Serger Stitches on the Baby Lock Imagine

Sew Skillfully - Serger Stitches

More serger fun today!  After I unpacked my new machine, I decided to invest a decent amount of time in learning how to use it properly.  I had never used a serger before (except for a quick and ill-fated attempt a few years ago), and I was legitimately concerned about breaking one of the very many moving parts that I had just invested so much money in.  So, I took a methodical approach and worked my way through the entire user manual, page by page, until I had explored all the capabilities of the machine.  How delightfully nerdy!

I decided to share my samples in a Sew Skillfully post, because (a) I haven’t done one in a while, and (b) I learned a TON of new skills during this process.  My eyes have really been opened to the inner workings of a serger and all the wonderful things it can do, yay!  I hope you enjoy reading about my exploration into foreign territory here.  I certainly enjoyed the journey!

Warning: this is a LONG post.  Grab a cuppa or just skim for techniques you find interesting.  🙂

Baby Lock Imagine serger stitches - manual

As I mentioned last time, I found the manual to be pretty detailed and easy to follow, and I appreciated the color-coded threading illustrations (which you can see above).  The skills were arranged in a logical order from basic to advanced – perfect for following along from cover to cover.  If you buy a serger and have limited serger experience, I’d definitely recommend this method.  It was time-consuming but extremely effective!

All right, let’s dive into the stitches!

4-Thread Overlock

I started off with a 4-thread overlock, which uses 2 needle threads and 2 looper threads.  I think (?) this is the standard stitch, since it was how my machine was threaded right out of the box.

Baby Lock Imagine serger stitches - stitch length and width

The first thing I played around with was stitch length and width.  The upper sample in the photo above shows stitch lengths from 1mm to 4 mm, and the middle sample shows stitch widths from 5.5 mm to 7.5 mm.  As you can see, there is a pretty dramatic difference in stitch lengths!  The difference in widths wasn’t very obvious, especially since these were all sewn using both needles.  When you remove the left needle and only sew with the right needle, you can get much thinner widths.  I’ll show some examples below.

In the bottom sample, I practiced sewing with the blade turned off, which causes the edge of the fabric to roll up into the stitching, depending on where you line up the fabric edge on the machine guides.  Ideally you’d align the fabric edge with the knife edge in this case, so no roll would form, and the stitches would wrap perfectly around the raw edge with no cutting necessary.  Lesson learned.

Differential Feed

Baby Lock Imagine serger stitches - differential feed

Next up: differential feed.  True confession: I had no idea what differential feed was until I started playing with the lever!  People talk about it all the time, but never really explain what it is.  For the official record, differential feed refers to the serger’s ability to adjust the rate of the front (before the needle) and back (after the needle) sets of feed dogs independently.  When the front moves faster than the back, the result is gathering.  When the back moves faster than the front, the result is a stretched out edge.  There you go!  🙂

Seriously, who knew sergers had 2 independent sets of feed dogs anyway??  Clearly I was out of the loop!

The photo above shows two samples using a differential feed above 1.0 (or “N” for normal), which causes gathering.  Numbers less than 1.0 cause stretching.  Apparently you can pull the needle threads (not the looper threads) and gather the fabric even more than the differential feed will produce, although I haven’t actually tried that yet.  So cool though!

3-Thread Overlock (including rolled edge)

To switch from a 4-thread overlock (which I was still using for the differential feed experiment), you remove the right needle to maintain a wide stitch, or remove the left needle to achieve a narrow stitch.  I thought this meant just removing the thread associated with that needle, but you have to actually physically remove the needle itself.  This involves a screwdriver, a funky-looking “needle insertion tool,” and a lot of hand-eye coordination.  It takes practice.

Baby Lock Imagine serger stitches - 3-thread overlock

But alas, you can see the tasty fruits of my labor above.  The wide or narrow 3-thread overlock will be useful for finishing edges, as the extra security of the 4th thread isn’t really needed like it would be in a seam.

To make the narrow hem or rolled edge, you can leave the machine threaded for a narrow 3-thread overlock and simply change a few settings on the various dials.  So easy!  Based on my samples, the main difference I notice between the two stitches is that the fabric rolls up a bit inside the rolled edge (not surprising, right?) but lays flat in the narrow hem.  I suspect the 2 different finishes would result in a different drape and stiffness depending on your fabric choice.

3-Thread Flatlock

OMG, this was the most confusing one.  Can you tell?

