The Pfaff Coverlock 4772 is a great first serger choice
May 3, 2001 (Updated May 14, 2001)
Review by milanaj
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Well built, lots of stitch programs, good dealer network
The Bottom Line: I think the 4772 is a great machine and recommend it with the reservation of difficult threading.
I doubt that I fit Pfaff’s serger buyer profile. I am a bachelor, my profession is software and my main hobbies are outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking and bicycling. I am also an accomplished machinist and mechanic. My initial exposure to sewing machines was purely mechanical, friends and family asking me if I could try and fix a malfunctioning machine. I found sewing machines fascinating pieces of machinery. Of course, I learned to sew a few stitches in order to test my repairs. Eventually, I took an antique machine home with the intent of using it to do simple mending. I have since made my own technical sports wear from scratch and have never taken a lesson or bought a commercial pattern. I relate sewing to sheet metal work and a serger is like having a pneumatic rivet gun.
Recommend this product?
So, the reason I wanted a serger is that modern technical fabrics need a stitch that will survive a lot of stretch as well as fray control. This is a real challenge on a machine that only sews a straight stitch forwards and backwards. I also realized a serger would be a time saver doing alterations such as hemming pants or repairing pockets.
I researched sergers here on Epinions as well as discussion groups and talked to the two friends I know who own sergers. My research yielded the following criteria:
· Cheap Sergers break a lot, especially go out of time
· Differential feed is a must for exotic fabrics
· Buy from a local dealer
· The brands that seem to get the most praise:
I was now ready to look at machines. I went to a dealer near my office, Northgate Sew and Vac in San Rafael, Ca. They carry Pfaff and BabyLock and had several used machines to offer in the $300 to $400 range. They also were having a Pfaff sale and were offering new Pfaff sergers from $340.00. I was really impressed by the dealer’s product knowledge, I knew I wanted to buy from them. Now the choice was which one.
The 4772 is the middle-line serger offering from Pfaff. List price for the machine is a showstopper of $1100 but it was on special for $488.00. It is the entry point for two important features: five thread capability and the “coverlock” stitch. The coverlock stitch sews a serged bottom while exposing only a dual straight stitch on top. It looks like factory-finished clothes. I thought that was pretty cool and was a major decision factor for me. At the time of purchase I under estimated the value of the fifth thread, I’ll get to that soon. Other attractive features not found on lower priced machines were a heavy duty motor and a two speed foot control.
The machine comes prethreaded and setup for a stitch program that yields a two-thread chain stitch plus a three-thread serged edge. This is how I learned the value of a five-thread machine. I had several pairs of pants that had holes in the pockets and nothing else wrong with them. I was amazed how fast I could do the repair on my new serger compared to the old sewing machine! If I did not have the five-thread machine, it would have been a two-machine job and would not have come out so good. For general serging, I like the four-thread program; it is secure and looks good. So good in fact I have chosen to leave the serged seams exposed on a fleece robe rather than hem it, saved a lot of time and it looks nice.
I expected a learning curve before I would be able to do anything productive on the machine. I also anticipated that most operations would require both the serger and the conventional machine. I have been wrong on both counts. I am amazed at how controllable the machine is. I was tackling real repair projects within an hour of getting it out of the box. The two-speed foot control helps a lot; it lets you run the machine at a manageable feed rate with full needle penetration power. If you are new to these machines, do not overlook this feature! With the five-stitch programs, I hardly ever bring anything out of the serger over to the conventional sewing machine. Of course the serger does not replace the conventional machine for utility work such as sewing nylon webbing, leather, etc.
I have not had any problems other than “user error”. Every now and then I do something that causes a thread to break or the thread to knot up. Usually this amounts to trying to force feed the fabric through the machine. The machine does have its shortcomings though. Switching from one thread program to another always involves rethreading. Threading the lower loopers is a real pain! In the beginning it seems impossible, as the learning curve progresses you loose that helpless feeling but it doesn’t seem to get easy. The operation involves using tweezers (supplied) to direct thread through guides buried between the loopers. Setting up for that cool cover stitch is worse, it is more like a machine conversion. It involves changing the base plate, the presser foot, disengaging one of the lower loopers, folding the cutter out of the way and changing the front feed cover. It is so involved, I have not done that yet at home, I am saving up projects to make the effort worthwhile. In fact, it pays to plan your projects to minimize how often you change the machine setup in general.
The high-end BabyLock machines have a wonderful automatic threading system but even on sale they cost twice what I paid for the Pfaff. If you use the machine more than I will and/or you lack manual dexterity in the hands you may want to consider one of the BabyLocks.
When one considers why I bought a serger, the Pfaff 4772 seemed a bit overkill. Now that I have used it for a while, I realize that such a feature rich, high quality machine saves me lots of time and I am sure, eased my learning curve. I also have been delighted with my dealer who has been available to provide tips and tricks as I run into questions. They have even invited me for free personal lessons but so far I am doing OK on my own.
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