Serging the night away…Marianne Dress


Do you remember when you were a kid and you got a new toy that you’d wanted for ages? Once you got it you were too scared to play with it, right? You were afraid of messing it up. Well folks, that is EXACTLY how I felt about my new serger.

When I got my sewing machine I said, “If I stay with this sewing thing for longer than six months, I’ll buy a serger.” Six months came and went and still no serger. Somewhere around the one-year mark, buoyed by the upcoming summer break, I purchased the Brother 1034D. And it sat there. And sat there. And sat there. For three months!

When I saw this beautiful paint daub rayon jersey  I knew I had to bite the bullet and try out the machine. I wanted my make to be PERFECT.

So I tentatively put fabric scraps through the serger to see how it worked. When it didn’t suddenly turn into Aragog and eat me, I proceeded with serging decent fabric and making a muslin.


I was terrified for nothing. Seriously. This was way easier than sewing using a zigzag stitch on my sewing machine: For the most part the tension was right on the first try; the needles didn’t break; I didn’t have to pin! Everything went swimmingly for my muslin.


Thrilled at my progress, I cut out the Marianne Dress in my Paint Daub Rayon Jersey the same night. I serged the side seams, put the collar band on, and started on the sleeves. Then the unthinkable happened.


One of my threads came unthreaded. On my first ever time using a serger. This is the thing that I had been most afraid of (machines turning into mythical characters aside).


I took a deep breath and tried not to panic. “It’s just a machine,” I said to myself, “How hard can it be?” So I put on my big girl pants and did what any self-respecting adult would do. I Googled how to thread a Brother 1034D. Internet to the rescue! This video was perfect and walked me through slowly and steadily. Once rethreaded, the rest of the dress came together quickly!


After my first project, I have a few tips for serging newbies like myself:

  1. Stay Calm. You can do this! It’s totally not as scary as it looks.
  2. Work with a non-slippy fabric. Working with this fabric was a dream compared to my muslin fabric! It is soft but not shiny or slippery to the touch like some knits. This meant that it was much easier to control going through the serger.
  3. Take it slow and pin. As I’m getting used to the serger, I’m finding it much easier to go a bit slower and use pins to keep things in place. Just make sure that you remove ALL of the pins before the fabric goes through the machine.
  4. Try turning off the blade. If the idea of serging away your seam allowance really freaks you out, just turn off the blade. Make sure you account for this added ease and alter the pattern if necessary.
I love the way this dress moves…SwishSwish

Have you ever used a serger? What was the first project you completed?

Alexandra blogs about her sewing and reading adventures over at The Library of Alexandra.


Alexandra holds a Master’s in Library and Information Science from UNC Chapel Hill and is currently completing her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Johns Hopkins University (expected graduation 2023). She is passionate about the science of learning and ensuring equity in education.

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5 thoughts on “Serging the night away…Marianne Dress”

  1. Great funky dress, my serger has just been mended, it had been broken for quite a while so looking forward to using it again. I wish I had brought the brother as there’s so much more online help, not a huge amount for mine which is why I ended up having to send it away.

  2. Such a great dress!! I love all those colours! I was terrified of my serger at first too. It sat on my table staring at me for a month, and then I finally gave it a go, and it changed my life. LOL

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