Baby Lock Imagine serger stitches - 3-thread flatlock FAIL

I probably spent a solid 2 hours trying to figure out how to set this up properly, including the total FAIL pictured above, and perhaps one more.  Ahem.  🙂  It turns out that the needle thread has to be fed through one of the looper guides, which I didn’t think was allowed, but there you have it.  Apparently sergers don’t play by anyone’s rules.  There’s a looper thread in the same guide simultaneously, and I was surprised I didn’t get a huge knot or something from the 2 threads co-mingling.

Baby Lock Imagine serger stitches - 3-thread flatlock

The finished flatlock is just that – two pieces of fabric joined together flat, with no seam allowance sticking out.  You sew the seam right sides together, open up the fabrics, and tug on them to flatten out the seam.  And you have to REALLY give it a good, solid tug (or ten).  Now’s the time to let out all that bottled-up stress from a long day at work.

I’m not sure which side to use as the right side – the side with the loops contained between two rows of stitching (on the left in the photo above), or the side with the horizontal lines (on the right).  Anyone know?

2-Thread Flatlock

Baby Lock Imagine serger stitches - 2-thread flatlock

The 2-thread flatlock is similar to the 3-thread flatlock, but now you’re only using the lower looper instead of both loopers.  The other big difference is that you have to engage the “subsidiary looper” on the serger for all 2-thread stitches.  This little widget is permanently attached to the end of the upper looper, and you swing it into position when needed.  I still haven’t figured out exactly what it does, especially because the upper looper doesn’t even have any thread in it for 2-thread stitches.  It’s a head-scratcher!

Anyway, this type of seam doesn’t seem nearly as strong as the 3-thread version, so I think I’d be hesitant to use it for anything other than topstitching or decoration.  Here I’ve used the horizontal lines on the right side of the fabric, with the “loopy” side on the back.

2-Thread Flatlock (Blanket and Ladder Stitches)

Another confusing one.  Get this: for these stitches, you use the lower looper as usual, but the needle thread goes through BOTH the upper looper tube and the regular needle guides.  So complicated!  Setting it up properly requires tweezers and a lot of patience.  Baby Lock, why do you do this to me?

Baby Lock Imagine serger stitches - blanket and ladder stitches

I didn’t get an accurate sample of the blanket stitch because you’re supposed to use water-soluble stabilizer as the top fabric, and I didn’t have any.  Oh well!  Apparently the threads you see in the seam above will wrap around the edge like a hand-sewn blanket stitch once the top piece of fabric (stabilizer) is removed.  Cool!  I’ll have to give this a proper try sometime.

The ladder stitch (on the thin strip of fabric above) is essentially the same as the blanket stitch, only sewn in the middle of the fabric instead of along the edge.  You have to fold the fabric just right to get the desired effect.  As you can see, it took me 3 tries to get it right.  The top 2 attempts still maintain a fold when the seam is opened, but the 3rd attempt (on the bottom) lies flat.  Where would I use this stitch – any ideas?

Baby Lock Imagine serger stitches - ladder stitch back

Here’s a look at the back of the ladder stitch.  My successful attempt (with no fold), is on the left.  It looks similar to a standard 2-thread overlock.

2-Thread Overlock (Blind Hem)

Easy to set up, but very tricky to sew just right!  If you’re reading this and can successfully use a serger to sew a blind hem, I want to hear from you.  🙂

Baby Lock Imagine serger stitches - blind hem

The set up is the same as a 2-thread overlock, but the key is folding the fabric properly and aligning the fold so that the needle just catches a thread or two when serging.  Much easier said than done!  You can see above that I caught about 1/8 inch of the fold, which shows way too much thread on the right side of the fabric.

Blind hemming is a pretty useful feature of the machine, so I want to play around with it until I can consistently do it properly.  Apparently you can purchase a specialty blind hem foot to guide the fabric into the machine perfectly.  For now though, I’ll still be hand sewing my hems.  The catch stitch and I are old friends.  🙂

All right, let’s switch back to a 4-thread overlock to practice a few serging techniques…

Accurate Seaming

On a serger, how do you know where to align the edge of the fabric to get an accurate 5/8 inch seam allowance?

