Serger VS Sewing machine: Everything You Need To Know About Serger and Sewing machines


A serger machine is a type of sewing machine used to sew fabric and materials together with thread. Sergers can be used instead of regular sewing machines, to create professional seam finishes on clothing and other sewn items. The name “serger” comes from one of its original inventors named Charles Bessen. His machine was called the “Automatic Sergede” (sergede means “to sew and cut”). Another inventor named Walter Morlan invented a similar machine in 1880, but he instead called his invention the “tricot” (“to knit”). He is also credited with coining the term “serger”.

Uses of serger machines in fabrics

Serger machines are used for sewing woven fabrics and knits that involve multiple steps. They cut the threads between each stitch, which reduces time spent finishing seams, and provides a quality professional finish. For this reason, sergers are commonly found in places such as garment factories, fashion design studios, dressmaking establishments, and many other places where the final appearance of product matters.

Use of serger for professionals             

While sergers are used in many different types of professional settings, they are also found in some consumer households as well. Most people who own one use their serger regularly for certain clothing projects such as hemming jeans or creating t-shirt seams. Some companies have made inexpensive machines designed for beginners, but these only provide the basic capabilities that a serger can perform.

Usage in home

A serger and a sewing machine are both used for home and for making clothes, but they do have some differences. The primary difference is the form of binding. A serger uses an overlock stitch, whereas most sewing machines use a lockstitch, and some use a chain stitch. Sergers can be set to perform as zigzag-only sewing machines, although they cannot take as wide of seam allowances as those machines.

Serger VS sewing machine

A serger is technically different than a sewing machine. A serger has few to several threads that loop around knives, which simultaneously cuts and sews the fabric. On most home machines, the needle only penetrates through one layer of fabric. The top thread pulls the bottom thread up behind it through a vertical slit in order to form two separate stitches: an upper stitch and a lower stitch. This process is very similar to what you would find on most sewing machines, but instead of one thread, there are two threads working together. The second set of threads is referred to as the looper threads.

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Difference in using thread

A serger (also known as overlock machine) sews with multiple thread cones, plus it uses knives to trim away extra fabric. A sewing machine has only one thread spool and a needle to pierce through an individual fabric layer at a time. Sergers create seam finishes that are similar to the stitches on stretch garments or jeans which have an almost complete lack of visible thread. Most modern machines can function as both sergers and sewers depending on the accessories used.

Difference in mechanism

Serger machines are also quite different from other types of sewing machines because they have their own distinct mechanisms that allow them to operate. For example, a serger machine has two spindles: one for the upper looper thread and another for the lower looper thread.

Distinction in serger and overlock machine

Many people confuse sergers with overlock sewing machines. While both types of machine create similar seam finishes, their internal mechanisms are quite different from each other. An over lock sewing machine is primarily used to finish raw fabric edges by using a four-thread stitch.

A majority of home machines cannot produce this type of stitch and instead sew zigzag stitches in order to achieve an over lock style seam finish on the fabric edge. The cut created on top of this type of stitching will roll to the underside, creating bulk at the seams. This is why many people choose to trim away the excess fabric with pinking shears or a rotary cutter after stitching the seam on an overlock machine.

Cuts and sew                                      

A serger, however, cuts and sews two pieces of fabric at the same time using two spindles that carry multiple threads. This allows the stitch to lock onto it, preventing fraying and ensuring it will not roll to the underside. The cut created on top of this type of stitching will be very narrow.

Important difference between serger and sewing machine

  • The main difference between a serger and a sewing machine is that a serger uses an overlock stitch, whereas most sewing machines use a lockstitch, and some use a chain stitch.
  • Typically these machines have blades that cut as you go. Sewing machines perform at much slower speeds than sergers. Even commercial machines and sergers still have a dramatic stitch per minute difference.
  • Another big difference is the price. Sergers are typically more expensive than regular sewing equipment, but not nearly as much as embroidery machine prices.

Less obvious difference

Another less obvious difference is that with most household sewing machines you would want to purchase good quality thread to avoid any breakage or tension issues caused by cheap thread or poor needle quality. With high speed serging, cheap thread is the norm.

Benefits of using serger machine

  1. One of the benefits to using a serger to make clothes is that it usually makes very clean finished seams and edges which add to the durability and professional look of your completed garment. It also allows you to use many different types of thread and fabrics, such as cotton knits and lycra. A serger allows for stretchability that is not possible with a sewing machine.
  2. Another benefit to the serger is that it sews at speeds much faster than a sewing machine, creating more completed garments in less time. Although the price is typically higher, you will make up for it in time savings when you factor in all of the hours spent trying to sew with a standard sewing machine.


Your choice of machine will be primarily determined by the fabric you use. The differences between sergers and sewing machines should be considered when comparing them. It is impossible to interchange sergers and sewing machines because they are built differently. You can only replace some of the functions on your sewing machine with a serger.

The serger is the best tool for achieving fast, neat, and factory-precise seams. A seam made with a serger will always look more professional than one with some sewing machines’ overlock function.

Frequently Asked Questions

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