An Upcycled Skirt. And New Serger Love.




I had an old and dysfunctional serger that was given to me a couple of years ago by a neighbor who was moving away. It had been given to her and she didn't know if it worked. I was ecstatic. The possibility to sew on jersey (tee-shirt) fabric without wonky seams was just what I had been wanting. That (free!) machine was the answer to my prayers.

Or so I thought.

I've sewn with it only a few times in the past three years because the machine had a tendency to eat my projects and was a great source of frustration. (Understatement.) The few projects that did make it out alive tended to have stitches pulling out after just a few washings. Baah.

Fast-forward to late last month. While I was on my solo adventure I was attempting to sew a skirt on said cannibalistic machine. Inspired to break out the serger and sew some clothes while the kids were away, I thought that maybe without the distraction of my peeps I could determine what was wrong with it. And I had just thrifted a bag full of cotton jersey tees that I desperately wanted to turn into some new duds.

I got as far as half of a seam and it was over. Done. Kaput. The seam was skipping and my fabric sucked into the feed dogs somehow. I took a deep breath, extracted my skirt from the feed dogs, and went to bed. (It is likely that I made a gin and tonic sometime between the Incident and bed but I'm not certain.) The next morning I put the serger outside with a "Free – take at your own risk" sign and sat down at my computer – Craigslist. Huskylock Serger. Let's see what we get.



And I found one.

A Huskylock 936, over a decade old, but ridiculously modern by my standards. (My sewing machine, inherited from my grandma, is from the early '60's.) A beautiful, marvelous, high quality serger for a ridiculous bargain. I jumped and he agreed to ship it to me, sight-unseen from Minnesota. It arrived this weekend. We had guests, so I left it in the box, knowing I'd need some quiet space to figure out where to begin. It has been a long wait.

Last night I finally had time to figure out my new machine. Sewing with a new serger makes me feel like a sewing newbie for the first time since grade school. I got out the manual, learned how to thread it (no small feat), and pulled out the skirt I tried to make on the old machine. (I first sent Pete and the kids to the park to reduce the likelihood of me freaking out in front of my family while learning how to do it all).

After cutting away the damaged bits on the skirt, I started sewing. And it worked. It worked! I figured out the basics and within an hour of opening the box I had a new favorite skirt in my wardrobe. I feel a new obsession coming on. I can't wait to get sewing again today.

If you are new to sewing, serged seams are the kind inside every t-shirt in your closet and down the legs of your blue jeans. They prevent unraveling and allow fabric to stretch. They make for faster, neater sewing. You can also wear serged seams on the inside or the outside, depending on what you're going for. (See above and below.)

So. Very. Happy!


31 thoughts on “An Upcycled Skirt. And New Serger Love.

  1. Marni says:

    Yay!!!!! I know first hand how frustrating a crappy serger can be, no fun! I am excited to see what projects you produce in the coming weeks, the skirt is so cool!!

  2. Cassandra says:

    I have been wanting a serger for quite a while now…but I haven’t known where to begin, what brands were the good ones, etc. Thanks for this post, maybe I too should start with a Huskylock. 🙂

  3. kate says:

    I am still in crappy hand me down serger denial. Trying to figure out if I will move with the thing or let go. Letting go is so incredibly hard.

  4. Priscilla says:

    I love my serger too! I got or my birthday this year and it has been used very much since. Before I used to borrow my mothers once in a while, but having my own is just fantastic!

  5. Casey says:

    That. Skirt. Is. AWESOME. I would totally buy a skirt like that in a heartbeat…just sayin.

    Congrats on a new spark on your sewing fire.

  6. Rachel Wolf says:

    Im a big Viking/Husqvarna fan. I never knew what direction to go either for a serger until a local friend whos opinion on all things sewing I respect immensely loaned me hers. She, too, has a vintage Husqvarna sewing machine that she inherited and wouldnt trade for anything (mine as well.). Her Huskylock ruled so I found my own. No regrets!

    ~ Rachel

  7. Amanda says:

    I dream of serger-ing someday. For some reason I have this self imposed rule that I must master my 1950’s Singer sewing machine first.

    Your skirt is beautiful!


  8. chelsea says:

    Oooh! Very nice skirt. I was just given a Bernina (no idea which type at the moment) serger and still want to see if I can find anything resembling a manual online, but this inspires me to just dive in and see what happens… Here’s hoping it won’t be as evil as your first one!

  9. Jennie D says:

    Love that skirt! Sewing is something I have no idea how to do. It’s on my list to learn someday when the kids are a bit older and I have more free time. (at least that is what I keep telling myself)

  10. Marian says:

    Sergers scare me a bit!! My mom is a professional seamstress so I grew up with sewing machines, including sergers, but I’ve barely tried my hands at it, much less have my own (and my parents lives 3 hours away these days)…maybe, maybe I’ll be brave enough to try it again cause that is one awesome skirt!!

  11. Jenny says:

    LOVE the skirt! I am enjoying my serger right now, too. I bought it months ago but we are just now getting to be friends. I oiled it for the first time the other day, and I can’t believe how worried I was over the whole thing. It looks complicated but it’s not so bad!

  12. Sharon says:

    Hi not sure if you can read comments on old posts but I have been hankering for you skirt for ages. Finally cut up some recycled t’s tonight but my skirt came out bumpy and terrible. Did you use a pattern and is there a trick to sewing on an overlocker without making the lumps and bumps. I am guessing it might be sewing really really straight but I can’t seem to manage the look you get. Any way at least I tried!

  13. Rachel Wolf says:

    Hmmm…. Can you adjust the differential feed on your machine? I dont really even know what that means but I think it might help! 🙂 I had a cheap simple serger and hand unpredictable frustrating results. Got a nice one and this was my first project. Or maybe its a tension issue? Sorry I cant help more. Keep at it!

  14. Rachel Wolf says:

    Hi Lisa,

    I literally just cut up a few old t-shirts into random rectangles and pieced them together. Then I cut off a tight tee shirt for a waistband. Sorry I cant offer more advice! Embrace the chaos. 😉 

Leave a Reply