What Is ‘Serging’ in Sewing?

A serger is a distinctive-looking sewing machine that gives you highly professional-looking stitches because it combines three different tasks at once when you are sewing. A serger sewing machine, also called a top-locking machine, is a sewing machine that uses both a chain stitch and a locking seam (also known as a top-edged seam) to stitch your seams more quickly.

In sewing, serging, or overlocking, is the process of using a serger machine to complete a piece. A serger enables the user to stitch a seam, trim its excess allowance, and overcast the edges. Sergers are able to cut fabric in addition to sewing it, and they tend to be both faster and more expensive than regular sewing machines.

The primary difference between a sewing machine and a serger is that sergers use an overlock stitch to encase a seam while sewing entirely. Because of the many threads being coiled, the serger produces seams that are much more professional and more durable than those produced by a standard sewing machine.

An Overview of Serger Thread

Serger thread is thinner than the thread you would use on a regular sewing machine, allowing it to be sewed faster and not make bulky seams. Suppose you are working with a sturdier fabric (where you do not want double layers of material in your seam allowance). In that case, you can use the serger to finish off the edges of the two pieces of fabric separately and then sew the fabrics together using your regular sewing machine and open up your seam allowance. The serger uses 3, 4, or 5 threads to sew a seam, trim raw edges, and finish edges, all at once.

A serger makes one line of straight stitches but also runs a pattern of stitches across the raw edges of a seam allowance. A serger does this by straight sewing stitches interlocked by several loops, which overlook the edges of the seam. The thread locks up around the hem, preventing fraying, and the serger also has a blade that cuts off seam allowances while sewing (the edge can even be turned off if desired).

A serger machine is generally used for finishing raw edges and seams on knitted fabrics, creating tightly bound edges that do not unravel or fray. A serger is helpful when sewing with woven fabrics (non-stretch fabrics, such as in the picture above) as it finishes the raw edges and prevents fraying. With my personal opinions aside, you will be using a serger when you want to trim edges on your fabrics while sewing. Some materials, like knits or stretchy fabrics, are perfect to sew using a serger, as a serger makes elastic stitches.

Common Issues Encountered by Surgery

Unfortunately, sergers are mainly used for joining up stitches and keeping the edges of your fabric from fraying. Sergers have a blade that cuts through the extra material when stitching. The staples of sergers are generally more robust and springy than those of a typical sewing machine, making clothing and accessories sturdier. Because sergers are known for their effectiveness, craftspeople use them instead of conventional sewing machines, which require more time and energy to make seams because of their smaller sewing spaces.

Some home machines have stitches similar to those used by sergers, finish off seam edges and sew on seams that are stretched out for knits. You do not necessarily have to finish raw edges on knits (since it does not crease), but sewing your own serged seams is generally more durable than sewing on a sewing machine since serged seams cling.

Even if you plan on sewing mostly clothes with straight seams, the serger makes life easier when it comes time to hem your garments or add an understitch using an overstitch. Some quilters love that sergers have stitch widths as narrow as exactly 1/4-inch, and sewing by serger is speedy too.

The most common type is a 3/4 serger that can sew three to four threads. Without sergers, you could use a sewing machine to finish off the cloth using zig-zag stitches.

Crafting is where the serger shines: creating a finished edge to your fabrics without using a zig-zag or other finishing method. A serger uses unique and overlapping stitches to create a finished edge on your fabric. This is how the machine produces that serger-specific overlocking stitch, which leaves your cloth with a neat, professional finish in no time.

How a Serging Machine Works

A Serger, or overlock, is a sewing machine that cuts and locks in a seam or the edges of the cloth into the threaded enclosure, all in one pass. A Serger or Overlocker is a machine that does its primary work by overlocking or sewing on the edges of cloth. An overlocker (or serger) is a sewing machine that uses several threads to stitch fabrics together and overlock the advantages.

The serger makes life much easier for many fabrics these days, and it adds so much strength to many seams, particularly for kids’ clothes. Professional sewists also see a serger as a more expensive alternative to a machine that uses a chain stitch, as it is made of fewer moving parts than standard sewing machines, but the benefits greatly outweigh that.

The advantages of using the serger on stretch fabrics are the stitch is more robust, the chances of a stitch popping are lower, stitches do not unravel, and you can finish your project faster. Think about the complicated looping of the threads used by a serger to create a closed-end stitch, as opposed to the simple needle-and-bobbin operation of your average sewing machine.

The hem is stretched out (like flat 4-thread stitches), so that hem will be challenging and looks very similar to the hems that come from stores, which are sewed by coverstitch machines (another sewing together). You might find that not every serger perfect for creating tiny hems uses this stitch.

With a serger, if you sew the right-side up (RST) and press down on one side (SEW), this will finish either in a blanket stitch or in a blind hem stitch, depending on the serger type.

What Is ‘Serging’ in Sewing?
What Is ‘Serging’ in Sewing?

Grandma Dee

Hello, I'm Grandma Dee. I created Fairy Epic because I love the beautiful world depicted in fairy tales, and I wanted to help make it a reality.

Recommended Articles