Great overlock serger - but there are some things it won't do
I think if you're looking at this machine, you're either a) new to serging or b) impressed by the price and interested in the quality. I'm completely new to sergers, but I did my homework before buying this one, and for the price and the performance, this serger has a perfect balance.
I was also concerned about being able to figure out how to use it on my own (so many people talk about taking a class) but within a day I felt like I knew it inside and out. It's setup is uncomplicated and I was able to get right to work. There's something to be said about passing over the machine that can "do it all" and buying one that just does what you need.
1) The "how-to" videos are wonderful for the visual learner. You can pick up the same knowledge from the thorough instruction book(s) included, but the videos reinforce the book. Watching the video on "threading" once, and following the line drawings on the machine itself, I was able to thread the machine in 5 minutes. (It's really not that hard - it's all color coded and the steps are numbered, but the videos help)
2) Included are two additional feet, one for a blind hem/flatlock and another for gathering ruffles as you sew. Together, they themselves are an $60 value. The feet are "snap-on" (when I read about that online I instantly thought of breakable plastic, but the feet are primarily metal with some plastic pieces on the blind hem foot) - the "snap-on" construction is very easy to use and solid (i.e. nothing is going to snap OFF over time)
3) It's very easy to set the tension and the manual has a very clear chart on troubleshooting uneven stitches (with 4 threads, there are multiple things that can be off with the tension).
4) The company description says that it does 22 stitch functions, which I think is a little misleading (it does the basic stuff and they show different applications for the basics).
THIS IS WHAT IT DOES:
1. 3/4-thread overlock (uses 4 threads; best for use with knits or upholstery fabric)
2. 3-thread overlock (general use) in two widths - 3mm (using only the right needle) and 5mm (using only the left)
3. Rolled hem (great for edges of napkins, pajama bottoms, frilly skirts, etc)
4. Flatlock stitch (decorative or flat seams)
5. Blind hem
THIS IS WHAT IT DOESN'T DO:
1. Coverlock stitch (stretchy stitch with two straight lines on the front of the fabric). If you're sewing for yourself (i.e. not selling what you make), you can fake this stitch on your regular zigzag sewing machine with a twin needle. It's not quite the same, but close enough for me.
2. Chain stitch (a semi-straight stitch, similar to a regular sewing machine but easier to rip out (i.e. good for basting) and a good reinforcement for upholstery)
Other sergers I looked at that did the coverlock stitch in addition to overlock, etc. had complicated and time consuming adjustments to be made to switch to the coverlock. If you're going to use it a lot, consider getting a separate machine that does it (the Brother model is 2340CV).
The one feature the 1034D is missing for me is the ability to do a 3-thread overlock and a chain stitch at the same time - good for upholstery but something available only on a 5 thread machine.
5) Nice little things:
1. You have the option of using regular thread spools (cheaper and smaller if you don't need 1000 yards x 4 of whatever color you're buying)
2. You use regular needles - so you can use them in both your regular sewing machine and your serger
3. It's really easy to control speed with the foot pedal - very responsive
4. Disabling the knife (that trims your fabric as you sew) is done with just the flick of a switch
5. Differential feed allows you to sew any thickness of fabric, line up stripes evenly, etc.
awesome for a first-timer
I've been sewing since I was 6 years old. I make fashions for myself and others. However, I've secretly feared "the serger" for years. I've quietly been hiding my fear by avoiding wearing any of the knitwear I've made. My conventional machine is a top of the line Viking with many features yet I've never been happy with finished look of knits made on any conventional machine. They just can't match yet alone exceed the look of RTW knits. The purpose of my lengthy introduction is to support my high rating of this entry-level serger. I had no problem dropping $1500 for a conventional machine but was not prepared to make such a big investment for something I might hate. I'm an experienced seamstress who's obviously missed the boat on the necessity of a serger. Before choosing this serger I did my research. I've read reviews here on OnlineShopDealer and several other sites about it taking into consideration everything users had to say. Many people wrote about the user's manual and software and were disappointed it them. I was so excited when it arrived that I didn't even look at the software. I read the manual, removed the sample thread, re-threaded it, and was serging in 30 minutes!! Everything on the machine is marked by color and number. Try to forget every frightening thing you've ever hear about it and jump in. I think the fear factor has made many seamstresses look for monsters in the loopers and needs. My ONLY problem has been that I'm used to the presser foot lifter being on the left not the right..big deal. Biggest thing to remember is to thread it in order no matter what. Few people want to change thread but if you take your time and literally follow the numbers, you'll be serging a sample in 5 minutes. I've tested scraps of every type of fabric I could think of and made the adjustments as the book describes and everything's been perfect. Yes, it's a bit loud but putting a rubber mat underneath it helps a lot. I was lucky enough to get a new one on OnlineShopDealer for approximately $180 delivered. It's worth every penny and more. I'm only mad at myself for waiting so long to enter the world of serging. It's cut my construction time in half. I won't be buying any RTW knits anymore. I've had it for a week and I've completed 3 projects though I work full-time. I've gushed enough, gotta sew.
AMAZING and FUN
I first bought a used unheard of name brand serger to practice with before I bought a good one, not being sure I'd like serging, BIG mistake HUGE! I had the other serger less than a week before reselling it on eBay. I had nothing but problems with it and it almost scared me out of buying another one. After much research and reading every review I could find on every brand of serger ever made. The Brother 1034D had only 3 bad reviews (under 3 stars) on the 30 sites I checked. 2 were because they had a UK plug, which had nothing to do with the machine itself being bad. The other one was from a woman who was a self proclaimed "sewing goddess" who had a thousand dollar machine and this one didn't compare to it (DUH!).