Baby Lock Imagine serger stitches - practicing seam allowance accuracy 1

I played around with this A LOT (see all my samples above?), and I still don’t know the answer.  On my Bernina, the throat plate has markings in 1/8 inch increments outward from the needle, which is awesome.  On the Imagine, there are a few guidelines, but I found them to be really tricky to use.  Essentially, the 5/8 inch guidelines are located beyond where the fabric gets cut, so it’s impossible to align the fabric edge with the guideline.  UGH!

Baby Lock Imagine serger stitches - practicing seam allowance accuracy 2

To make a long story short, I made the following observations:

  • Following the instructions in the user manual for an accurate 5/8 inch seam allowance (i.e., using the impossible-to-use guidelines mentioned above) didn’t work.  Period.  Am I misunderstanding the instructions?
  • Aligning the fabric edge with the edge of the throat plate seems to give a pretty accurate 3/8 inch SA.  Since I was satisfied with the level of accuracy here, I suppose I should cut out all my pattern pieces with 3/8 inch SAs if I’m going to use the serger.  Is this typically what people do?

Do you have any advice here?  I was really struggling with this, and the OCD part of my brain was getting really annoyed with the unpredictable SA width.

Special Techniques

The final portion of the user manual covers some basic serging techniques, including:

  • Securing the beginning and end of a seam
  • Serging around curves
  • Inserting narrow tape into the serged seam
  • Serging around outside and inside corners

All of these were pretty straightforward, thankfully!

Baby Lock Imagine serger stitches - securing ends

To secure the beginning of a seam, you sew a few stitches, lift presser foot, pull the thread chain (that’s hanging off the beginning of your seam) to the front, and serge over it.  To secure the end of a seam, you serge the entire seam, and then flip the fabric around and serge for an inch or so back over the seam.  You can see examples of both of these in my top sample, above.

Serging around an outside curve wasn’t bad at all.  Just aim the fabric edge toward the blade, as opposed to the needles.

To insert a narrow tape, use the dedicated slit in the presser foot (cool!) to simply feed it in while serging.  For this example, I used black 1/4 inch polyester twill tape.  I had to trim the width of the tape, so apparently the presser foot can only accept really narrow tapes (about 3/16 inch or less).

Baby Lock Imagine serger stitches - turning cornersTo serge around an outside corner, simply sew to the edge of the corner and turn the fabric to start serging down the other side.  It helps to pull up a little slack in the needle threads to help you turn the fabric around.  As you can see above, you wind up serging over the tip of the corner twice.

Serging around an inside corner is a little more tricky, and I’m not convinced that the recommended method secures the corner adequately.  You clip the corner and pull the fabric edge straight, serging across the corner in a straight line.  This requires folding the fabric into a little pleat to get the edge to lie flat, and you have to be really careful not to serge over the pleat.  In my 1st attempt (on the right), I caught the pleat in the seam – oops.  The sample doesn’t lie flat in that area.  In the 2nd attempt (on the left), I managed to get it right.

Final Thoughts

If any of you actually made it to the end of this post, I offer you my sincere congratulations.  🙂

While I’m fairly confident in operating the serger now, I still need to figure out how to use it on real garment projects.  How do I serge a circular seam?  What kind of seams are appropriate for the serger, and which really need to be done on a regular sewing machine (e.g., topstitching)?  I have a bunch of jersey slated for Renfrews but have been holding off until I get the serger under control.  I’m getting there!

If you have any favorite tips on serging — general or related to specialized techniques — feel free to share them below!

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69 thoughts on “Serger Stitches on the Baby Lock Imagine

  1. Carolyn, this is such a great tutorial on the use of the Baby Lock. Wonderful tutorial and analysis. I’ve bookmarked it for reference, because your descriptions and photos are very helpful indeed. Thank you for compiling this, for I know it took a lot of time.

    • Thanks Lyrique, I’m so glad you found it useful! I had a lot of fun trying out all the stitches, and my hope in writing such a long and detailed post was that someone else might stumble upon it whenever they needed the information. The great thing about blogs is that so much info is “out there” waiting to be discovered when you have a question. 🙂

  2. Loved reading about your new serger, my 21 year old one is looking a bit sad now! Can’t wait to see what you make with it, especially your Renfrews. I’ve only just started making them this year, but 3 tops and 2 dresses later I’m hooked!
    Happy Serging! 😀

    • Haha, great, glad to hear it! I’m glad I made up all these samples because I’m planning to store them near the user manual for future reference, whenever I want to try out a stitch on a project but forget what it looks like or how to set it up. Plus the nerdy part of my brain loved all the details. 🙂

  3. What a thorough, helpful post! Sergers are a whole lot of machine. 🙂 I don’t own a serger, but seeing its functions broken down is very interesting, especially through the eyes of someone fairly new to serging.

