After completing my project for the charity sew for the Lansing Chapter of the American Sewing Guild, I still could not think of anything I wanted to sew for myself. I decided to focus on learning something new, but I didn’t know what that something was. I tried to think of some sewing technique I could learn and then incorporate it into a garment. Still, no ideas. I had all this time on my hands and could not think of anything to sew! Finally, while I was entertaining myself by scrolling through Facebook, I noticed Country Stitches had featured some serger purse patterns from Deb Canham Studio. I might be able to get interested in making a purse with my serger. That would give me the opportunity to learn to use my serger for something other than just finishing the seams on garments. I wondered if one of the purses had a zipper enclosure. I don’t like a purse with a magnetic closure. I much prefer the security of a zipper. I called Country Stitches and Nicole told me the pattern required a zipper. The pattern was “Flat Lock Purse on the Serger” by Deb Canham Studio. I was familiar with the flatlock stitch, so I figured I would not have any problems.
I purchased my serger, a Baby Lock Ovation, about four years ago. I took the classes to learn to use it, but of course I never practiced what I learned. I started making a different serger purse a couple of years ago with a sewing group, but we never finished it. It seemed complicated and overwhelming at the time. This pattern looked a lot simpler. Besides, I had plenty of time to figure it out because the “Stay at Home” order would be in effect until June 12th.
Everything went well for a while. I cut the purse out and got the outside pieced together using the 2 thread flatlock wide stitch. I even inserted ribbon and added trim. No problem. Then I had to set the serger up for the chain stitch. Of course, I did not remember how to do that! I read the instructions in my manual and everything went well until I tried to lower the knife. The knife would not stay down and it is impossible to do a chain stitch with the knife up. So, I took the serger to Country Stitches to be repaired.
After I got the serger back, I resumed my self-training. I got the chain stitch figured out and quilted each section of the purse. Then I moved to the wave stitch. The instructions in the manual were clear, so I understood how to set the machine up to do the wave stitch. However, there was a problem. I needed to use decorative thread in both the upper and lower loopers. I was able to get the decorative thread through the upper looper, but it would not thread through the lower looper. I noticed the problem of threading the loopers with heavier decorative thread was discussed in the Techniques Section of the manual. I thought I would just use regular thread because I did not want to take the time to learn to do that. I tried using the regular serger thread on a sample of a wave stitch and it was not pretty; in fact, it was ugly. I remembered I had nothing but time on my hands and the purpose of this project was to learn to use my serger. I picked up the manual and read the instructions. They were quite easy to follow.
The zipper on the purse was installed using the cording foot and flatlock wave stitch. I didn’t even know I had that stitch, but it was easy to do by following the instructions in the pattern. It is amazing what you can learn by actually reading directions.
I made the handle using my sewing machine. The pattern called for making the strap using the triple cover stitch and a belt binder, but I did not have one. Now that I think about it, I wonder if a belt binder might be one of those many extra feet I have for the serger. I will have to check that out and experiment with it if I have it.
This was a great learning experience for me. I learned a lot about my serger and a little about myself. I learned my serger will not bite, so it is okay to try stitches when I am not sure how to do them. It is also prudent to read the manual and not be “chicken” to try something new. Pictures of my purse are shown below. The pattern is actually a disk that you use to print out the instructions for the purse.
I hope you are having fun sewing. Keep learning!