1034D – Licenced to Serge

Not sure where to start? Feeling the fear?  Check out these tips to get started with your new serger.

You must be wondering what happened to my serger I got for Christmas? Well, I'm embarrassed but I just never found the time! I enrolled in the Beginner Serging Class on Craftsy and then never found the time to watch it, and was afraid to make a start without knowing what I was doing.

So while hubby was out an an event, I sat down with a big cup of coffee, my manual and my class and tried to put my fear aside.

The lovely instructor in the class, Amy, is SUCH a sweetie and she gave me confidence that nothing terrible was going to happen if I just turned it on and pressed the pedal. She was right of course – it just worked. In fact it was absolutely fascinating to watch it work and then I just couldn't wait to get started.

If you are still looking at your serger and unsure where to start or feeling the same dread and confusion that I was – honestly, it's not so bad.  The class will take away all your fear and suddenly it's an exciting new tool to use to improve your sewing, not a monster sat in the corner waiting to cut your fingers off (yes I was afraid that would happen!)

Let's take a look briefly at the class and then I'll show you what I did to overcome my fear.


Beginning Serging Class Review

I know several of you bought the same serger I did when it went on sale just before Christmas on Amazon.  The Brother 1034D. It seems to be probably the most popular serger on the market and has sold in it's thousands, this same model now for years. The good news is, this is one of the sergers Amy looks at in the class.  She looks at 3 different models, including this Brother, although she works mostly on one of the other machines in the class for her projects.

Lesson 1 

  • About Amy
  • About the Craftsy platform
  • What's covered in this class
  • Getting ready to start


Amy shows us the serger reference book we are going to make during the class so that we can refer back to it later for the settings for our own machines when using the various stitches and differing fabrics etc.  What a great idea!

There are a lot of class materials supplied including the pages for your reference book to make, as well as the class projects.

Lesson 2 – Your serger and how it works

  • Serger accessories
  • Thread stands and guides
  • Handwheel
  • Tension dials and looper covers
  • Threading and the presser foot
  • Plates, fingers and feed dogs
  • Upper and Lower loopers
  • Blades and cutting dials
  • Needles and clamps
  • Knobs and dials
  • Threading the Bernina
  • Changing colors


The nitty-gritty of the class is ALL in this one excellent lesson.  You'll learn so much about all of the parts and accessories and tips on threading etc.  Threading the Brother isn't specifically shown, but by watching how Any did hers, and then referring to my manual, I was able to thread mine correctly the first time!  Yay – one of my worst fears banished.

Once I feel I am proficient and have done it a few times from scratch, I'll try to make some pictures and a video of the Brother 1034D threading in case any one out there is struggling or could use some extra clear pictures.  The CDs that came with the Brother Machine are adequate shall we say, but really could do with some updating and a clearer look.

Maybe Brother would offer me the chance to remake them or give them an update – I'd love to do something like that one day.

Lesson 3 – Basic Stitches

I had no idea the serger was so versatile!  Looks like it can do far more than I was expecting which is a nice surprise.  Here we look at the settings you can use and how to set up for all sorts of stitches, and it's time for us to work on our samples and make records for our stitching reference book we are creating.

  • 4 thread overlock
  • 3 thread overlock
  • 3 thread flatlock
  • 3 thread narrow seam
  • 3 thread rolled hem
  • 2 thread overlock
  • 2 thread wrapped overlock
  • 2 thread rolled hem
  • Using a stablizer
  • Stitch issues, and picking the right needle for your project
  • 2 thread flatlock

The Brother is a 3 or 4 thread machine so the 2-thread stitches don't work for me, but I think I've already got enough to work on anyway, so I'm not disappointed.


I set up my machine for the 4 thread overlock, I suppose the ‘standard' stitch for the machine and made some samples.  I twiddled with my tension settings just a very little until I was happy that it looked right according to the examples that Amy showed us and then I was ready to sew.

Sewing with my serger for the first time!

That's all I've done in the class so far, but there are projects and a lot more to look at such as tension settings and issues, but once I had the basic grounding and seen the machine in action it was time for me to put my fears aside and give it a try on my own.


I think that using a serger is like getting your pilot's licence.  Once you have learned the basic skills of taking off, flying and landing, you just have to log the hours until your become confident and proficient.  So I found some time and sat to do just that.