    • Thanks Ebi! Yeah, it was an interesting experience to read through the user manual as a total serging beginner. The instructions were actually pretty good at catering to a complete novice, for the most part. It’s fascinating to learn about the wide variety of things a serger can do and where/how to apply them to actual projects. Lots more to learn!

  4. I found your post after hours of searching for help flatlocking on my Baby Lock Imagine. My flatlock won’t go flat even after lots of tugging. So what’s this think about the needle thread going through one of the looper guides? Which one? How did you discover that? Does the instruction manual show that and I somehow don’t see it?

    I’d be so grateful to know the key to this because I’ve been frustrated for the past couple days trying to manage to flatlock some cozy stretchy fleece socks!

  5. Me again! So, it’s 2:00 in the morning, but I couldn’t sleep thinking about this looper thing, so I got up, looked at the manual, and lo and behold, there it was! The thread goes through the second guide, the one for the looper, not the third one. I quickly ran a line of stitches and voila — flatlock! Would it have killed Babylock to make a special note pointing this out for those of us who apparently don’t notice small details like this?

    At any rate, frustration solved. Thank you SO MUCH for writing about this. Like I said, I was on all the troubleshooting sites I could find and didn’t see this problem addressed anywhere before happening upon your blog. Surely we can’t be the only ones in the history of serging to have overlooked this part of the instructions. Why isn’t it on the Babylock troubleshooting pages anywhere????

    • Hi Alissa – I’m so glad you figured it out! The threading instructions are indeed in the manual, as you saw, but the text doesn’t do a very good job of explaining how to thread the machine properly, or even pointing out this unusual threading set-up. I had to squint at the drawing before it finally dawned on me!

      Here’s the illustrated threading guide for a 3-thread flatlock, for anyone else having trouble with this:

      The right needle thread (yellow) goes through the upper looper guides on the top of the machine, with the upper looper thread (green) in the same guides at the same time. Then the right needle thread goes through the regular needle guides on the left, while the upper looper thread goes through the looper as usual.

      Alissa, thanks for your comments, and hope your socks turn out great! 🙂

      • THANK YOU!!!!!! I just found this after spending a couple hours trying to figure out why my machine’s flatlock wouldn’t work. Totally missed the diagram in the instruction manual. Thanks!!

        • No problem, Renee, glad you figured it out! This was the most confusing stitch for me, and it seems like others have had similar trouble. A few words in the manual highlighting the unusual thread setup would have been a big help, right??

    • OMG! Thank you for posting this! I too have just spent a ridiculous amount of time and different fabrics trying to get a flatlock. Now, thanks to this post I have it! I made a note in my manual too. Thanks a bunch!

  6. Great post! I don’t have the same serger as you, but I’m sure lots of people will find it helpful. On my machine, I don’t trust myself to get an accurate 5/8 seam allowance, but if I’m serging just to finish the seam where there’s already a line of stitching, I like to line up the stitch line with the hole in the presser foot, which seems to be the perfect location to serge right up next to the seam line. Don’t know if that’s the proper way to do it, but it works for me!

    • Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to try this. So the original seam passes just to the left of the left serger needle?

      Until I figure out a better method of getting an accurate 5/8″ seam, I’ve been looking at the knife as I serge, trying to cut off about 1/4″ of fabric. My 4-thread overlock is about 3/8″ wide on the standard setting, so cutting off 1/4″ should be close enough, hopefully!

  7. Hi, from Tonga, in the middle of the Pacific. I wish the manual had such clear photos of what the stitches actually look like it would have been a great help. Is it possible for me to print off your instructions to keep for future reference.

    • Hi Patricia! Sure, I don’t mind if you print out a personal copy for yourself. However, please don’t re-publish it or sell it. I’m glad you found the photos useful! I keep all the swatches in a drawer near my serger so I can easily refer to them too. 🙂

  8. thank you for the excellent and in-depth post about your babylock imagine serger! I have the same one that I got about a year ago and have only used it a few times. bookmarking so i can refer back to this later! 🙂

    • You’re very welcome, Ashley! I’m glad you found it helpful and wish you many years of happy serging on your Imagine. It’s a really powerful and versatile machine – you made a great investment!

