Everything You Wanted To Know About Sergers

Everything you wanted to know about sergers

If you’ve never sewn with a serger, you’re in for a treat. Sergers are wonderful machines that trim the fabric edge, overcast it, and sew a seam all at the same time. They also sew lovely embellishment stitches and tightly rolled hems. Your serger will soon become one of the most useful tools in your sewing room. It’s not difficult to use and you’ll soon appreciate how much more quickly you can sew and how professional looking your finished results will be!

What Is A Serger & What Can I Do With It?

What Is A Serger & What Can I Do With It?

A serger is also called an overlock or Merrow machine (the manufacturer of the industrial version). Overlock is really the name of the primary stitch formed by the machine, but the term is frequently used to describe the machine itself.

The serger stitches a seam while trimming and overcasting the seam allowance, all in one step. It is also perfect for edge finishing single layers of fabric for hemming or for a simple clean finished fabric edge. It moves at a speed of about 1,300 stitches per minute much faster than a standard home sewing machine. It can save hours of tedious seam finishing and give all your projects a more professional look, whether the serged stitches are functional (on the inside) or decorative (on the outside)!

A serger is typically defined by the number of threads it uses, anywhere from two to five (with additional threads if there are double or triple needles on a single shaft). The number of threads, in turn, determines how many stitches and what types of stitches the machine can form. 

Sergers have been marketed to home sewers for only a few decades. The original machines were large, heavy, and loud, with exposed knives that were somewhat dangerous. Today’s sergers are much more user-friendly and are available at many price points and with a range of features. Many models are computerized.

A serger can’t entirely replace a sewing machine, but it can certainly enhance your overall sewing. You will find that the more you use your serger, the more comfortable and knowledgeable you will become, and the more you’ll be able to do with it. Whatever you call it the serger, Merrow, or overlock machine once you start using it, you’ll wonder what you ever did without it.

What Is A Serger & What Can I Do With It?

Do sergers have different stitches?

To choose the best stitch for your projects, learn a little about each type of stitch. Each stitch style has its own look and its own function.

Two Threads

The overedge, flatlock, and rolled-edge stitches offer additional seaming and edge-finishing options. A two-thread chain stitch looks like a standard sewing straight stitch.

Three Threads

The three-thread overlock is used to seam and edge-finish knits and some lightweight woven fabrics. It is also the premier edge-finishing stitch.

Four Threads

A four-thread stitch is a little heavier and more secure than a three-thread stitch. The serger must have at least two needles to make most of these stitches.

Five Threads

With five threads, you get the most secure seam and edge-finishing stitch. The five-thread safety stitch combines the two-thread chain stitch with the three-thread overlock.

What is the Difference Between a Serger and a Sewing Machine?

The serger is the perfect complement to your sewing machine for its speed, its professional edge finishing, and its decorative versatility. Although it can’t replace a sewing machine, you can sew entire projects on a serger, such as knit items and some home décor projects.

The biggest difference between a sewing machine and a serger is that sergers have loopers instead of a bobbin for the lower thread. The thread passes through large eyes on the loopers, instead of wrapping around them, as it would around the bobbin. You still need your sewing machine to sew facings, most zippers, buttonholes, topstitching, and tailoring. The sewing machine is essential when accuracy, precision, and garment fit are important.

You don’t absolutely need a serger, of course unless you sew professionally but a serger certainly makes your sewing life easier, your finished projects more professional looking, and the sewing experience much more fun.

Serger Vs Sewing Machine 

1 or 2 spools of thread, plus one bobbin 2 to 10 spools of thread
Lower thread feeds from a single bobbin row2 col 2Lower thread feeds through loopers
Threads penetrate fabric Threads penetrate and/or wrap around fabric edge
Machine can backstitch Machine cannot backstitch
Stitches precisely on curves and corners Is challenging to stitch precisely on corners and curves
Does not trim seam allowances Trims seam allowances as it stitches

How does a sewing serger work?

How is a serger different from a standard sewing machine? One of the biggest differences is how the stitches are formed. A standard sewing machine has two threads: an upper thread, which goes through the needle, and a bobbin thread. When you sew, the threads meet within the fabric, locking together to form a stitch. A serger doesn’t have a bobbin. Instead, it has loopers, which are curved, moving arms with an eye in one end. The looper carries thread fed from a spool through a series of guides. Your serger may have two or three loopers, depending on the type of serger it is.

The loopers work with the needle (or needles, depending on your serger and the type of stitch you are making). Together, they “knit” the stitch onto the fabric’s edge. Loopers do not pierce the fabric. Instead, they lay stitches on the top and bottom surfaces of the fabric and “lock” them along the fabric’s edge, catching the thread from the moving needle.

As the fabric approaches the presser foot on a serger, it passes under a moving knife blade, which trims away any excess fabric. The blade cuts the seam allowance to the exact width of the stitches that wrap the edge. Because the serger trims, stitches, and finishes the edge all at the same time, you can quickly and easily sew perfect, finished seams in one pass.

How does a sewing serger work?

A sewing machine forms a stitch when the thread from a single needle (or multiple needles on the same needle shaft) pierces the fabric and interlaces with the thread from a bobbin, located within the bed of the machine.
How does a sewing serger work?

A serger forms stitches with multiple threads. The serger has one, two, or three long metal loopers that carry the threads over and under the fabric.

How does a sewing serger work?

The loopers form stitches around the edge of the fabric without penetrating it. The looper threads interlace with the needle threads, which do penetrate the fabric.

With your serger, you can seam two pieces of fabric, finish edges, gather ruffles, and sew on trims. But this wonderful machine does much more than utilitarian work it can sew many decorative effects and finishes, especially if you use special, novelty threads that add dimension or sheen. See Serger Stitches.

How does a sewing serger work?

As you sew, the serger’s knife blades trim the excess seam allowance before the fabric reaches the needle and loopers.

For some tasks, you’ll still need your sewing machine for example, for basting a seam, topstitching, or creating buttonholes. But you’ll learn as you make the projects in this book, the serger and sewing machine are perfect complements. Together they help you stitch just about anything! You’ll soon discover ways of combining the best of both machines to get fast, professional results.

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