Author Topic: Repair or replace dear old serger?  (Read 4972 times)

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Offline Liz Schneider

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Repair or replace dear old serger?
« on: November 29, 2008, 09:11:42 PM »
Happy Thanksgiving all!
Well, I am worried repairs and parts for the old serger are going to exceed the cost of a new one.  But it was Mom's pride and joy, from 1991, and although she used it regularly in the 1990's, she is a very meticulous and careful user and owner so I thought it would be in impeccable shape.  I am a complete beginner to sergers and had some trouble getting consistent stitches, so I took it to a very competent professional non-dealer repairman to have it oiled and adjusted etc.  He can't get it to chain on fabric now, although it chains on its own.  He gave it two tries, 2nd try he had gone to some trouble to acquire a downloaded printout of  the technical manual and let me have that.  It's a White 734D, used to be top of the line.  Took it to a White certified shop, they wanted $100 minimum to look at it.  Didn't leave it there, took it to a dealer, fortunately they will give an estimate before doing anything.
Are they trying to sell me up (make me buy new although it isn't broken?) I'll never know. They all say the new ones have plastic parts and this is better built although not as easy to thread, and the parts less easy to acquire, etc.  I would appreciate any help you have to make the decision.  I'm having difficulty with my ignorance, sentimentality, and of course, being frugal. 
Thanks! -Liz

Offline Liz Schneider

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Re: Repair or replace dear old serger?
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2008, 08:47:13 PM »
AFTER TAKING IT TO FOUR DIFFERENT PLACES I finally did get a repair, and thought it worth $100 to do, versus a new machine.  Thanks to all who read the post.  I understand why nobody replied.  It was a personal problem and you could not answer all the variables.  I should not have been so self-indulgent. 

Repairman #1 obtained a tech manual and checked the specs, then since it didn't work he recommended a dealer.  I respected him for that, and he didn't charge - I'll patronize his business in the future.  #2 wanted $100 to diagnose; that just bothered me even though he likely could have repaired it (repair $50 additional).  #3 Said it only needed adjusting, but would charge $189 for  that, and I thought too high.  #4 did  not charge to diagnose, charged $90 plus tax to repair.

I was tempted by a sale price on something to replace it, but eventually the new one would also be past its warranty, and then what do you do?  If it's well-made, there should be service people out there who do not charge you the ranch!   I know that the market will bear high prices and it is a disposable society, etc, but i am glad that I kept trying.  Odds are good this ol' serger will give years more of good service.  So, sorry for wringing my hands in public, but I feel lots better and I've met all the repairmen in town now! And, importantly, my mother will be so relieved.

Offline Sew-Classic

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Re: Repair or replace dear old serger?
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2008, 09:49:26 PM »
Liz, Thanks for sharig your story.

I didn't post as I am not familiar with your model of serger.  I do agree that it is a disposible society.  I know people that toss out a shirt when they loose a button.

When a new, made in China sewing machine can be purchased for $100  (often less) people just toss out the old and buy new.  Some items aren't worth repairing, but IMHO some are.

IMHO, after all these years, $100 in repairs for your serger isn't much at all. I'm glad that it all worked out in the end for you.
"Jenny"
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Offline fzxdoc

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Re: Repair or replace dear old serger?
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2008, 10:01:50 PM »
Liz, it's nice to hear that all turned out well for you.  I really admire your choice to try to make this serger work and to shop around to find the best repair situation.  Part of what makes us a disposal-minded society is that we lack the time (or don't take the time) that you did. Good for you for being so tenacious!  I hope your money has been well spent and that the repaired serger works out well for you. 

Kathryn

Offline Misha

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Re: Repair or replace dear old serger?
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2008, 08:35:24 AM »
It is nice to know that your serger could be and was repaired. Did the person that repaired it tell you what was wrong with it? Just like old cars that need up keep over the years with lots of mileage, I think our sewing machines and sergers do also and it is nice to know what has broken over the time used and what to watch out for in wearing out in the future. You can have fun with your your Moms serger now..enjoy.

Offline Liz Schneider

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Re: Repair or replace dear old serger?
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2008, 08:22:09 PM »
Thanks, it was in the timing, and I do hope to learn more specifically.  I used it last night for the first time - never used a serger ever before.  I serged raw edges of huge slipcover pieces I had mistakenly cut before prewashing and was afraid would ravel - yards and yards and yards went by so fast.  Next, I have a date with a church friend who can really teach me a lot.  I'm sure the new machines are impressive, but this is so sturdy and extremely quiet, I'm sure it is worth the pride Mom has taken in it.  I'm grateful to shops who still do make the inherited or aftermarket machine possible.  You do need to shop around - I found out who was going to take it seriously and who was going to make it look like, oh, 1991, you gotta be kidding. 