  9. So Helpful!! Thank you for showing the manual and specifying the looper / needle threading photo!!!!! I came her (from Google images) to look at your rolled edge–seems narrower than mine. Need to look at this longer.

  10. PS, I wondered if it was just me that had these thoughts about the inner corner serged hem being secure –and about the 5/8 inch seam allowance being challenging to control. Thanks for thinking out loud. I also thought your blanket stitch info with the stabilizer info was helpful.

    • I’m so glad you found this post helpful! I still haven’t figured out how to get an accurate 5/8 inch seam allowance, but I find that cutting off about 1/4 inch works well enough, especially for knits since the stretch will offset small errors in seam allowance width. I have to eyeball the 1/4 inch though, so this method is definitely not perfect!

  11. I love my Baby Lock Imagine serger. I want to do chain stitching and the manual says “select the Chain stitch”…I can find no place on the serger to select a chain stitch and the manual(s) I have do not explain how to set the machine for a chain stitch. Any suggestions?
    Shirley in Florida

    • Hi Shirley! Unfortunately I didn’t see anything in my manual or on my machine about a chain stitch, so I suspect that the model that I have doesn’t do it. Do you have an older machine? I wonder if this feature has been phased out? I’ll be curious to hear if you figure it out!

  12. You’ve just saved me so much time! I have the same machine and was planning on doing this exact same thing this weekend (minus the blog post), and now I don’t have to. I’m printing it out to keep with the manual. Thank you!

    • You’re very welcome, Jeanne! And congrats on your new machine! The Imagine is definitely an investment, but in my opinion, so worth it. It’s a solid machine that will hopefully last a lifetime. Happy serging! 🙂

  13. Hi – I found your blog on Pinterest. I just got my Imagine 2 yesterday so I am going to find your guide very useful!! did you find the air threading fiddly? it took me forever to thread the lower looper but once it finally picked up the thread it was fine. The upper looper threaded first time. perhaps I just need practice!

    • Hi Rose! Congrats on your new serger! 🙂 Yes, I did find the air threading a bit difficult to do the first few times. I think it’s just a matter of figuring out exactly how to stick the thread in there. A fresh cut helps. Soon you’ll be doing it in no time at all. Have fun and happy sewing! 🙂

  14. Carolyn, I am so glad I found you! I am trying to do a flatlock stitch to sew two pieces of flannel together and open it so you have the ladder stitch. I am practicing on fleece. I am using the 3 thread flatlock on my babylock imagine. The stitch is too tight to open. do you know what I am doing wrong?

    • Hi Lucille! I had the same exact problem when trying to do this on quilting cotton scraps, so I suspect you’re not doing anything wrong. I found that I had to tug on the fabric VERY hard to get the pieces to open up. Like, so hard that I was worried about breaking the thread. With a thicker fabric like fleece, I imagine even more rigorous tugging would be needed. Perhaps you could try increasing your stitch length so the seam has fewer stitches to wrangle with? Is there a way to loosen your tension? (I haven’t tried this in a while and forget if that is possible or not.) The alternative would be to abandon the flatlock and try a wide zig-zag (or something similar) on your regular machine instead. Good luck!!

  15. Hi Carolyn! I’ve had my Baby Lock Evolution just a few weeks. I had tried and tried to do a flatlock for a certain project, intended to be a Christmas gift. I just could not get it!! And you had the answer after I had looked so many places. Yes, I too had not looked at the threading diagram in enough detail. Never did it occur to me that a needle thread would go through an area intended for a looper. Now I am all the wiser thanks to you and I can now do my flatlock project !!! This was my first visit to your blog and I am definitely a fan ! Thanks !!

    • Caryl, I’m so glad you figured it out! I was just watching an old episode of Sewing With Nancy, and she mentioned that the needle and looper guides place different tension on the thread, so perhaps that’s why the needle thread is supposed to go through the looper guide for the flatlock. Interesting! Congratulations on getting your Evolution – hopefully this will be a lifetime investment for you. 🙂 I love my Imagine and think it was worth every penny! Happy New Year to you!

  16. Amazing explanations. You should have written the manual. I have the same manual for my Enlighten and am disappointed that pics of the stitches aren’t even included in the manual. Their drawings of the threads are great, but your commentary really makes it much more manageable. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

    • Thanks Barb, and you’re very welcome. I agree that manual contains some helpful diagrams, particularly with the color-coded threading schematics, but could use a bit more commentary on special tips and things to look out for. I’m glad you found this post helpful. I refer back to it myself whenever I want to use a special stitch. Happy New Year and happy serging!