Rather than just cut strips of fabric to practice on, I thought I would try to do something I could use.  I had a pretty Jelly Roll that I had bought from Blitsy but never used yet, and the long thing strips seemed perfect for running through the serger, getting used to the speed, how it felt, checking the tension, seeing where the blade was cutting.  Just getting used to the whole process.


So I ran ALL the jelly roll strips though the machine and I varied how I sewed them.  Some I sewed with the edges of the fabric right up to the blade, but not cutting.  Some I did where I lined up the fabric with the right hand edge of the flat bed in front of the machine, and some I did where I tried to line up with the 5/8th of an inch mark on the front of the machine.  Some pieces weren't cut at all, some only cut a little and the third set cut a little more again.

As I sewed, this created a set of strips of varying widths to give my project a little bit of variety and give me a little bit of practice so I could really start to log my hours and head towards getting my ‘licence to serge'.


The real joy comes on the back.  Once everything was pressed, just look at those seams and raw edges! It'all so neat and pretty with no fraying or stay threads sticking out anywhere.  Looks very lovely and very strong.


Here's a little close up.  How is my tension?  I can see a few loops on the edges of the fabric on some of those strips – probably the ones where I sewed without cutting off any fabric.  But otherwise, those of you with more serger experience, do you think the stitches look OK?


What I wasn't prepared for was all the mess I made.  Working with a jelly roll is always a bit messy anyway because they just seem to shred this fabric dust everywhere when you unroll them and then again when you sew, but the floor, the machine, my clothes, the cat, everything was covered by the time I had finished.


So that's where I am so far.  Feeling much more comfortable.  If you haven't started yet, do try out the class with Amy, Beginning Serging on Craftsy and then get yourself a jelly roll or some strips of fabric and put the hours in until it feels comfortable for you too.

Then we can move onto other fun stitches and skills.  But now, what to make with that big piece of striped fabric I created?  Another quilt top perhaps?




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I used to seww all of the time; made all of my clothes since I was a teen. Don’t sew much any mor; I am now 78. I needed your guide on how to thread my 1034D overlock because ithad been so long since Iused it. It was so good and so helpful. THANK YOU<3

Terri C

I have this serger and I’ve been scared to try it for much. Really like this idea to use it for a really quick quilt! I think I will try this, thanks sew much 🙂


I’ve been eyeing a brother serger at Walmart? Need feedback from any of you folks willing to share your experiences on sergers. A serger is on my wish list for Christmas. I possess several sewing machines (1 Kenmore, 1 Singer, 3 Brother/purchased within 40 yrs. of marriage ). I think the “fear” of a serger is almost gone. Don’t want anything too difficult or expensive. Thanks!


I have a pfaff 5.5 creative vision I bought on ebay everything was fine, embroidery was fantastic, quilting was great and then there went my sewing machine, so I took it in for service and was told the part was $250.00 and $100 to put it in and to top it off she tells me that might not be the problem, so I taking it else where especially after she tells me to keep it for oarts, PARTS I paid thousands of dollars for this machine, anyway I do have a brothers serger 1034D (I believe) and only used it formsewing, now I am going to use it to make jelly roll quilts the only downfall is how do you quilt it when it’s finished? Is there a trick to it maybe serging each block first not sure any suggestions, and how to you put binding on it from a serger? I’m scared but willing to try! And I’m not giving up on my Pfaff I love that machine! I also love this site the lady’s that give there time for free don’t get the recognition they deserve, so here is a BIG shout out to all the ladies that give there time, thank you!


I’m buying my serger this week, but bought the craftsy class first. I agree, great class. I took lots of notes, and hopefully it’ll lessen the learning curve on the 1034d.


