This isn’t going to be a battle to the death between my machines but I thought I’d size up the differences for you all and I can give you some insight into why I decided to upgrade.
In my opinion, there are a lot of great reasons to get a tiny serger but also plenty of reasons why a full sized overlocker is an excellent addition to your sewing arsenal.
Model? TS380a “Tiny Serger” 14SH754 Threads? Three threads Four threads Needles? One Two Blade? No Yes Stitch position? Static Adjustable Stitch types? Basic overlock Three or Four thread overlock, rolled hems, gathering and blind hems Size? 20 x 15 x 20 30 x 30 x 40 Price? £50 – 80 £149 – 220 Pros Lightweight, affordable, simple Powerful, versatile, quick Cons Insubstantial, loud, Heavy, involved, intimidating
Compare and Contrast
The weight and size difference is having quite an impact. The tiny serger would fit easily on my sewing table and could be lifted into prime position without a second thought. I’m currently struggling to fit both the new overlocker and my sewing machine on my table comfortably.
The sheer speed of the new machine is fantastic. I never really felt slow with my TS380A though. I just feel faster now. But that’s only on the basic stitch, I’ve not mastered the other types of stitches available as I think I need some dedicated playing time for these as they don’t feel intuitive.
The four-thread overlock stitch is undoubtedly much stronger and stretchier. I never worried my garments would fray in the wash with my tiny serger but I was sad I couldn’t sew knit garments solely on the machine as the three-thread seams would “pop” open. I honestly didn’t mind not having a blade to trim off the fluffy bits as I overlocked, though it is nice to have there now.
I found the threading of the two machines is very similar most likely because they are both Singers. The 14SH754 was laughingly described as pre-threaded but what it meant was there was a knot of four threads for you to tie onto in place of free spools. The TS380A came threaded up with three spools of thread.
The tiny serger manual has better diagrams, but the new overlocker includes a free screwdriver and tweezers. What’s your preference? I mean the 14SH754 was rubbish at even describing how to remove the platform bed and enable free arm sewing… shocking.
I loved my tiny serger, but I wanted to push myself to try sewing more knits, I wanted a less noisy machine and I was fortunate to have the cash to treat myself at the same time as the Lidl deal became available.
In my opinion, if you’re looking to buy an overlocker because you’re curious about how it can improve your sewing then get a tiny serger or a babylock. A smaller machine will allow you to get to grips with the threading process, make your clothes feel more professional and last longer. Then after you’ve grown comfortable enough with the process and want to push yourself further you can upgrade.
I guess you can think of this in terms of your sewing machine…
When you started sewing did you go straight for a great mid-range machine because you could already tell how much you were going to use it, knew exactly what you wanted from it and felt unfazed by the technology you were taking on? Then hey, jump right in and get yourself an overlocker like the 14SH754.
Or did you pick a basic machine with good reviews and a reasonable price point, which offered you all the essentials and helped you slowly identify if your new hobby was definitely a winner while letting you gain insight over time about your sewing preferences? Yes, then I say, pick a smaller serger and get the core benefits of overlocking your garments while learning your way with these machines.
I hope these thoughts have been helpful to anyone considering buying an overlocker, has recently bought one of these specific models or is in that awkward phase where upgrading is an alluring option.