Book review: “A Field Guide: Serger 101” by Katrina Walker = 3*

I don’t think I am saying anything controversial or new to say that a Serger (an overlocker) can be scary – I fully put my hands up and say I am daunted! Katrina’s book, however, is just the accompaniment to help!

This book aims to help people become more comfortable, and also more confident, with their serger. To begin with, Katrina expertly guides you through learning the basics (how it works, the needles, the parts), how to thread it and choosing your stitches.

Now, the detail in this section is phenomenal. Quite often the very act of threading a serger puts many off because of how detailed and complex it feels in comparison to a sewing machine. This book, however, is incredibly at providing a comprehensive guide to threading your serger with detailed instructions, photos and digital images to help you along the way. This ‘serger basics’ section is lengthy (pages 7-49) but this just demonstrates exactly how detailed the book’s instructions/guides are so that you, as the reader, do not feel overwhelmed or intimidated. It breaks it all down for you in an accessible and easy-to-follow format.

The book then presents a handful of projects so that you can begin to get comfortable using the serger in real-life.

At the start of this section (chapter 4) Katrina talks about accurate seams, using the differential feed and serging corners before then proffering projects to put these techniques into use: a coaster set and drawstring bags.

This layout continues throughout the book with Katrina presenting the serger techniques/stitch, setting up the stitch on your machine, troubleshooting, top tips and a project to put-into-action what you’ve learnt for each chapter.

Chapter 5 discusses flatlocking (with a table runner project to try the technique), chapter 6 explores ‘rolled hems’ (with a scarf project), chapter 7 covers ‘safety stitch and coverstitching’ (with a tote project), chapter 8 covers ‘knit construction techniques’ (with a knit t-shirt project and leggings project), chapter 9 discusses ‘woven construction techniques’ (with a kimono style project) and chapter 10 presents ‘serging sheers and delicates’ (with a shrug project). Chapter 11 covers any additional and speciality tools that you can get with your serger (lace foot, beading foot etc).

The detail in this book is incredible. Personally, I found the projects incredibly dated and not very inspiring. I did, however, love the depth of detail that Katrina went into for using your serger so if you’re looking for something informative to further your knowledge of your serger, and how to use it, then this is the book for you!

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