The first time when I was asked what is a serger sewing machine, my response was, “Sorry, what?”
Yeah, I got that cartoon cloud having a bulb with several question marks.
Some of you might also have the same response, especially the less-experienced sewists.
Don’t be embarrassed; not everyone knows about sergers from day one of their sewing journeys.
In this article, we will tell you everything necessary about a serger sewing machine.
So, when next time someone asks you about it, you will not have that blank look on your face.
Ready? Let the learning begin!
Table of Contents
What is a Serger Sewing Machine in the First Place?
A serger is a specialized sewing machine. You might know it as an overlocker.
This machine encloses the raw edges of the fabric to keep them from unravelling, giving your article a neat finishing.
We refer to this technique as ‘overlocking’ in layman’s terms.
Types of Sergers
Sergers are of various types, depending on the number of thread sources they use.
They require anywhere from 2 to 8 thread cones at once to give you desired stitches.
Following are the common thread serger types:
A 2-4 Thread Serger
This type of serger creates a safety stitch and a two-thread overlocked stitch.
It uses two threads for both functions.
The good thing is that you can use the machine to perform each operation separately.
A 3-4 Thread Serger
This machine demands three or four thread cones. Seams created with either of the two thread supplies will have a bit of a stretchy appearance. However, a 4-thread serging will create wider and stronger seams.
Most of them also create perfectly rolled hems when you change the throat plate.
The 4-thread serging is often referred to as a “mock safety” stitch. However, it lacks the strength of the true safety stitch.
A 5-Thread Serger
This serger machine is a jack of all trades – it can create all the seams that you want.
It uses three threads for overlocking edges and two for creating straight seams.
If you’ve got a ready-made dress, take a look at its parts bound by seams.
You might find overlocked edges with straight-as-line seams having cross stitches.
Well, that’s the work of a 5-thread serger.
Remember that this serger sewing machine falls under the expensive category.
What is This Thing Called Differential Feed on a Serger?
A differential feed controls the front and the back feed dogs.
Adjusting it expands your options.
For instance, if you adjust the feed when working with knits, you will get the same results that a regular sewing machine with an even feed foot would give.
Moreover, you can create a ruffle on a solo layer of woven fabric by speeding up the feed.
Besides, have you seen those lettuce-leaf like waved edges? Yes?
Well, you can obtain that by adjusting the machine.
What is Serging Used For?
Giving your fabric a neat finishing is not all that serging is used for.
Since they carry multiple thread sources and knives, they’re capable of seaming and trimming too.
All these functions, i.e. trimming, seaming and finishing, are carried out at the same time.
Following are some of the uses of serging
Sewing of seams has become a piece of cake because of sergers.
That’s because these machines are capable of multitasking.
They create seams, snip the allowance, and overcast the unruly edges of the material simultaneously.
This type of stitch is called a ‘four-thread stitch.
The seams created with this stitch hardly unravel.
People use this seam for stretch sewing as it keeps the seam secure while letting them stretch it.
Overcasting Raw Edges
When you have to enclose the edge of a single layer of a material, a 3-thread overcast stitch is used. The raw edge of the fabric is automatically trimmed as you overcast the edges.
Creating Flatlock Seams
Flatlock seams are used for binding two different fabrics. These are decorative and reversible seams that lay flat on the material.
You can add colour to your article by using different colour threads for looper and needle threads.
Creating Rolled Hems
A serger machine is also used for creating rolled hems. You need rolled hems for fixing edges of articles like napkins, scarves and wedding veils.
Tackles Stretchy Material
Serger machines are capable of tackling stretchy fabrics. You can accommodate a stretchy or puckered fabric once you adjust the differential speed of the serger.
If you adjust the speed ratio of your serger’s front and back feed dogs, it will ease the stretchy material or stretch crinkly fabric.
Cover Stitch or Double-Needle Topstitched
Sergers are often used to give professional finishing to cuffs. I am talking about the kind where the seams are double-needle topstitched. This type of stitch is called a cover stitch. It has two rows of topstitching and a serged finishing inside.
You will find this function mostly in upper-end sergers.
Gathering of Fabric
Not everybody knows that serging is also used for gathering fabric. You can perform gathering with a serger on flat ruffles where you don’t need uniform length. You can do gathering with a serger only on light to medium weight fabrics.
For instance, the ideal material for this technique is quilting cotton.
Note: Remember, some of these functions are only possible on a specific type of serger. So, you will need to do a test before buying a particular serger.
Can a Serger Replace Your Regular Sewing Machine?
Er…nope. Although some projects can only be done with a serger, it is not a replacement for your regular sewing machine.
For instance, only a sewing machine is capable of doing facings, buttonholes, zippers, topstitching etc.
So, if your project needs any of such parts, your serger will be of no help there.
Sergers are overlockers that fix excess edges of fabrics to give neat and professional-like finishing to your articles.
They use multiple thread sources to create the desired binding stitch.
Now that you’ve read our article, I am sure you will know what a serger sewing machine is and the things it can do.
So, take a deep breath, ponder a little, and decide whether the knowledge is sufficient for you or should you do more searching.