So, you own a basic Bernia serger or a Husqvarna Viking overlock or have heard about these efficient sewing machines somewhere and are thinking of getting yourself one? Good for you, the world of efficient quilting and machine stitching with multiple threads awaits, and here is your guide.
Sewing is a fun hobby. There’s much joy in watching as your beautiful masterpiece comes to shape. It is useful and satisfying, especially with the ongoing COVID-19, simply fire up your workhorse and make masks for family, friends, neighbors, and local healthcare workers. The serger sewing machine is one of the best devices for making professional projects.
What is a Serger Sewing Machine Used for?
A serger is a used to seam fabric using multiple threads while overcasting simultaneously to cover rough edges. A serger also goes by ‘overlocker’ in European countries owing to its primary stitch, the overlock stitch. You can use the names interchangeably. It also depends on where the manufacturer of the machine is based. For example, Bernina, from a Swiss-based manufacturer, is commonly referred to as an overlocker even in the U.S.
Sergers are essentially sewing machines with improved functionality because they come with 3, 4, or 5 bobbins with three or four threads attached. Normal sewing machines, on the other hand, only have one thread. You can use a serger to sew non-stretchy materials and finish raw edges using an overlock stitch to prevent fraying. Sergers are incredible machines for constructing and finishing off projects.
A serger can be also be used to piece a quilt. Indeed, using a serger for quilting is much easier and faster once you get used to the machine. You can chain-stitch or use three or four threads.
Threading on a Serger
Threading on a serger is not hard once you understand the machine. Sergers were designed to be user-friendly. For example, the Bernina overlocker’s threading path is color-coded, and you just need to follow the order from the blue looper (upper) to the red (lower) and, finally, the green and yellow thread needles. Here’s how to thread on the serger.
- Open your machine to access essential threading tools. You will find tweezers, threader/needle holder, lint brush, and screwdriver behind the cover door.
- Raise the machine’s presser foot to release tension disks on the threads so you can tie them together and sew with ease.
- Find the needle position window and make sure the red line is at the same position.
- Reach at the back of the sewing machine for the retractable thread stand and raise it, then place your thread on it and guide it to the top of the stand. You can use spool nets and stabilizers to manage thread.
- Place your thread into the pre-tension guide atop the sewing machine.
- Raise the machine’s presser foot to open the tension disc and lay the thread into it.
- Next, use a thread chart to place threads into their respective guides.
- Press down the lower looper threader lever to access a thread guide, place your thread into it, and then pull the lever back up. Thread loopers using tweezers. You can also use tweezers to get threads into guides.
- Next, thread your needles according to your stitch arrangement. For each needle, follow the color-marked thread path. Remove any needle that is not threaded.
- Set the appropriate machine tension for your stitch arrangement. Make sure to input the right needle, left needle lower looper, upper looper settings, and pressure foot tension.
- Next, dial in the cutting width and engage the MTC and rolled hem levers.
- Finally, set desirable stitch length, then take your machine for a test spin, adjust settings as needed, and then get to threading.
What Stitches can you Create on the Serger?
There are 16 different types of stitches you can create on your overlocker machine. The most popular are as follows.
The 4-thread overlock
Enclose the seam of your fabrics using an overlock stitch and use multiple threads to finish raw edges. This is the strongest stitch because it uses two needles. Use it on woven fabrics that need to be flexible and durable.
The 3-thread overlock
A great stitch for use on woven fabrics and stretchy knits without putting excess stress on the materials. It requires only one needle and is useful for making a blind hem.
The 2-thread rolled edge.
Some serger machines create 2-thread stitches, such as the 2-thread rolled edge for narrow edges on sheer cloth. It is commonly used as a decoration on napkins and tablecloths.
2 thread flatlock
The 2-thread flatlock is a popular stitch on stretchy clothing. It’s recognized by its loops and ladders. This thin and flat stitch is used in athletic wear and yoga pants because it doesn’t’ add significant weight to clothing.
The rolled hem is another common hem on lightweight fabric. It is created by rolling the edge of the cloth down and enclosing it with thread. It gives garments an expensive look without weighing them down.
Advantages of Sergers
Sergers present unique features and different capabilities compared to normal sewing machines. You can sew with multiple threads to create a stronger seam.
Sergers also make it easy to finish edges and embellish garments. There’s a suitable stitch for every fabric material, strength, and stretch. Another advantage is speed. Sergers can make more than 1500 stitches in a minute, enabling you to speed up through projects and save time. And what’s more, the flow of threads is automatically controlled; you won’t have to control it manually like in the normal sewing machine.
Overlockers are also known for their feed dog system for feeding fabric through the sewing machine in-between stitches resulting in high-quality and smooth stitches.
One of the most dreaded threading machines is also the most efficient once you get the hang of it. Sergers are built for any sewing activity but are mostly used to give projects a professional look. Fire up your serger machine and start sewing some masks or any other fun project. Practice makes perfect.
I’m a stay at home mom with our two kids. I really enjoy doing crafts with my toddler however, that is typically a challenge with her limited attention span, messiness, and desire to always have clean hands. So, I’m always looking for ways to make crafting an enjoyable experience and fond memory for the both of us.