Ain't that the truth? Serger threading is nothing less that absolutely, positively mind bending. You get bent out of shape just thinking about it! I know sewing people who've actually purchased two sergers so they don't have to change out thread colors. They keep them threaded in black or white. Yeah. This is the bain of a sewist's/sergerist's/overlockist's existence. I thought that once and for all, it was time for me to give a little insight into the easier tie off version of threading your already threaded serger. In my sometimes sewing teacher life, I teach a very basic class on getting to know your serger. We thread the hard way and then I show you this way once you've got a threaded serger. Every time I teach the class, I'll have you know, everyone always says that they've tried the "knot off/tie off" way of rethreading their serger and it never works. Let me tell you something - it never worked for me either until I figured out how I could do it without ending up in a pool of my own tears by the end of it all. Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Babylock. Just so happens that's the serger I'm tutorializing on today. Also, for those of you who have those fancy schmancy self-threading sergers,
Start by clipping the threads off your serger cones. Keep your threads long enough to tie a knot in them easily. Key words here - "long" & "easily." Ask me how I know how to do this the hard way and I'll give you a dissertation. For some sergers/overlockers, its easier to clip the threads before they go into the thread guides (that contraption that goes up and down, you know). Do whichever is easier for your machine.
Now make sure that the presser foot on your serger/overlocker is raised. The key here is that the presser foot acts as another point of tension (this, in addition to the tension discs where the numbers are). When you raise the presser foot, the thread pulls through much easier than if your were to have the presser foot lowered.
Now tie off the serger threads with the new color of choice. I'm using black here, the original color was red just in case that wasn't obvious. When you tie off the serger threads to a new color, make sure that your knots are not going to come apart when you pull on the thread. Give the knots a little tug from each end just to make sure. There is nothing worse - NOTHING! - than having the lower looper knot come undone whilst trying to pull it through. Yes. That damned lower looper and I swore there because that thing was forged in hell by Satan himself!
First we're going to bring the needle threads through and then the loopers. So grab your needle threads by the threads at the point just before the thread goes through the eye of the needles. Keep in mind that I've said we're only working on the needle threads here. One big mistake I find, is that people try to pull all four threads through at once and inevitably they end up breaking. Also, I'm telling you to grab the threads before the eye of the needle as the knots will not got through the eye anyway. Grab those threads, clip them and then pull the threads through until the knots come through. Clip off the knots. Know right now that you will have to re-thread the eye of the needles.
Next, grab the tail of the chained serger thread and pull the looper threads through. Quick note here: Since I've had the pleasure of working with several different brands of sergers, I've found that some sergers do this easier than others. If you're having trouble pulling the threads, try pulling one at a time, or pull each thread individually through the tension discs and then through the rest of the looper.
Rethread your needle threads, however you do that. Sigh.
Last, but not least, hold onto your threads - all four of them - tightly and give the foot pedal a little surge (ha ha, pun!) and chain off. Be sure to hold all four threads too because second only to the knot coming out of the lower looper, there is nothing worse - NOTHING - than having one of the threads get sucked back into the serger and then you have a complete meltdown because a) you have to manually thread the entire serger and b) its all knotted and well, knotted. You die a little inside when this happens. Seriously. All that work and then that happens. The pit of despair opens up beneath you and you huck your serger in there and then throw yourself in there with it. Firmly grab all four threads.
One more thing. If you're having a bit of tension trouble after you've re-threaded this way, before changing all the tension on your machine, make sure that the threads have lodged themselves nicely into the tension discs. Many times I found that the thread wasn't actually caught in the tension discs and then no matter what number it was on, the tension wasn't working. It was mind-boggling! Now go ye forth and re-thread that serger the easy way!
Since none of the bad things happened whilst drawing up this tutorial, I'm off to serge! Enjoy friends!