This serger (Brother 1034D) is so much fun. I have been playing with it for days and still get excited with every stitch I make. The instruction manual is very detailed and easy to follow with illistrations, plus there is a seperate manual that shows you all the different stitches and how to set your machine to the exact tension for each stitch! 22 different ones! Plus gives you ideas on how to make your own unique stitches. It also came with some C.D's that I have not even watched yet.
The machine comes prethreaded with colored thread to match the threading guides. It is not as difficult as some people make it out to be nor as complicated as it looks to be. If you can follow directions and you can thread a conventional machine this is a piece of cake. There are color coded numbers for each thread, just follow the numbers. You also get 3 feet, foots whatever you'd like to call them :) One is all purpose which is great! A blind hem foot AWESOME! and a gathering foot that I have not tried yet.
Believe me when I say this machine is AWESOME! and worth it to spend a little extra money on qualtity. Believe me I know there are cheaper ones and I have already been there, done that, don't make that mistake. OnlineShopDealer is the cheapest website to buy it, I also took advantage of the super saver shipping and it was here in 3 days! talk about fast! OnlineShopDealer also has great customer service and return policy just in case!
I HOPE that this review scares you away from other machines and makes you pick this one. I am confident that you will be extremely happy with the purchase as I was, unless you are a self proclaimed "sewing goddess" with a thousand dollar serger already :P. This machine is great for the first time sewer to the sewer looking to upgrade. I have already done all the research for you! Now all you have to do is buy it and start SERGING!
18 months ago I purchased a Brother 1034d serger for my business. I have been using this machine consistantly (2 - 3 hours each day) with no problems. I've been so impressed with its performance and reliability that I purchased a second Brother 1034d last week. Threading is easy, motor is quiet and adjusting tension is a breeze. I highly recommend this machine if you want an inexpensive and reliable "work horse".
Best low priced serger I've tried
I bought my first serger eight years ago and it was a Brother. I liked it but went to have my Singer sewing machine tuned up a couple of months ago and got talked into buying a Singer serger. I traded in my Brother and that was a MISTAKE! I took the Singer back for a better one and that one is now sitting in the box in the basement. I then ordered the 1034D Brother serger from OnlineShopDealer and I am happy again. It threads much easier, it is quieter and I don't have to keep re-adjusting the tension. I like the foot feed lever on the right. I also like that there are no obstructions near the loopers and the regular needles. With the Singer I could not get my fingers in there for threading. I would recommend this Serger to anyone who sews and wants a machine that is EASY to use.
So easy to use!
I bought this machine to replace an older serger that broke. I found it EXTREMELY easy to thread and set the tension. With my old machine, I could count on spending one-two hours just to get the tension right to do rolled hems. With this machine, I was threaded and ready to go in less than 15 minutes and the finished product was vastly superior to my old machine. I don't regret this purchase at all. The price was right and delivery from OnlineShopDealer was quick.
GREAT instructions....so far so good
UPDATE August 2013: This little workhorse is still going strong for me! I still love it, and it has never let me down. I took it in for a servicing this past year, and it runs as smooth as any serger can! That makes it 8 years that it has been my sewing companion! WOW.
NOTE on September 14th, 2005: Mine has a US plug. If you get one with a foreign plug, as in one review after this one...please see that you get Customer Service at AMAZON, and I know they will help you out with that.
I was afraid of sergers, never having operated one, even though I have sewed for decades and own a sewing machine. The deal on this serger at AMAZON is so good though, that I purchased. I have never seen this excellent level of instructions in any other machine I have ever purchased. And I mean not just sewing machines, but anything. The box includes two CDs...minor critique here - why not do it on DVD?? Well, even though they say they are for Windows 95 and above, the CDs mount on a Mac and all you have to do is play the MPEGs and you have the instructions. The only thing the Windows PC will do is autorun the CD, and provide a menu which you then must click anyway. I made myself a guide to which order to play the videos in, and use it on my Mac! In addition to the basic CD, there is another one that has a refresher of the basics, plus illustrations of several other techniques. Both CDs are done by a woman with an excellent style of communication. In addition, there is a complete print manual, and you can download a pdf of this manual from the Brother site. All in all a great start. I watched the videos about ten times, then I began to serge. The machine runs fast and smooth, and I am looking forward to many hours of fun! I have already made a pair of slacks, and I can't wait to get back to sewing.
I had seen how sergers worked so decided to purchase one for my own use. Knowing very little about sergers, I took a risk and purchased this one after reading the reviews. I Love it!!! It is so easy to use. The machine comes with CDs containing full instructions on how to use the machine and even helpful hints which I find are great, especially for me, a beginner to serging.
My seams now take no time to finish versus the old fashion way of zig-zagging on a sewing machine. The professional looking finish is awesome. The finished decorative stitches allow me to make one-of-a-kind clothing for both myself and grandkids. And oh the compliments I have gotten.
I am very happy with this serger and would highly recommend it to all. Super easy with fantastic results. Take it from an inexperienced seamstress...you can't go wrong with this machine!
Great machine for the price!
I was skeptical buying a less expensive serger, wanted a Babylock, but couldn't afford it (gave my last Babylock to a family member). I am very impressed with this serger. Very easy to thread, and it is a great mechanical machine, does an excellent job, runs well. Keep it oiled, and it is quiet and just goes and goes! I use it for piecing quilts, have not tried any of the other functions, but I am sure it will do well on everything.
Lots of Sewing Fun
I've been sewing on a regular machine for years and just finally became brave enough to try a serger. It was one of the best purchases I've ever made!! This machine comes with very clear instructions, 2 great cd roms, and color coded labels that make trheading it a snap. I strongly recomment the product, especially for new serger users. All the help you need to get started is in the box--including a handy troubleshooting guide with lots of photos. The price is excellent as well.