We frequently get asked why do I want a serger or an overlocker, what's the difference between them, can they do finish work, why do they cut the fabric....and many others. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about sergers they we hope will help you decide if a serger is right for you.
What is a Serger?
A serger, also called an overlock or lockstitch machine, is a specialty sewing machine used to create a stitch that overlocks the edge of the fabric as it sews. Some high end sergers will offer both overlocking features as well as chaining.
What is an overlocker?
Overlocking is the type of stitch most common on a serger and this term is frequently used interchangeably with serger.
What is Chaining?
A chain stitch uses a top and bottom thread to form a stitchh by creating a looped chain along the underside of the fabric. The stitch is inherently strechy and popular on t-shirts and knits. Multiple rows of top stitchs can be held in place by a single lower thread/chain called a cover stitch.
Why would I use a serger?
If you want to work on stretch fabrics, nothing beats a serger. If you are interested in finished seams on your garments, the serger will trim and overlock in a single step. If you want speed then a serger is for you, typically sergers are anywhere from 600-1000 stitch per minute faster than a sewing machine.
Can my sewing machine do what a serger does?
Many of todays machines offer great stretch stitches, though not the chain stitch they be used for similar purposes. Sewing machines also offer a variety of overcasting stitches. These stitches use two threads (instead of the 2-5 threads offered by a serger) to create an overcast edge similar to an overlock stitch, you use a special sewing machine attachment to align the stitch along the edge of the fabric versus trimming the seam allowance as you would with the serger.
I heard that sergers were hard to thread, is that true?
Because a serger can use more than two threads (needle and bobbin) some people are at first intimidated by threading the serger. Some models have over a dozen possible threads, though most only have 4 or 5. If you have someone teach you how to thread your machine you will soon learn that though there are lots of threads, the sergers tend to be well marked with easy to follow thread paths. After a few tries you'll find that though confusing at first glance the sergers aren't that difficult to setup and use. If all else fails and you're in a rush - tie the new thread color to the old thread tail and simply pull the thread through the thread path to be up and sewing with a new color in no time at all.
Sergers started as a staple of industrial sewing companies, especially for home dec and garment work, they have quickly been establishing themselves in the home market. With lots of features and options available we suggest you stop by the shop and let us show you what a serger can do for you. We carry a wide range of overlockers, combination overlock/coverstitch and coverstitch only machines.