  17. I have a babyloc and it worked fine when I put it away a couple of months ago but got it out today and the left needle won’t sew into the chain have rethreaded the machine many many times and have changed the needles still no luck any other tips to try

    • Sorry Betty Ann, I don’t know how to fix that issue. Have you checked to make sure all your knobs are set to the correct settings for that stitch? If all else fails, I’d recommend taking it in for service, if you haven’t already. Good luck!

  18. Thank you for this great post. You are a gem & have inspired me to also do an in-depth exploration of my new Baby Lock Imagine. Just unpacked it last night. Not my first serger, but a big step up from my old machine.

    • Congrats on your new serger, Suzanne! The Imagine is a great machine, and I hope it gives you many years of reliable service. I found that going through the manual step-by-step was a good way to overcome my fear of the machine, and also to learn all of its many features. Have fun exploring and congrats again! 🙂

  19. Hi Carolyn Thanks a lot for this wonderful review ! I just got a babylock imagine and when I assemble 2 pieces of fabric with the 4 treads overlock, it just lays flat like a flatlock stich. I don’t know why and it makes me crazy !!
    Did you experience that too ?
    I would love to use my serger to make my little girl’s christening dress … not there yet !!
    Thank you even more if you can help me
    Peggy from Paris, France.

    • Hi Peggy, and congrats on your new machine! 🙂 I’m not sure I understand the issue you’re having. If you’d like, take a photo and email it to me. I’d also consult the manual and look very closely at the diagrams to make sure you have everything threaded properly for the stitch you’re trying to create. It can be confusing, and I made a lot of mistakes when I first got my machine. Best wishes and good luck!

  20. Thank you Carolyn for this great tutorial.
    I have a new Imagine…my first serger….and, like you, want to understand how and why the various functions work. I am still trying to figure out what the subsidiary looper does……I know how and when to use it, but I want to know why I am using it.

    • Congratulations on your new Imagine! I hope it serves you well for many years to come. The exact purpose of the subsidiary looper is still a mystery to me – please let me know if you figure it out! 🙂

  21. Hi Carolyn, I am about to buy my first-ever serger. The BabyLock Imagine stretches my budget but it remains an option (the other one is a more reasonably priced Juki 654DE serger). After almost 2 years of use would you say this serger is a good investment for an amateur medium-level sewer? Keep in mind that there is no dealer nearby, so I will have to rely mostly to my own mechanical abilities (whatever these are!!!!), and, of course the Internet… I would appreciate your advice.

    • Hi Irene! Yes, the Imagine is certainly an investment, but it has performed beautifully for me over the past 2 years. I also consider myself to be an amateur intermediate-level sewer, and I think this machine has really increased level of professionalism in my garments, with plenty of room for building new skills as well. Not having a dealer nearby is something to consider though, as eventually your machine will have to be taken in for service/cleaning. This may require shipping your machine, so if you decide to get one, save the box and shipping materials for future use.

      From what I’ve read about sergers (and keep in mind this is purely my own personal impression of the situation), it seems that the increased price tag doesn’t necessarily come with increased performance, but rather increased reliability and ease of use. My Imagine JUST WORKS. No drama, no headaches, no bouncing around the table, no skipped stitches, just beautiful performance every single time. Is the actual stitching any better than a Brother or Juki? I don’t know, maybe not. But the Imagine is a solidly-built machine that will (hopefully) last for many years to come. I have never regretted my purchase, nor have I ever gotten the impression that my machine will need to be replaced anytime soon (or ever).

      The bottom line is that the purchase of a machine comes down to your budget and personal preferences, as many machines will likely do a fine job of stitching and last for a decent number of years. Many cars will get you from point A to point B, but in a Ferrari you will truly enjoy the ride. 🙂

      • Hi Carolyn

        I just wanted to thank you for your reply and to fill you in re my looking for the ideal serger! My Juki MO 654 DE came in 6 weeks ago and I am thrilled by the difference it made in my sewing! I followed your advice and I was very meticulous in reading the manual very carefully and in making samples of all the stitches and putting together a “workbook” where I recorded all my stitch settings. I think I spent almost a week in that exercise, several evenings after work but after that I felt fairly confident in working on a real garment. Although I don’t consider myself particularly dexterous I didn’t find threading very fussy, you just have to be patient and follow the instructions. Since then I have worked with both woven and knits and I enjoyed the experience despite some minor mishaps, like having to play around with the settings to get the stitch right with some fabrics.
        This weekend I finished a pair of pants with my serger but they were too big for me, so I gifted them to a friend who received them enthusiastically, she really looked great in them – I was so glad for being able to give them away without feeling ashamed of the finishings! All in all a game changer!

