Thoughts from the other side of the counter

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The White Elephant in the Closet

An entire row of sergers/coverstitch machines!

It was April 2015. I still remember the young lady’s name. She had visited another store, then came to see us. I showed her our row of sergers, explaining the differences between entry-level, mid-line, and high-end models. As a serger newbie, she expressed interest in a couple of entry-level machines which matched her budget. Entry-level sergers are not the easiest machines to thread. However, I assure you, most are not hard. Sergers at this level have precise thread guides and order of threading. It is precisely why I asked this young lady, “Would you like to attend my serger machine education class later this month?” She purchased a nice, entry-level, Janome-made machine and signed up for the class.

Typically, we call our customers a day or two before our machine education classes. I never reached this lady, however, I left a message. And then it happened…

She was a NO-SHOW! 

Maybe a friend taught her how to use her machine. I don’t know if I’ll ever find out. I kept her name and number in my class records and called her again for two subsequent classes to no avail. To this day, I often wonder about her. Is she using her machine? Is she using it for various specialized techniques for specific tasks in which sergers reign supreme? Has she ever threaded her machine? Or… 

… Did her machine become the White Elephant in the Closet?

If I ever needed a blogger emoticon for disappointment, it’s now. I frequently think about that customer. Here at Pocono Sew and Vac, our customers are like family. We take pride in striving for 100% satisfaction in sales, service, and education. If we’re not meeting those goals, we want you to pick up the phone and call us or drop us an email in order to rectify a situation or make improvements in areas of concern. We want all of you to be happy customers. We like to sell machines to help people achieve a high degree of productivity in their sewing rooms for many years to come. We include free machine education lessons for the vast majority of machines in our store, and many customers take advantage of those lessons. Many modern machines are not the simple knob and lever mechanicals of years gone by. Our grandmothers’ machines were was relatively simple and easy to use. It’s hard to believe, back in the day, that a button as simple as reverse was a BIG deal! 

Our modern machines are so much more than reverse. 300+ stitches or more, hover features, custom stitches, needle up/down, programmable foot pedals, needle threaders, cutters, color screens, wireless
Serged placemat & serged binding!
design transfers, iPad apps, and the list goes on. It’s mind boggling! What would our grandmothers think of the machines today! They would be amazed, perhaps a bit scared or apprehensive. Looking at Facebook and other cyber groups for our sewing world, the realization is that there are those among us who feel like our grandmothers probably would if they were alive today. That feeling is what makes machine education classes “sew” important.

Which brings me to my thoughts on sergers. We can’t put an exact number on how many customers come in to our store and shy away from sergers which are fantastic machines. The comments run the gamut from:

  •  “I don’t sew clothes anymore.” …Why?
  •  “They’re so hard to thread.” …No, most are not. 
  • “Oh, they just finish seams.” …They do so much more than that! 
  • “I had one but never used it.” …Wow, it makes things so easy. 
  • “I used to use it, but my thread broke.” …And…??? 

These answers are what drives our classes.  Here at the store, we offer classes on these machines that have the reputation of being among the hardest to use. But are they really? Like I’ve said before, most are NOT! But you wouldn’t know it unless you’ve attended our serger education classes. For those of you who are self starters, YouTube is great. However, a fair number of newbie serger owners like a little hand holding to build confidence and help with troubleshooting. That’s why we do what we do. Happy, knowledgeable customers are among the most productive. (Or at least they wish for more time to actually BE productive :)  ! 

When I think about that young serger owner last year, my thoughts take me to her closet. Did it happen? Did it become the white elephant in the closet? The all-too-familiar situation in which the owner looks at the box from time to time, thinks about taking it out one day, but the thought of actually working with it will either take too much time or it’s brings on that apprehensive feeling. Years later he/she wonders why they bought it because it was never or rarely used. 

We’re here to tell all of you ladies and gents, if that happened, you missed out on a whole lot of productivity and a whole lot of fun! Honestly, I can’t imagine life without a serger. It’s really an amazing machine. We don’t want to think about any more of those forlorn white elephants, so we decided to do something about it. It’s time to get those sergers out and threaded. And as for that young lady, I frequently think about it? 

 (And for all our customers with entry-level sergers.  You've asked, we've listened.)


Our first in a series of serger owner machine education YouTube videos. For all those customers who asked for this, it’s here. With more to come. Good for the following current models:

Janome 204D
Janome Magnolia 7034D
Janome 8002D 
and applicable info for other Janome and Necchi sergers including lay-in tension

Your happiness and machine satisfaction is our priority because WE CARE. Education is key to achieve that goal. We hope to see lots of pics of your serger projects on our Facebook page or email them to us at So get that serger out of the closet and out of the box. Give threading it a try, and do some samples. Look for our upcoming Fall class email next week which includes serger classes. 

Until next time, Happy Serging, and thanks for being part of the Pocono Sew and Vac family.  Come and visit us at the store, or if you’re purchasing on Amazon, please choose POCONO SEW AND VAC as your preferred seller.  And don't forget!  Like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for the latest in updates and info.

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