Brother 1034D Serger

Back to it with a new serger

Hello, friends! I’m back – and I brought a serger with me!

With my preference for knits, I decided to invest in a serger – a low end one, as I’m still pretty new to sewing (has it been almost 2 years already? Yowza!). It’s the Brother 1034D serger, and for as scary as people make sergers sound, it’s terribly easy to run and even to thread. I’ve had the machine since February and have only done test runs with it until now, because I was afraid to attempt to rethread it, but didn’t want to make any actual garments with the Crayola-colored thread that it comes with. This week, I got brave, and I’m so glad I did.

For those of you with the same serger (and the same fears about threading it), I found this video to be quite helpful: How I Thread My Brother 1034D Serger. The camera does go in and out of focus a lot (which drove my eyes bonkers), but after watching closely a few times, I figured it all out and was able to successfully rethread my serger on my first try. There are several other good videos on the topic, but this one had a few great tips that stuck out – like labeling the serger itself. (Now I need a label maker!) Have no fear and get in there!

My first 2 garment attempts on the serger were from the Mesa shift dress pattern from the June 2015 issue of Seamwork Magazine. It’s an adorable and super-easy pattern (rated as a 1-hour project, though it took me closer to an hour and a half on both tries). Unfortunately, it’s just not a flattering style for my body type. Even with some pattern adjustments, it’s a bit too clingy in the midsection. While I won’t be wearing my Mesas for more than pajamas, they did give me a chance to get used to sewing on the serger and using a twin needle for hems.

This is the time of year when I typically resolve to dress up a bit more at work come┬áSeptember, so I really wanted to find a quick and comfy knit dress pattern to knock out some new outfits. I do really like the Colette Moneta pattern, but after wearing some of my previous Moneta makes this summer, I’ve grown less fond of the elastic waist. It gets to be itchy on the inside as the day wears on, and I haven’t found any real solutions to try.

I spent some time surfing around for a new knit pattern to try, and kept coming upon the beloved Lady Skater dress by Kitschy Coo. I had purchased this pattern as part of one of the 2014 Perfect Pattern Parcel promos, but was wary of making it up for a few reasons. First, it’s a PDF pattern with no copy shop version. I’m not a fan of the tedium of cutting and assembling PDF patterns, not to mention the fact that for some reason, I’m pretty terrible at getting them to line up. Second, I would have to do some pattern grading right out of the box, because while my upper half fits within the pattern’s size range, my lower half does not. I’m not opposed to pattern grading, but I haven’t had terribly good luck with it. I didn’t want to invest so much time in prepping the pattern only to be disappointed again.

However, the reviews for the Lady Skater were just fabulous across the board, and it looked great on every single person that posted their makes, regardless of body type. T reviewed her Lady Skater makes over at the Curvy Sewing Collective, and doggone if they don’t look fabulous. The dog is not gone. They look fabulous.

That sealed the deal. Last night, I printed out the pattern, cut out the pages, taped them (awkwardly) together, made some pattern modifications, and cut some fabric. Today, I assembled the dress, and… hoorah! Success! I will have photos and the full story soon (once I can get some sunlight to get some pictures).

In the meantime, I need to get back to knit stash building, as I’ve only got 2 knit fabrics left to make Lady Skaters from!

Join the conversation

  • Alicia @ Pandora Sews - 4 years ago

    I have this same serger, and I love it. It’s an easy to use little with horse. My only complaint is that it doesn’t do a cover stitch, but that’s what twin needles are for. I don’t sew many dresses, but so many people have had great success with the Lady Skater, I can’t wait to see yours.

    • Shelly - 4 years ago

      Every time I see the word “coverstitch” come up, I want to get another machine! But I would have no place to put it (my sewing room shares the “home office” with 2 computers), so that keeps me from buying one… for now. ­čÖé