What exactly is a serger? A serger is like a sewing machine with three or four threads that wrap around the edge of fabric to prevent it from fraying. It sews, trims and finishes seams all in one step! A serger can make decorative edges and attach elastic. Look at the hem of any store bought garment and you’ll see a couple of rows of straight stitching on the outside and zigzags on the inside. This was done with a serger!
Do I really need a serger? This question is asked by all levels of sewers. It is one to ask yourself when you want to take your sewing to the next level.
The most straight forward answer is, well, maybe. It depends on where you want to go with your sewing and what benefits a serger can give you.
Here are a few questions to consider:
– How serious are you about sewing?
If you sew clothing often a serged edge looks professional and will make things easier and faster. Even if you are just sewing for you and your family a serger will allow you to quickly finish an edge and insure your finished product will survive washing and wearing.
You can do more than just finish an edge and hem things with a serger. Did you know you can quilt with it? You can even make a hat with entirely serged edges!
– Do you sew knits often?
Yes, you can get away with using a zigzag or stretch stitch on your regular machine for knits but if you sew knits often (like me!) a serger is the way to go. With knits a serger is incredibly quick and easy to sew seams.
– How lazy are you?
There are two ways this question can go. A serger sews and finishes an edge in one go. This makes finishing a project quicker than with a regular machine, saving you time and effort. Hemming a pair of pants is faster when you serge the raw edge instead of doing all the folding and measuring and pressing you would normally do to enclose the edge. You can also chain sew pieces without having to stop and clip threads each time.
There are still times when it is important to sew a seam with a sewing machine first which will increase the amount of time and effort you need to put in to finish a project. In that case you would take more time to serge the edges either together or by opening up the seam and serging either side individually. This makes the edges of the fabric more resistant to wear and tear, but it can get a little time consuming.
So depending on the type of seam or garment you are making, a serger can either remove steps in the creating process or add them.
What can a serger do that your sewing machine can’t and does that matter?
One thing a sewing machine can’t do – rolled hem. Basically a rolled hem is what it sounds like, a tight overlock stitch that rolls the hem in on itself ever so slightly. It makes a great finished edge for bridal gowns, flowy tops and dresses. A serger can also do things like gather or stretch the edge of a fabric, which is great for ruffles. If you buy what’s called a cover stitch machine you can make those double top stitches you find on the hems of your t-shirts!
I need one. Now what?
Sergers can appear pretty foreign if you’ve never used one and they are an investment.
Do you know a friend or relative who has one? See if you can test drive it. You can also come to Fabric Hut and talk to someone about it. We can show you how it works and give you more information to help you pick out the machine that best fits your needs.
Let’s face it, sergers cost money, but it will make your pieces last longer and take out a few steps in the sewing process, which can save you time. If you are selling your clothing it’s a great way to finish it in a professional way that will insure your customers that they bought a quality product that will last.
Need more help? Don’t worry we’re here to help you! email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or just Click here to make an appointment to talk to our sewing machine expert, Chris.