What are serger sewing machines used for?
The easiest way to determine if you need a serger is to take one homemade item of clothing and another store bought item. Now compare the seams and thread to see how much more a serger can do.
Not only does this machine sew the seam allowance and fabric edge but also overcasts the edges as well. It sews the two together while trimming the extra fabric. You can finish edges and seams quickly and embellish with decorative thread using cover or chain stitches.
Features to consider while choosing a serger sewing machine
As you will see looking at a serger machine, threading is a multifold task. If you have a hard time threading your regular sewing machine, then brace yourself, for you’ll have to thread a couple of times more to get your serger started. Along with the challenge of threading, you will also have to look at some other special features to make sure you get the best machine that complements your sewing needs.
Number of threads
Sergers come in different varieties ranging from 2-4 thread sergers to 5 thread sergers. The advantage of the extra threads is that you get the option of working with wider seams. The same also give you more stretch in the fabric along with a higher degree of durability and strength in your finished product.
A greater number of threads will also facilitate working with different types of fabrics. Whereas regular sewing machines can make it difficult to work with stretchy materials such as knitted fabrics, a serger will work with these smoothly.
A 2-4 thread serger gives you two threads on a straight stitch with the other two on the overcast stitch. A 3-4 thread machine yields a wider and stronger seam as it can roll the fabric edges to the underside and catch them with the bottom thread. A 5 thread serger uses three threads on the overcast and two on the straight stitch.
One of the perks of owning a serger is that it lets you work at a much higher speed than regular sewing machines. As such, you would want to find a model that gives speed along with performance and still lets you complete your project with a neat and tidy finish.
Motor speeds for sergers can range from 1,000 stitches to 1,500 stitches with most models yielding 1,300 stitches per minute. Look for a model that offers at least 1,300 stitches per minute (you can choose from the many that we have recommended here). All the models from Brother as well as the Singer ProFinish will give you these many stitches per minute, while the Juki will up your game by 1,500 stitches.
The one concern here is to keep the noise level in mind. Often, the faster the motor goes, the louder it gets.
That said, the Brother 2340CV and Juki MO644D have earned praised for their super quiet performance.
The stitch width feature is an important one when serging. It allows you to modify the width of your stitches as you create designs or edging, or add stylistic features to your work.
But the stitch width setting on your serger does more than control how wide the stitch is. It also moves the cutting blade on your machine. This feature lets you wrap your stitches exactly at the fabric edge. If your cutting width is too narrow, it will result in the stitches hanging off the fabric edge. You should increase the cutting width until the thread meets the edge of the fabric.
Every serger comes equipped with two sets of feed dogs to move the fabric through the machine. The differential feed or feed ratio controls the movement of both the front and rear feed dogs.
When set at the feed ratio of 1, which will be the default ratio on most machines, both feed dogs move along at the same speed. When you adjust the feed ratio to less than one, the front feed dogs move slower that their rear counterparts. You may wish to do this when working with lightweight fabrics that pucker. This low setting will stretch the fabric as you sew and prevent puckering.
When the feed ratio is set to greater than one, the front feed dogs move faster than those at the rear and gather fabric as it gets sewn. This setting is helpful for removing rippling when serging stretches fabric.
Serger dimensions vary based on model with most models being slightly larger than sewing machines. However, you have to keep storage in mind.
Chances are if you want to invest in a serger machine, you already possess a sewing machine. So always check product details to see if your new serger will fit in your available space.
Look for a brand that comes with a solid warranty. Most reputable brands will offer a substantial warranty spanning around the 25-year mark. From our recommended list of products, all models by Brother as well as the Singer ProFinish meet this requirement.
The warranty establishes the confidence of the company in their product and is a show of goodwill that their machine will offer durability along with performance. Since quality sergers don’t come cheap, we recommend looking for something backed by a warranty to make the purchase worth your investment.
Sergers have standard features that you should never scrimp on. However, the higher the price, the more special features you get.
Because threading seems to be a common deterrent among those new to serging, and even among seasoned sergers, you may want to look into a model that includes automatic threading. Another extra feature is to look for additional feet as this instantly broadens not only the options but also the scope of your work. Models that come with additional accessories are good investments as accessories can be quite expensive to purchase separately.