        • Awesome Irene! I’m so glad you’re enjoying your new machine!!! 🙂 I’m glad to hear that there is another person out there who read the entire manual and made samples. Sometimes I think I must be crazy, but if you did it too, maybe there is some hope. 🙂 I wish you much continued joy and success with your serger, and many fabulous garments to come!

  22. Carolyn thank you for this wonderful tutorial. I also have the Imagine and have been using its most basic functions for nearly 2 years, you have inspired me to make samples and label them for future reference. I have book marked this page and will be passing it on to one of my daughters as she also has an Imagine.

    • Wonderful Tracey! I wish you and your daughter much enjoyment as you work through and discover all the capabilities of the Imagine. I still have to refer to the manual when changing all the settings, but at least working through the manual gives you a great idea of what the machine can do, and it gets you thinking about how to incorporate all the functions into your sewing. Happy serging! 🙂

  23. Hi Carolyn, I have just ordered a Babylock Imagine after weeks of research and deliberations. I decided on the imagine because I thought I could do without worrying about tension. Have you ever had problems with the automatic tension? Also, I wonder whether you have found a solution to 5/8 seam allowance problem. Thanks for your inspiring tutorial. Barbara

    • Hi Barbara – Congratulations on your new machine!! 🙂 I have never had any problems with the automatic tension on my Imagine. I’ve had my machine for over 2 years now, and it has worked beautifully every time, on all sorts of different fabric types, from thin rayons to layers and layers of denim. I never adjust the tension. It just works.

      As for getting an accurate 5/8 inch seam allowance, I’ve found that I can get “close enough” if I cut off about 1/4 inch of fabric with the blade. The left needle is about 3/8 inch from the blade, so if I cut off 1/4 inch, I get pretty close to 5/8. I just eyeball the 1/4 inch as I’m sewing.

      Wishing you many years of happy sewing ahead with your new Imagine!

      • It’s arrived! I love it already. Thank you for your reply. Just one more question. When you sew together a jersey top do you use the 3 or the 4 thread overlock? Sorry to bother you again.

        • I always use the 4-thread overlock for sewing seams. If I’m just finishing the edges of a seam that I’ve already sewn with my regular sewing machine, I’ll use a 3-thread overlock. The 4-thread is nice for primary seams because it’s basically 2 seams in one, so you have a backup if you ever pop a stitch during wear.

  24. Hi Carolyn, your tutorial is absolutely terrific! I got my Imagine Babylock a few months ago and love it. The problem is I engaged my subsidiary looper to try the 2 thread blanket stitch and can’t disengage it. Is there any chance you remember how to disengage it? I’ve removed all the threads. pushed and pulled. It’s 3 a.m. and I am so stuck.

  25. You probably already figured this out as it’s an old post, but hopefully this may help some other readers in the future. The 5/8 marking is where you line the edge of your fabric up. If you line it up with the marking, the knife will cut off 3/8 of an inch and the left needle will be 1/4 of an inch from where the knife cuts, which ends up giving you a seam that’s 5/8 of an inch away from the original edge! But don’t worry, that took me a while to figure that out, too! Thanks for the post!

  26. I just threaded my brand new imagine today. It is a dream, but I wasn’t able to manage the needle threader! I just threaded them. My four thread on a cotton knit has loopy loops from the loopers and turning the adjustment screw as in the manual didn’t make a difference. The stitch is wider than the cut off fabric. What am I missing? Grand daughter needs leggings! Thank you for this site, it is bookmarked forever.

  27. I just purchased my first serger (baby lock) and your post was SO HELPFUL! I’ve bookmarked it as my go-to reference while I experiment with my new machine.

    • Congrats on your new machine, Niki!! 🙂 I’m glad you found this post helpful. I hope you will play around with your machine’s features and discover all it has to offer!

  28. Thanks for the post, I just got my new baby lock, I haven’t been able to touch it yet!! Lol, after reading this I’ll try to use it
    Excellent post

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