Offline stashpanache

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Re: Repair or replace dear old serger?
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2008, 09:36:30 PM »
Thank you Liz.  My machine is not very old but I do have trouble with stitch quality and tension, at times, even though it is easy to thread.  Lately it has been so frustrating that I was considering a new serger.  However, I got a lead on a good repair person, and I am going to try that first.  I hope he does not charge the ranch (loved your expression) but I can ask anyway?  It does everything I want and I really do not want a new serger.  It is a Pfaff so it should work OK?  Anyway, your persistence is inspiring.  And, by the way, never feel apologetic about asking questions here.  I have whined on occasion and nobody has banned me yet. ;D  I have whined plenty about this serger!!

Stash
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Offline fzxdoc

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Re: Repair or replace dear old serger?
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2008, 09:41:37 PM »
I have a high falutin' feature-laden Elna serger and an older, low end Bernette "son of serger".  Honestly when I'm really in a crunch, that "son of serger" works like a champ--never needs fussy repairs, and always steps up to the plate with whatever project I throw at it.  The Elna, with its greater range of capabilities, serges nicely but is much more cantankerous, especially when I'm in a hurry. 

So stick with your tried 'n true serger, Liz.  It won't let you down, I'll bet.

Kathryn

Offline peter

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Re: Repair or replace dear old serger?
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2008, 03:14:04 AM »
Liz, congrats on getting your serger working and helping our economy too.  Your $ went straight into the local economy, kept your machine out of a landfill and will hopefully be passed on to the next generation of sewers.  I have two ancient Bernette sergers and they're great.  As soon as you conquer the threading you're getting the same quality stitching as the newest TOL machines.  The "D" in your model no. probably means it has the differential feed---making it a keeper.  Nothing's greener than repairing something.
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Offline Taliors daughter

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Re: Repair or replace dear old serger?
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2009, 03:29:14 AM »
Hi Liz - I was searching for White 734 and found your post.  I have a machine that my parents bought for me in hopes that I would follow in my father's footsteps.  He is a Master Craftsman Tailor and I am  - - - well, not.  He showed me once how to use it and made a vest for my daughter.  It has been in the box ever since.  I'm glad you got yours fixed but if you ever need another, let me know.  I appreciate someone who appreciates quality!
Lynda

Offline gulick1

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Re: Repair or replace dear old serger?
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2009, 12:50:03 PM »
Hello!  I was also searching for information on the White 734D Serger and happened upon your forum.  I'm learning that this serger is going on about 20 years now, but, I also believe the older machines are real work horses.  I have a client who would like to offer this machine in trade.  Yikes!  Sounds as if many WOULD have this oldtimer, but any ideas of how much you would give for it?  I appreciate any advice!  :coffee:

Offline Gigi Louis

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Re: Repair or replace dear old serger?
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2009, 05:09:07 PM »
The 734D was my first overlock.  It always worked like a champ and never gave me one minute's trouble.  I traded it in for a bells-and-whistles TOL Elna overlock because I wanted a coverstitch.  That machine never gave me anything but trouble and I was glad to be rid of it!  I never should have traded the White.

Now I use an industrial Juki and have a Bernette 334DS (in case I need a portable) and use stand-alone coverstitch machines.
Gigi (who's going broke saving money sewing)

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Offline lydia

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Re: Repair or replace dear old serger?
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2009, 01:23:05 AM »
I began my serging life with a White 534 back in the middle 1980's.  It was (is) a bear to re-thread.  I then had a chance to purchase the White 734 because it was last year's model.  Went home for the checkbook and have never looked back.  I still have the 534, but the 734 is an absolute workhorse and have never had a moments problem with it.  In fact, I just used it today to serge the ends of some fabric to launder.  I rarely have to change the tension as long as I am serging "common" fabrics.  I have heard horror stories about the new sergers with all the bells and whistles - no thanks.  A friend has a relatively new Elna.  I helped her granddaughter with some 4H sewing, and this machine did not like two layers of a fleece fabric.  I worked with her and the outfit was a blue ribbon entry. (Problem was - this machine had no power.) I do not do any "fancy" serging, just the basics - but wouldn't trade the White for anything.  Question:  Are White's still produced???  Haven't seen a White serger in years.  Hancock's did sell low end White sewing machines.
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Offline DebbieY

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Re: Repair or replace dear old serger?
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2009, 01:46:00 AM »
I have a smiliar dilemma.

I gave my sister a brother boutique 21 sewing machine a few years ago when I got a Janome 6500. My sister has never used it, she said the thread was jammed and it didn't work. I am hoping to get my hands back on it soon as I think it probably needs a good clean out, a service, and perhaps a new bobbin or bobbin case. It would be useful to have a machine with a freearm (that's the only fault I can find with the Janome) but if it is not the easy fix I am hoping it is do you think it's worth spending any money on this machine or should I be looking at a new basic machine?

 

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