.

  14. Lucy says:

    I see that this is where I’m going wrong. My partner and I pooled our coppers and fives collection a little while back and I thought it was pretty impressive, but alas £8.37 still won’t get you an overlocker.

    Is that a RECTANGEL vase from IKEA? It looks strangely familiar…

    • Yes, it is an IKEA vase – well spotted! And yes, I gave up on the coppers and shrapnel a long time ago. They really don’t add up to very much at all and are a pain in the derriere to sort through.

      • Lucy says:

        It’s only because I’ve just bought 15 of the things!

        We’re at the stage in our lives where ‘spare’ money gets spent on things like food… we need those 50 pence pieces!

  15. Everyone’s buying new overlockers these days – luvin’ all the new-machines (yay!) 🙂

  16. Zoe says:

    Congrats on your new baby! Don’t worry if the thread snaps, but I’d advise getting som eof those special long tweezers if your over locker didn’t come with them. It can be an arse rethreading them, but you learnt a lot and get quicker each time. I cannot WAIT to see your finished vava voom dress! xxx

    • Karen re: tweezers if you don’t have any I keep seeing sets of 4 really long ones (all slightly different shaped point tips on the ends of them) in the DIY section of my local Poundland shop (it’s in their yellow/black “Tool Box” range packaging). If you need some, and the Walthamstow branch in the Selbourne Shopping Centre doesn’t stock them I’d be very happy to pick some up for you from my local branch.

  17. Helen says:

    Ooh, that’s how I paid for mine. I have a cupcake money box, and tried to fill it with the silver and gold coins (and the odd note, if I felt I could spare it) – it soon mounts up!

    My overlocker is a second hand Janome, which I got on a bit of a whim in Harrogate. I took it along to an overlocking made easy course, which was invaluable in helping me thread it. It kept getting caught and snapping, so I spent more time threading it than actually making. So far so good though. I found a pair of tweezers helpful when re-threading – mine didn’t come with any, but I’ve made do with an old one for eyebrows rather than the proper long ones for overlockers.

  18. Thank you all so much for your encouragement and advice. I know I’ll be coming back to these comments. Sounds as though I’m in good company with my Brother.

  19. Maryanne says:

    Hi Karen, Way to go on the overlocker! I’ve not seen Gertie’s instructions on this dress but if you think the top of the dress is going to gape, check out my taping tutorial, as taking it in will only get you so far! As the dress I am doing it on is also strapless, hopefully it will make poifect sense.

  20. Maryanne says:

    Oh yes and top tip for rethreading an overlocker, which I learnt the HARD WAY is that if you have to rethread either of the lower threads, make sure the top threads are up and out and in front when you restart, not looped down into the machine. If they are, something strange happens that fouls it all up, resulting in having to rethread the underthreads AGAIN, which are the annoying ones! And those cones of cheap thread are designed for overlocking – their rougher texture is deliberate, I am told, as it helps to fill out the overlocking. Sounds dodgy to me but centuries of using it and it’s not given me any trouble. 🙂

  21. Graca says:

    Wow! on the serious coin collection and Congrats on the serger!

  22. Paola says:

    Congratulations on your new addition. My overlocker is a Bernina and love, love, love her – she never lets me down, unlike my capricious sewing machine (a Husqvarna) , who confidentially is on her last chance.

  23. Joolz says:

    Rethread your lovely 1034D from scratch every time you want to change colour. I have the same machine and it takes me less than three minutes to thread it from scratch each time. It took me a few minutes longer the first few times and you definitely have to use the tweezers. I have occasionally decided to try the shortcut (or scaredy-cat-cut) that I’ve seen online and it never, ever works for me. I waste two minutes trying, and failing, on something that only takes three minutes in the first place,

    Oh, and just because it will sew a great seam on jersey, doesn’t mean you have to use it for jersey. I still like to sew my jersey with a stretch stitch on the sewing machine, try on, and then serge off the excess. On the rare occasion I’ve simply sergered the seam – it’s ended up too small. Could be me, could be the pattern – I go for safety.


  24. Scruffy badger says:

    Excellent purchase! Fab news! I adore my overlocker and all the knit sewing possibilities. I’m sure you won’t have L plates for long. I bought some whopper cones of thread with you in walthamstow in the shop selling habbie and wool. They were something like £2.50 each and HUGE. I just bought black and they are pretty much not dented despite numerous makes.
    Btw I have also been lured into signing up for the bombshell course despite never having the occasion, and it being completely left field to my sewing plans!!! What am I thinking. I shall enjoy being inspired by you!! I am only dreaming fabric choice at the mo!

  25. Eugenia says:

    Congratulations! An excellent choice. I love my serger so I know that you are going to really enjoy using yours. Woven fabrics look professionally finished and knits are so much easier and quicker to whip together with one of these. I love how you have managed to purchase your Brother out of loose change – it’s like getting it for free!!

  26. Shelly says:

    Congrats on your new baby! I don’t own a Brother but any overlocker is a great thing to own in my opinion. They make everything look so professional. I couldn’t be without mine. Fantastic idea to throw coins in a vase. They add up so fast and you never know what you might be able to spend them on 🙂

  27. Joanne says:

    Wow am extremely jealous right now. That’s a great idea about the coins – by the time I’ve saved up enough I’ll be more than ready for a serger and will feel like I deserve one! Looking forward to seeing all the fabulous projects you whip up on it. Qiestion though – isn’t all that threading scary?!

