Customer Reviews: Sewing with Sergers: The Complete Handbook for Overlock Sewing (Serging . . . from Basics to Creative Possibilities series)
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on October 2, 1998
"This humble little book is one of the best basic serger reference books on the market. It has line drawings only, with no photos and is pocket size -- not a big glossy beauty at all. But boy is it loaded with the information you need! I'm a sucker for beautiful books and fell for another basic serger book that is big and beautiful. But guess what? It doesn't begin to answer my questions in the way Gail Brown and Patty Palmer's book does. The smaller size of this book lets it snuggle right up to machine where I find myself thumbing through it all the time.
The book has a good section on serger features and how they are adjusted on various machines. This was a great help when I was shopping for my machine. The section I turn to most often (novice serger that I am) is the section describing basic stitches and their approrpirate uses. A comprehensive table describes how the machine forms each stitch, how it looks when correctly stitched and the advantages, disadvantages and typical uses of each. Another section offers excellent diagrams of stitches with incorrect tension and how to make the correcting adjustments. Almost half of the book covers serger applications in every type of sewing from business dress to children's clothes to home decor. The detail includes construction adaptations and sequences.
All in all this is a jam packed reference. You probably can't find a more comprehensive book anywhere at three times the cost of this one!"
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on October 18, 2002
I just bought my first serger and once it was out of the box I realized I was going to need help. I bought 3 books: This one (the one I am reviewing), along with "The Complete Serger Handbook" and "The Ultimate Serger Answer Guide". After reading all of them I am glad I have all of them....they each address different needs.
This book is wonderful once you are comfortable using your machine (ie. you can thread it and get the stitches to look like they are supposed to). It gives great advise on how to approach many different sewing projects so as to maximize the value of serging over sewing and save you time and hassle as well.
The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because although it has great diagrams (and plenty of them), I prefer actual photos (in color).
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on June 23, 2000
I checked out all the books on serging at the library after purchasing my four-thread machine. I am a novice and I found this book, while lacking some of the extended detail of others to be very easy to move through and a good reference. I especially liked their section on the order to assemble garments and other tips to speed up serging. It has good, crisp hand-drawn illustrations, and I plan to purchase a copy to keep by my machine.
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on July 13, 2006
The first 8 chapters of this book are in your owners manual. Chapter 1 (what is a serger), Chapter 2 (which one to buy), Chapter 3 (thread and threading), Chapter 4 (cutting your pattern) chapter 5-8(curved seams,securing ends, sewing order and, tension balance) all already in my manual. Chapters 9-20 get a little more interesting but seems a little dated. There are tips on how to make a leotard, stirrup pants and leg warmers. First copyright is from 1985 not its not improved much in the third edition. I would have enjoyed some better pictures too. If you have a decent manual this really isn't the book for you. For me it was too dated and too basic.
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on November 7, 2008
What a disappointment! There is nothing in this book that hasn't been done and done MUCH better in other books. There are next to no instructions on techniques. For example, under the section "Gathers" there are exactly 2 SMALL paragraphs that tell you it can be done on a serger, but basically the only instructions on how to do it are "tighten your tension". It tells you you can gather over cord, but doesn't tell you how. As mentioned in other reviews there are no actual pics, just line drawings that are of little to no help. I was astonished when I read some of the glowing reviews written by others, and had to check 3 times to make sure we were talking about the same book. Personally I found this book pretty much useless; your money is far better spent buying Serger Secrets!
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on June 10, 2005
I bought a second hand old serger with no user manual, and this little book got me started even if I had absolutely no notion on how to operate a serger.
The book covers all the basic issues in a clear way both in text and with diagrams. It also helped me to recognise my machine's features and characteristics. I am currently starting to peruse the sections about serging different kinds of projects and garments and it keeps being a good book, giving generic notions and how-tos instead of being yet another collection of patterns.

Maybe, if you got your user manual and an expert friend willing to get you started, you won't need a book like this, but to me it was just what I needed.
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on September 27, 2007
I have purchased LOTS of different serger books, all of which teach you how to thread your machine and adjust for a balanced stitch, many of which suggest weird "crafty" applications for sergers -- but this is the first book I've found that tells you how to start incorporating your serger into a variety of basic garment construction: children's wear, underpants, jeans, sweaters -- you name it. The clothing styles in the illustrations are a bit dated, and I wish the book was larger and had color photos rather than line illustrations so as to be easier on the eyes, but the techniques apply just as easily to current fashions. The content of this book more than makes up for the lackluster visual appeal. How to adapt commercial pattern instructions, change sewing order, and techniques for the serger in garment construction, proper threads and needles for different types of fabrics are all covered well. This might not be the ONLY serger book you'll ever need, but it will be a handy reference for any new serger owner or for anyone who has been using their serger just to overcast seam allowances and who wants to learn more.
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on May 25, 2000
Something about this book. It's a good little book. However, it goes into machine performance and all of that should be covered in your Serger manual. So to me it was wasted space and information. It had helpful idea's. But I felt like I was reading a dated book. If you can get past the dated looking pictures there is a good amount of information in this book. They touch on serging aerobic, swimwear, lingerie, lace, and other areas also. It's written to were you can understand it. If you are a beginner and just bought a serger this book will be of help. I did refer to it when I was applying elastic for the first time. And have referred to other times also. I do keep it close to my machines.
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on June 12, 2011
As an experienced sewer I am very comfortable and adept with my sewing machine but the serger was a little scary. Then I accidentally cut a hole in a garment I was serging and I put the serger away. I purchased this book and several others to help me overcome my serger fear and begin using this amazing machine. I have been following the steps slowly and am getting more comfortable with it. I highly recommend it for beginners because it is very detailed and for more experienced users, as it has provides helpful hints and insights for a variety of uses.
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on January 22, 2002
This book makes even a beginner like myself feel excited and not intimidated to use a serger. Lots of creative idea's easy to use and understand very helpful
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