What Does a Serger Do That a Sewing Machine Can’t

Just like everything in life, learning to sew is a journey. In this journey, you would have to acquire skills, and some machines may also be helpful in the process. A serger is one of those machines that you may need to get.

As a sewing machine is to sewing, so is a serger to serging. In subsequent paragraphs, we would be exploring things a serger can have done which a sewing machine can’t. Sounds interesting? Let’s jump in!

Top 10 Things Serger Can Do But a Sewing Machine Can’t

Sure, a regular sewing machine can do topstitching, buttonholes, zippers, and facings flawlessly, which a serger lacks. But looking at it in general, the latter can sew faster. It can also do a lot of things that standard sewing machines are not capable of doing.

Below, we are putting together the top 10 things that a serger can do but a sewing machine can’t do. So, these points set the serger apart from a regular sewing machine. Those planning to buy a new sewing companion may also find it helpful in weighing down their options.

1. Serger Can Stitch Using Different Threads

Having different thread options is possibly one of the excellent advantages of a serger over a traditional machine. That means multiple ways to get the work done more efficiently.

It also ensures there won’t be any presence of knots on your favorite garment. There are three common types of thread serger:

  • 2-4 Thread: It makes use of 2 threads; have the option to split each stitch from the other.
  • 3-4 Thread: It can work with either 3 or 4 threads. If you want to do an overcast, the 3-thread could be ideal. While for 4-thread, you can use it for knits thanks to the robust and flexible stitches it forms.
  • 5-Thread: It is the most expensive thread option available yet gives a myriad of seamless capabilities. The two threads create a straight seam line, while you can use the three threads for overlocked edges.

Investing more in these threads means having more selections to turn lackluster fabric into a livelier, gorgeous one.

2. Serger Can Sew Faster and Control Speed

Anyone who owns a serger and regular machine would surely agree when we say the former can sew much quicker. Almost twice the speed!

Not to mention the automatic system integrated to control the thread flow. So, less manual work.

In contrast, a household sewing machine lets you do labor-intensive control since you are stitching using your bare hands. It also makes sewing a lot easier and faster.

You’ll have more time and dedication to produce a bulk of masterpiece garments.

3. Serger Can Have Capacity for Any Fabric

Whether you have a sweater knit or woven that needs to be sewn, name it. Let the serger do its thing.

There would be fewer lumps and stretches. You can always expect a cleaner and more brilliant finish.

The machine can specifically accommodate knit textiles because it is designed akin to crochet or knit stitch. So, out of all sewing machine lock stitches, the serger is more superior at doing the work.

Other tricky fabrics it can handle include lace and sequins, even fabrics with vinyl and texture. Mixing things might be good.

But you may want to match your fabric type to the stitch type just in case. For example, use a stretch needle when working on knits and a 4-thread stitch for silk.

4. Serger Can Adjust Cutting Width

Using a serger will fast-track the sewing process and give you a feeling of being an expert hand cutter. The machine’s cutting system allows you to cut parts more precisely, whether in a small or large quantity.

The best part? You can do it while sewing! So, who says you need a scissor if you have this multi-function sewing machine at home?

5. Serger Can Make Sturdier Seams

The serger is also notable for producing stronger seams since it uses at least three or four threads. You can sew with confidence, knowing it will preserve your clothes and other garments for several years.

You have multiple ways to secure seams while at the same time giving it a stunning look. These include feeding the thread tail in the finished seam and serging over the thread tail. Don’t worry since they are not as complicated as you think.

6. Serger Can Do More Than Just Stitching

Both a serger and regular sewing machine can bind fabric and do piping. But other than that, a serger can overcast raw edges and trim fabric width effortlessly.

If you’re aiming for that double-needed topstitched finish (cover stitch), it won’t disappoint too.

Only top-level sergers generally have this function so far. There are more appealing works to discover once you own this machine.

7. Serger Can Secure and Finish Seams Together In One Step

Perhaps some of you decided to give up sewing in the meantime due to its time-consuming process. You need to cut, seam, secure, and finish a garment one by one.

But not with a serger. You can carry out all of these at once and at a rapid time! The 4-thread stitch, for instance, lets you stitch a seam and cut the allowance in a single step.

You can also overcast the edge. Just imagine the amount of time you can save and use it for other important stuff.

8. Serger Can Produce Perfectly Small Rolled Hems

Need to achieve that perfectly petite rolled hems on your table linen or scarf? There’s nothing that can be easier than doing it with a serger.

It has a thread and needle in either looper, with a tightened looper tension and up to 1mm stitch length.

The manual includes everything you need to create and design tiny rolled hems, so don’t sweat it out. You will have a lovely hem in just minutes.

For an improved project, you can switch to a different edge or use a conforming one. The latter will help you craft an edge that is almost invisible to the naked eye.

9. Serger Can Provide Differential Feed

Differential feed is every serger owner’s friend. It features two different feed dogs – one right under the machine’s feet and another in front.

Using it, you can stitch assorted types of fabric and get the same or diverse effect. Let’s say you are sewing a knit garment.

Adjust the serger to design a waved edge finish or change the speed ratio to make a ruffle. Move it lower to stretch out the fabric a little bit and move it higher to gather.

This feature is also convenient if you want to avoid puckering or knotting.

10. Serger Can Give Twist to Any Garment

You can do almost all the fun and beautiful sewing projects you think of with a serger alone. It ranges from heavy decorative edges for a purse or baby blanket to custom cord and zipper.

There’s also lettuce edging to add a feminine touch to an old shirt or baby garments.

Avid knit sewists would especially appreciate this sewing machine due to the more secure and loose-free output. You can mix and match all together to make a cool synchronizing look.

Moreover, the serger machine is deemed more efficient at quilting and sewing elastic fabrics than the average machine. Not only will it ensure a non-fraying finish but also polish off perfect raw edges.

And as a bonus, you can disable the blade while sewing, let’s say, stretchy materials. Plus, there are various types of unique needles to make your final output as creative as you want.

We have mentioned that the serger cannot do buttonholes and similar functions due to a shortage of attachments. But it is still possible to do so with the right sewing supplies and a bit of familiarity with the machine. Whether for personal or industrial use, it will help you create a more professional project.

The Serger is sometimes alluded to as overlock, but with a minor difference. It is a specialized sewing machine that doesn’t come cheap owing to the added features and excellent applications indicated above. Though, it can be a practical, long-term keepsake worth adding to any sewing room arsenal.

Why Use a Serger in Place of a Sewing Machine?

As we now know, we use a serger for making durable seams. Hence, we can use a serger in place of sewing machines. After all, it does an excellent and efficient job.

It actively helps in finishing clothes as it owns several thread spools, which helps to form firmly woven seams. The threads are woven around the seams to prevent fraying. Moreover, their blades help to remove seam allowance.

Can a Serger Substitute a Regular Sewing Machine?

Although the serger is primarily for making permanent seams, it is not limited to making seams alone. You can use it for completing some sewing projects.

But, it cannot completely replace a sewing machine. That’s because we can do some operations like buttonholes, zippers with the help of sewing machines only.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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