  28. Suzie says:

    When I saw your vase of money and noted you had bought something with your pennies…I thought it was going to be something like some lovely fabric or some other notion….I did NOT think you had managed to save enough for an overlocker! WOW!! So impressed…and jealous! I recently had my first sewing fatality (substandard seams unravelling and making big holes – very sad) and am now very much wishing for an overlocker! I collect £2 coins, but it’s slow going…so I think I’m going to have to upgrade that to silver and gold like yourself!
    The Bombshell progress looks great. Thanks for the tip about clipping the seam allowance, I’ll keep that in mind for when I start mine. 🙂

  29. Karen re: tweezers, if your overlocker didn’t come with any then they have them in the DIY section of my local Poundland shop. If the branch in the Selbourne Shopping Centre in Walthamstow doesn’t have them (they are in a pack of 4 – all very long with different styles of thin pointy ends) then I’d be very happy to pick some up for you at my nearest branch sometime 🙂

  30. Karen re: tweezers, if your overlocker didn’t come with any then they have them in the DIY section of my local ‘Poundland’ shop. If the branch in the Selbourne Shopping Centre in Walthamstow doesn’t have them (they are in a pack of 4 – all very long with different styles of thin pointy ends) then I’d be very happy to pick some up for you at my nearest branch sometime 🙂

  31. Felicity from Down Under says:

    Oh, that’s fabulous. (My dad bought new dentures with the coins he saved! lol) I love my overlocker, it is just the best thing for t-shirts. Look forward to seeing what you make with yours.

  32. Lysy says:

    Wow that *was* a lot of pennies! Overlockers are so much fun though – I bet you’ll love it! I went on a course with mine and asked the teacher where to buy thread. She said that she gets hers from Birmingham Rag Market so I got quite a bit there for £1 a spool and have had no problems at all. So perhaps Walthamstow market is the way to go after all!
    PS – tip I read somewhere: if you don’t want to buy four spools of each colour, for smallish projects you can put some on two regular sewing machine bobbin spools and use them for the upper threads. Mine jumped around a bit but it worked fine apart from that.

    • Felicity from Down Under says:

      another tip, at least regarding colour: use blends. One instructor I had never used four colours of anything, but (for example) two of black and two of blue; or for a light colour, two white and two in a neutral tone. She found it less intrusive on some fabrics and I’ve found it a good way to work with dark colours without necessarily having a lot of each colour (blue trousers for one school, bottle green for another, so I bought two of each and didi some mixing and matching). It’s mostly a matter of deciding which you want to be the top threads and which the bottom threads.

  33. Roobeedoo says:

    I have made myself a smiley-face chart and award myself a smile every time I avoid buying coffee from the shop. At £2 a smile, I wasn’t sure what I was saving up for… but I may be hatching a plan!

    • I am a latte addict. If I can’t get a decent latte in the morning I get very, very grumpy. I also keep track of my latte spending. It’s not pretty. You should quickly have enough money saved to buy more than one overlocker!

  34. Suzanne says:

    My daughter and SIL throw all their change into a glass bowl. It really adds up fast. Congrats on the new addition to your sewing room.

  35. Lynne says:

    Oh wow!!! What a smasher!! I have a really rubbish cheapy overlocker I bought for about £40 about 16 years ago. I spend more time untangling thread from the poorly designed foot than actual overlocking, and the tension is rubbish compared to your “first go” photo. I’m also currently wondering if it’s worth fixing an old overlock I inherited. Silver money in a jar is very appealing!! Happy overlocking! 🙂

  36. stitchywitch says:

    I have that serger too – I love it! My tips: make a note on the machine that you always thread the second from right thread first, followed by the right thread, and then the needle thread last. It took me a bit to figure that out (I did not get a manual with mine, as I got it on Craigslist!) I also marked the 5/8″ line with blue tape – otherwise I couldn’t see the line, as it’s the same color as the rest of the machine.

    As for thread, I like Guttermann cones. My personal observation is that it doesn’t like thicker serger threads – it will use Mettler, but some of the cheaper ones have given me fits until I realized that I just can’t buy cheap thread! I don’t match my thread to my project – I have white, black, gray, and a neutral color, and I figure that’s close enough!

  37. Erika says:

    Congrats! Perfect way to buy an overlock =) I’m still rather new to my machine, but I wouldn’t be without it. A tip is to actually not do the “tying the new thread to the old thread” – I’m sure it’s fast, but sooner or later something will happen that demands threading from scratch, and if one always threads it “properly” it won’t be such a huge thing as a lot of people seems to find it. I’ve only had my machine for 6 months, and by now I’m perfectly comfortable re-threading it.

    Another tip, something I’ve just learned: Get to know it, just finish edges on it and so on. Then whip out the manual again and read carefully how everything can be changed, tension, width, length, feeddifference etc. And different fabrics require all this to change… I haven’t had a reason to test the gathering or the roll hem yet, but the band inserter worked like a charm… – Like I said, just have fun with it before you try to master it to perfection. Just a suggestion =)

  38. Sophia says:

    Yay! That’s the same serger I have. Seems like it’s “the” serger in the online sewing community (at least for those of us who don’t have beaucoup money to spend). Hope you love it!

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