Sunday, January 11, 2015


Betsy and I cleaned this nice, "vintage 90s" Over lock sewing machine (AKA serger) today.  It is a nice little machine.  Quiet and from the beginning, stitched beautifully with all of the tension settings at "3." It was made by Juki for Bernina.  Maybe Bernina was still making sergers in the early 90s, but I know that my Bernina 2000CDE is just like my Juki.  I wonder if this was marketed as a less expensive alternative back then.

We don't know a lot about sergers (Sheesh, do I sound like an eBay seller, or what?) They are not at all like sewing machines. 

"Should we take off that plate and see what's underneath?" Miss "I have a Screw driver and I am not afraid to use it" asked.

"Why Not?" said I.

BFD, thought I.  We swept it out and applied one drop of oil to the metal connections.  I caught a glimpse of the gears and determined that they looked fine.

"We could take the back off and really look at them." she said, again wielding that Phillips Head menacingly.

"No." I said with authority.  And since I was the Boss for the Day, she agreed.

We had it all clean and ready to go.  We plugged it in and there was absolutely nothing.  No light, no juice no nothing.  Betsy tightened the light bulb and that worked.  Good sign.  But there was NOTHING when we tried the foot controller. 

I suggested that maybe, for safety reasons, it wouldn't work if it was all open.  We closed up the side and the front; success.

 It is a bit of a pain to thread.  We needed the over lock threader   (about a hundred of them came with the South River stash).  I did not have trouble following the diagrams and directions in the manual.  Betsy complained, bitterly, about them.

"Why don't they write the directions more clearly?" she moaned.  Maybe it was because I had just threaded up the 2000CDE yesterday that I had less difficulty. 

It is a bit tricky to get the thread looped around the first guide.

 But we managed.  Once we understood how to do it, we were much more adept each time.

Getting the thread through the lower looper is a bit tricky.  You have to pull the thread through from the left (it helps to realize that the machine opens on that side) loop it over the looper from back to front  and then pass it back through to the right side to thread it through the hole in the looper.  Good thing we had four hands.

Betsy likes to sew fast and she loves to put all the power to the motor of any machine, including her car.  She let me take the first few stitches.  We tried it out on some muslin and then on some fleece: very, very, very nice.

 If I didn't already have two sergers, I would keep this one.  It is so nice.  Admittedly my 2000CDE is easier to thread and has more features (i.e. cover stitch capable) .  Oh, and it is a Bernina, though I am sure it is also made by Juki.  Still, I am a snob and it is the only Bernina I own.  Not that I could sell it, ever.  It was Mom's. 

Wilson was disinterested, though that is no surprise.   I am trying to keep him quiet for the next couple of weeks.  He has a tumor on his spleen and should it crack, it could bleed and cause him some significant pain.    He will undergo a splenectomy in a couple of weeks and if all goes well, will be cured.  He sure did perk up when Steve brought home some Brook's Barbeque (chicken).


  1. A server is all a mystery to me. Wilson's eyes say it all, poor puppy!

  2. I hope your dog feels better soon, my cat has some kind of mass on his back that I am worried about. I need a serger, I've never had one so am leary of buying a used one from a yard sale or something and good new ones are so expensive.

  3. Betsy is NEVER "the boss." She has many other devious ways of getting her "own way," (quite often resorting to "puppy eyes" and "guilt tripping...") Sent her this last night about the Bernette 334D:

    from yahoo

    "The Bernette 334D and 334DS sergers were built for Bernina in the 1980s and were fine machines for their time. They were built by the Juki Sewing Machine Company, makers of some of the finest industrial sewing machines and sergers. I remember working as a technician in a Bernina Dealership when these machines came to market and was very impressed with their quality, both in manufacturing and in the stitch they delivered. If you want a good, basic serger, with differential feed and easy tensions, and the gee-gaws and fancy stuff don't impress you, then the Bernette 334D is the one for you. By the way, I can have any serger I want, and I own the Bernette 334DS."

  4. I have that very machine. Bought it used about ten years ago. Lovely machine. Almost traded it in on a new one and realized I didn't need "more" serger.

  5. I am circling one of these beauties to replace a new Janome overlocker that I feel very average about so I think you have made up my mind for me. I would love to find out the difference between the D and the DS but Ms Google has not found that info nor has Sewing Pattern Review website (? Name. I have no memory). I love your blog and I especially love your photo captions. Thank you. I am a pedestrian sewing machine explorer in Australia and have 7 vintage Berninas. My greatest delight is cleaning them and tinkering inside of them. I have changed the upright gear in a 730 recorded. I love saying that. My mechanic had to spend hours re-assembling it so it would sew but I actually did the gear change myself. I hang onto that with great love.

  6. I'm thinking about Wilson right now and wish I could pet him. What a beautiful dog.

    I have a Bernette 335 which I believe is the 5-thread version of your machine. It runs very well but the timing is slightly off and timing an overlocking machine is not for the inexperienced (meaning myself but you could probably do it). The 335 has differential feed and can do a number of different stitches so if anyone reading this comes across a 335 for a great price, it might also be a good option.

  7. Poor Wilson, hope he gets well quickly.

  8. Get better, Wilson. (Doesn't he "take it easy" beautifully?)

  9. I have just been gifted with a Bernette 334D from a friend's yard sale, belonged to her late mother in law who was a Brit, so it has a European plug. How do I make the switch to American? Thanks!

    1. I don't know. Perhaps an electrician could help you out

  10. Does the Bernette 334DS require an overlock needle? I cleaned and oiled the shank this morning and now the overlock is working except the under thread is super loose and also the needles are not doing the straight stitch. I have turned it off, rethreaded it, changed needles and am at loss. Any suggestions for me?