I'm making a satin dress, and I thought I was going to get through the whole project without a single run in my fabric. I am using a Microtex (sharp) needle and it produces beautiful results. My new walking foot keeps the fabric from slipping. Everything was perfect until I ran the edges through the serger with a dull blades and my fabric snagged in several places. Awesome.
I had suspected the cutting blades were dull, but I didn't know what to do about it.
A serger has an upper knife and a lower knife. The lower knife is stationary and sits flush with the edge of the needle plate. You feed your fabric into the serger, onto the lower knife. The upper knife starts high, above the lower knife. Then, it rotates down onto the lower knife, thus cutting the fabric before it gets serged.
This is what the serger blades look like:
Serger blades are beautiful things, except when they are dull. When this happens you have three options:
1. Go to your friendly sewing machine / serger repair man, and he will repair or replace it.
2. Get online and order new blades. They are really easy to remove; all you need is a Phillips screwdriver in a few places. The cost depends on your serger make and model. It would have been $50 to replace mine! Ouch!
3. If you are lucky enough to have a water stone, you can remove the knives and sharpen them yourself, FOR FREE! (You can buy one for around $30.) My husband uses a water stone to sharpen our kitchen knives. I wasn't sure if it would work, but I didn't have anything to lose, so he tried it for me.
It's easier than sharpening a knife. With a knife, you have to hold the knife above the whet stone at an angle, and draw it across the stone. With a serger blade, simply rest the surface of the blade flush with the stone and draw it across 10-20 times. Draw it across the rough side of the stone first, and then the smooth side.
(If you don't have a stone for sharpening knives, Sur La Table sharpens knives for a small fee. They might be willing to sharpen your serger knives for free because they are so tiny.)
The tricky part was putting the upper knife back in position. That took a few tries...and a flashlight. Totally worth it! My knives are back in working order and it took only 10 minutes to fix.
Now, I should probably replace my serger needles. I've never done that before. How often do you replace your serger needles? Have your serger blades ever gone dull? What did you do about it? Please comment below.