Everything You Need to Know About Sergers
If you’re involved in the world of machine sewing, you may have heard of a serger before but maybe you weren't sure exactly what it was or how it was different from a sewing machine.
A serger is a type of sewing machine that’s used to sew and cut fabric at the same time, which is highly efficient when constructing all different types of projects. This article will go over the details of what exactly sergers do, how they are used, and how they may be of use to you.
We'll also take a look at some of the most popular sergers on the market and take a detailed look at our #1 pick for the best serger, the Singer ProFinish Serger.
What is a Serger? How Is A Serger Different From A Sewing Machine?
Sergers are a little tricky to define because although they may seem the same as a typical sewing machine, they actually function in a different way.
Sergers are used for overcasting and creating a durable, professional-level seam. This machine completes multiple tasks at once, whereas a traditional sewing machine can only do one thing at a time. As the serger is sewing with multiple threads, it’s also trimming the seam allowance, which creates a clean edge.
Sergers can also be called overlock machines. To overlock is to reinforce the edge of fabric so it won’t fray or unwind--this is the basic purpose of a serger.
Sergers use multiple threads and needles, which is why they can create a stronger stitch than one created by a sewing machine. Sergers come with multiple thread options:
- 2-4 thread
- 3-4 thread
Sergers that use more threads will deliver more strength and reinforcement with every stitch. Additional threads also create more stretch in the material and more width in the seam. While sergers with more threads tend to be more expensive, they also create a higher-quality result.
What Do You Use A Serger For?
Many sewers prefer to work with a serger over a typical sewing machine for certain projects because it provides:
- Stronger seams
- More stretch in the fabric
- A more professional look
- Quicker results
Serged seams make garments look professionally made and provide the strength needed for long-lasting wear. Using a serger, you can achieve a pristine hem with no added time or effort. So, a serger is often used for clothing and fashion projects.
Working with knit fabrics on a traditional sewing machine often poses problems because of the amount of stretch in the material. As previously mentioned, sergers create more stretch in the fabric for clean, even seams. So, sergers are ideal for projects using knits and other stretchy fabrics, allowing you to create blankets, sweaters, socks, and more.
Sergers keep fabrics from fraying and unraveling, which you’ll find useful for creating home decor items like pillows and curtains. The strong, neat edges will fool your friends into thinking your homemade projects are store-bought!
What Settings Does A Serger Have?
If you know how to use a traditional sewing machine, you’ll have no trouble learning to use a serger. Getting the machine ready to go involves threading it and adjusting the settings to suit the project you’re working on. These settings include:
- Tension: Thread tension should be adjusted when you use different stitches. Follow the serger’s recommended tension setting to start and make adjustments if the thread isn’t creating the look you’re after.
- Cutting width: Changing the cutting width on a serger adjusts the amount of fabric between the stitch and the edge, allowing you to choose the thickness of a seam. Increasing the cutting width creates a thicker seam.
- Stitch: Sergers come with multiple stitch options for use on different types of projects. Functional stitches, including an overlock stitch and a rolled hem, are included with all sergers; many models include some decorative stitches as well.
- Feed system: It’s important that you set your serger’s feed system to accommodate the material you’re using. Raising the feed setting will cause the material to collect, which can be used for attaching pieces on a garment or creating a flared hem. Lowering the feed setting helps accommodate light, delicate fabrics to prevent puckering.
Should You Buy A Serger?
The question of whether or not to purchase a serger really depends on your sewing needs and how much you’re willing to invest in your sewing projects. Consider the following pros and cons to see if a serger is right for you.
- Sergers perform multiple functions simultaneously, saving time and effort.
- The stitches, seams, and hems created by a serger have a professional look and won’t fray or unravel.
- Sergers are great for making repairs; by using multiple threads, the stitches are stronger.
- The process of threading the machine is more complicated with a serger since it uses multiple threads and needles.
- Sergers are mainly intended for overcasting and creating hems or seams. This machine won’t entirely replace a sewing machine because it doesn’t perform the same variety of functions. The stitch selection of a serger is also more limited.
- Sergers typically cost from a few hundred dollars, which is a significant investment to make, especially if you’ve already bought a traditional sewing machine.
What Is The Best Serger? The Singer ProFinish!
It can be hard to narrow down all of the sergers available to just a single pick but based on the bestseller list on Amazon and the rave reviews it earns from fans, the Singer ProFinish 14CG754 is our choice for #1 serger.
Despite the complicated appearance of the Singer Profinish serger it is actually pretty easy to use. The Singer serger comes with easy to read instructions that will guide you through all of the setup and operations of the machine without being too confusing.
If you've used a sewing machine before then you'll be able to pick up the Singer ProFinish without any problems.
Seasoned sewers will attest to the fact that sergers are an exceptionally useful tool. This machine will improve the quality of your projects and help you complete them faster.
While a serger can’t entirely replace a traditional sewing machine, it greatly simplifies the process of overcasting, hemming, and creating seams.