Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tuesday Tips: tracking serger thread

I've been using my serger like crazy lately (OMGI'minlove...oh and bee tee dubs that is a fantastic price on Amazon right now, I paid more than that!). However, I don't have a bottomless sewing budget (more on that here) so I try to be mindful of how I'm using my thread. If you're not familiar with a serger, its most common setup uses 4 cones of thread. Two cones feed two needles, and two cones feed two fancy doo-hickeys called loopers (there is no bobbin).

The two loopers use more thread than the two needles. Sadly, this means that two cones could run out and leave you weeping in the middle of an unfinished project. To avoid this sad fate, I make sure to switch my cones about halfway through them, moving the two needle cones over to the loopers and vice versa.

But that's not the trick! The trick is how to remember which cone was where. I change thread colors often (I try not to, but I get bored sewing the same color garments over and over) and I quickly realized I needed a system to remember which cones were where. 

Do you know about washi tape? It's awesome (I got mine from Pick Your Plum around Christmas). Okay, it's just tape, but it's colorful and low-tack, which means I could use it to color-code my serger thread. I put one strip of tape on my serger where the cones sit, and then when I take a cone off the machine, I use a second strip in the same color and put that onto the cone itself. Easy peesy! Next time I know that the cones with red striped tape were last used with the needles, and to move those over to the loopers.

Do you have a system for tracking serger thread? Or are you good at eyeballing it? 


  1. Well, I was planning on getting the serger for a a Christmas present. Now it's either going to be an early Christmas present or an incredibly useful splurge. :) I checked the price history, and it's only been that low on Amazon a handful of times.

    1. Yeah, it was definitely over $200 when I got mine a few months ago. I checked the price daily while I was saving up and sometimes it would jump $30 overnight! Crazy. But it's definitely an awesome thing to have, I'm so glad I got mine!

      Have I been a bad enough influence for you yet? :)

  2. i never even thought about the 2 looper cones running out first. i haven't had my serger for that long so i haven't noticed yet because the cones still look pretty full. i just have white and black cones and i haven't kept track of the locations i put each cone when i switch them out. but thanks for the heads up, that makes sense!


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