Brother 4234DT Top of the Line FREEARM Serger (same as Project Runway 5234PRW) has a One Touch sturdy metal needle threader requiring one finger to lower the lever and automatically thread the needles just like the easiest to use Brother embroidery machines do!
Disclosure: All Babylock embroidery machines are made by Brother with the same improved needle threaders!
However, Babylock serger needle threaders require both hands! Right hand to twist a loop in the thread (difficult with some threads) to place on the needle threader hook, while turning the needle threader dial down with the left hand. That is hardly automatic needle threading! No better than the original two hand built in needle threaders that first came out in the 1970's with Pfaff and Singer.
Babylock's easy threading claims can be "Full of Air", just like their sergers. Jet Air Threading is ok when it works. If thread clogs the tubes, you cannot use wire probes to dislodge because that might scratch the inside of the smooth tubes. We have even had to remove or replace tubes, using a solvent or blow torch to burn off clogged and impacted thread wads inside, before residuals can be removed with an air compressor. There is just not enough Jet Air pressure built in the machine to remove thread clogs from tubes. Even 100+ PSI air compressors may not remove the clogs without desolving or burning off impacted thread first.
The reason Babylock sergers are USD999 for 4 thread up to USD2500 or more for 8 thread with coverstitch is that they are not allowed to be sold on the internet! There is no universal price competition, except in local markets if there is more than 1 dealer, which is not likely.
When you can buy 3 top Brother freearm serger, coverhem and computer sewing machines for less than the price of the bottom end Babylock, you know you are paying too much for just a 4 tread serger machine without cover hem stitches, extension table, extra feet, or FREEARM capability for cuffs, sleeves, pantlegs, and other tubular sewing projects.
Dear Mr. Douthat,
I am interested in buying my first serger. I am already familiar with Brother sewing/embroidery machines and love them, so I was looking at the Brother 1034D and the Brother 4234DT. Can you compare and contrast these models. I do like the auto threader option, not sure it is a must have on a serger though. I am open to other brands and factory serviced options as long as they have the same warranty....
Kayla, all Brother sergers regardless of model or condition (brand new or factory serviced) have the same 5Yr Parts, 2Yrs Electrical and 90 Day Service Labor Warranty nationwide at Brother ASC Authorized Service Centers. .
Short list of wants:
Easy (color coded) threading Most all sergers have color coded threading. Automatic needle threaders are more important on a serger since there are 2 needles instead of one, the foot sticks out in front so it is harder to hand thread each needle without tweezers. If you have ever threaded a Brother embroidery or sewing machine, the serger uses the same automatic needle threader mechanism except that it is more sturdy with metal instead of plastic.
Clear and easy stitch selection. Thread charts are on the machine and in the manual and on the videos. Difference is that 1034 only has 3 and 4 thread stitch configurations where as 4234DT has all three: 2, 3 and 4 thread stitches. The 2 thread is used for flatlocking, narrower rolled hems, and uses less thread when overcasting with 2 instead of 3 threads.
Easy needle and foot change. All 6 feet are easy snap on, and interchangeable between all the Brother serger models.
Multiple types of stitches for different fabrics and applications (I don't know if this is where a 2,3,4 vs a 3,4 comes into play) Yes, The 2 thread is used for flatlocking, narrower rolled hems, and uses less thread when overcasting with 2 instead of 3 threads.
Performs some functions of a regular sewing machine so I don't have to go back and forth to much. You can't do straight stitch or buttonholes on a serger, but you can do seams with overcasting and rolled hems easier on a serger than a sewing machine since you are doing two functions at the same time and the excess fabric is being trimmed. The cutting knife is disengable in case you want to sew on a folded or cut edge that you don't want to trim. Some entire sportswear garments can be made on the serger if you don't need to go back and add any straight stitches or top stitching. Sergers are like microwaves in the kitchen. They can't do everything the stove can do but they can do some things faster and better than the sewing machine with a more professional finish.
Easy to maintain. Yes, just keep the machine cleaned and oiled and change needles every 8 hours of machine time, or whenever you hear the needles popping the fabric. If you hand wheel onto the fabric to watch the stitches forming before you press on the foot pedal, you will notice any mis-threading or thread catching anywhere in the thread path and fix before the machine can break any threads or needles. .
I currently want this to:
Make durable seams and finishes for garments. 4 threads recommended for most seams. 3 threads for very lightweight or narrow knit seams and most rolled hems. 2 threads for light weight rolled hems (lingerie) and flatlocking.
Decorative/durable edges for home decor. Yes, you can use YLI wooley stretchable nylon thread for rolled hems, and some heavier decorative threads, yarns and ribbons for embellishing garments in the top and/or bottom loopers.
Sewing on elastic easily Elasticator foot is available for stretching and stitching elastic at the same time. See video at Brother SA212 Serger Elastic Gathering Foot, up to 1/2" Elastic Application, Metal Snap On Sole Feet for 900's 1034D 1134 3034D 4234DT 5234PRW PL2100
Blind hem stitch. Yes, a Blind Stitch Foot is included with all brand new Brother serger models (factory serviced 1034D does not include). See Brother X76661001 Blind Hem Stitch Serger Foot 2or3 Thread Op, SnapOn Metal Sole, Adjustable Hem Guide for 900 1034D 1134DW 3034D 2100D 4234DT 5234PRW
Not too worried about a cover stitch. Brother has a separate machine for coverstitch if you ever need it. The 2340CV
I want to make sure I get something that I will be happy with for years to come. You can purchase based on the differences and be satisfied with any Brother serger model, brand new or factory serviced.
I would appreciate any advice that you could give me. Kalya