Congrats Amy on taking the plunge!! I’m anxious to see what you do with your serger in the future and related to your garment-making! I also took Amy’s class and gained confidence. For those who are thinking/shopping may I suggest purchasing at a place (quilt shop?) where classes are offered. I have found that to be extremely helpful. I am learning decorative thread techniques that are amazing. And, honestly I was just thrilled with my rolled edges on napkins, and most recently a beautiful Christmas table cloth!! I’ve done the prettiest doggie scarves with rolled edges (just can’t stop – like an obsession because it just looks SO good and is SO much fun!!). I did learn from my classes that it is always best (for the neatest edge) to trim off some of the fabric while serging – if even just a sliver. Happy serging. Keep those videos coming PLEASE – you are SO helpful and encouraging!!

gail kantz
gail kantz
Reply to  gailk

I know you are DEBY!! Just a typo since I was thinking of the Amy video and Craftsy class!! :/

Karen J
Karen J

I don’t use canned air on my serger. It could blow lint into the machine and cause problems. I bought a 1 1/2 gallon Shop Vac with micro attachments. It does a great job of cleaning out my serger and sewing machine as well as cleanup on the floor in my sewing room.


Yay! I was waiting to hear how it was going. I purchased the class….next the serger!


I recently took the Craftsy Beginning Serger class too – it was great and I learned so much. As with all Craftsy classes I can watch it again and again. Which I probably will. Learning anything takes practice and when much time passes between my serging attempts its good to know I can refresh my memory with a glance and Amy’s instruction!
Thanks for sharing your review Deby


What a great idea to make the quilt top! Reminds me of learning to drive a car when you just want to drive in a straight line until you feel comfortable with the controls. I did that same course and found it was perfect for beginners and also for advanced sewers who have never experimented with the range of techniques available. I have the bernina that is used in the course and I am definitely in love with it! One stitch that was really surprising to me was the flatlock stitch. It makes a really nice decorative feature and was much stronger than I thought. Perhaps it would work well when extra length is needed on a sleeve for example with a contrast fabric. Keep up the great work Deby. You are a wonderful inspiration 🙂

Santana Harris
Santana Harris

Your review of the Beginner Serging class inspired me to sign up for it today (while it is 50% off) I have had my Babylock serger for a few years and haven’t done much with it. I’m hoping this class will inspire me to incorporate serging into my regular sewing routine. I always look forward to your posts and reading about your adventures in sewing. I also love your Tiered Top pattern and the article about Etsy Fabric shops.

karen c
karen c

i mostly use my serger to make clean more professional looking garments on the inside. I may sign up for the class to get more use out of it. I also use all those scraps to stuff dolls, pillows, etc. and I always serge any new material before washing and drying to get the shrinking out of it so it doesn’t ravel in the washer/dryer. Since I have learned the basics over time on my own, the threading at least. Would you recommend this class or is there a part 2?


Hey Deby, have you thought of drafting a serger cover? Seeing that this serger comes with that plastic cover. I’ve tried searching for one on line but could not find one to fit the brother serger nicely. Please put on your to do list.


Yes for sure, I have mine for over five years and it got a little rust because I didn’t think about the salt in the air and didn’t take it seriously. ( I live in the U.S. Virgin Islands). So I can’t wait to get mine cover reed up.

Becky M
Becky M

Your tensions and stitch length look good, and appropriate for the fabric. Good idea also. At least you have something useful in the end for all your serging practice. By the way, cotton fabrics make a lot of lint so don’t forget to blow out that serger after all that stitching. 🙂


Exciting isn’t it? Your stitches look fine. The ones with the loops showing are probably just what you said they are. How about a pencil skirt?


I hope you save all that off cut fabric as stuffing for something … maybe for a toy or small cushion?
If I have enough money left over from my bday bonus in April I might buy a singer overlocker … the brother is prohibitively expensive but I need to buy a special stethoscope for work first.


I don’t know the model number. Amazon doesnt ship appliances to south africa. The singer is abt R3500 and the brother is R7000.

Anne Gray
Anne Gray

Great piece of work. l have had this overlocker for several years now, it’s a great macine isn’t it.

Jann from Newton Custom Interiors

This class is on my list to watch too. Isn’t a great feeling to plunge in an tackle something you’ve been dreading? Like Jolien said, serging curves or corners can be tricky. That’s where I’m hoping to get something out of the class.


A quilt top would work! I always LOVE how fast it is, but for bags and such I g back to my regular sewing machine, though pretty, I feel it’s not as strong.

After straight, go for corners. I started off with an old tee I refashioned for my son (you could probably do the same from huge tee to your size). I had to get used to the space between the blade and the needle, first time I cut into the underarm, great lesson, but I was glad that I was using an old tee. 😉