November 5, 2007

Oh, Baby

I have dreamed about owning a serger for a very long time. Since before I really knew what a serger was used for, truth be told. My mom, who made me many wonderful outfits when I was a child, used to lament her limitations with regard to knits and stretchy fabrics. As an 80's teenager I was forced to craft stirrup pants without the benefit of this mythical machine. Although they turned out fine, I was sure they would have been better had I used a serger. Bathing suits and riding breeches were dreamed about but never made because it wasn't worth buying the fabric if you didn't have a serger.

When I was at university, I found a promotional contest with a serger as the grand prize in Canadian Living magazine and decided I would enter and win. Note that I did not intend simply to enter, but to enter and win. It was my first attempt at manifesting destiny and I had no doubts about my prospects of success. And why not? My apartment was filled with loot that my roommate's mother had procured by way of contests. Bicycles, T-shirts, electronics, appliances - Mrs. H. won them all. For several years in a row her winnings included at least one destination vacation, cruise or automobile. Mrs. H. approached the contest gig as a business, recording her expenses and the value of her winnings and she kept going only as long as she was making a profit. She even had a system: she only participated in contests that allowed multiple entries, and she sent in hundreds. When I decided to win the serger, Mrs. H. was in the middle of an extremely lucrative streak and I was eager to follow in her footsteps.

I have long since forgotten specific details, but I do remember that the contest rules specified that you could send in multiple entries as long as they weren't mechanically reproduced. So, one Sunday afternoon shortly before midterms, I sat down and wrote out my name, address and phone number on 100 slips of paper. It took a lot longer than I had anticipated and I started feeling a little uneasy about the studying that I was not doing. I had to wait until Monday to go to the post office for stamps. My quivers of doubt turned into sticker shock when I realized that 100 stamps were going to cost $40 - more than I was spending on groceries for a week. But I had already sealed my entries into $12 worth of envelopes so there was no turning back. I affixed the stamps and watched the envelopes disappear into the dark mouth of the mailbox.

I don't know if the envelopes ever reached their destination, but it turns out that I'm no prize winner . I continue to make my donation to worthy fund raising raffles, but I don't delude myself into thinking I might win something. Twice my name was selected for door prizes at work functions and twice I was disqualified because I wasn't present for the drawing. Once I was in the bathroom throwing up after accidentally eating gluten. I didn't even make it to the second party because my car wouldn't start and I was unable to get a taxi due to a huge snowstorm.

Well, I may not be lucky, but I am finally the proud owner of a brand-new Baby Lock Imagine serger. On the advice of several members of the Bend-The-Rules Sewing Flickr group I headed to my nearest independent sewing center to test-drive a few. Carol and Marie were extremely helpful in guiding me through the various features and comparing makes and models. They gave me a pile of scrap fabric and let me play by myself for over an hour, after which I decided I either had to buy one or spend the night in the store. Fortunately they had one in stock (and on sale!) so I was able to bundle it into my car along with several miles of thread. I hear that stirrup pants are back in style. I'm so ready.


lina said...

Oh my goodness, those first two lines - that's exactly how I feel about sergers! I'm not sure how I'd use it, but I'm certain I'd be somehow more industrious and accomplished if I had one! Thanks for the advice. Enjoy!

Amy said...

I'm doing some serious thinking about buying this serger and I'd love to hear about your experience with it now that you've had it a while.
Also, I'm debating buying it on Ebay or from a dealer and I can't decide if the dealer support/relationship is worth paying more than double what I could get it for used on Ebay.
Would love your perspective on this.