Serger vs sewing machine. How do they differ?

Many years ago, girls were taught how to sew at school. It was considered an important activity when industrial manufacturing wasn’t massive.

Women would make their own clothes, for themselves and for their whole family. Nowadays, most women surely don’t know how to sew, and this is no surprise, considering we can simply go to shops and get all types of clothing effortlessly.

Besides, in case you want to make your own clothes anyway, you don’t need to sew by hand. You can do it with a sewing machine! However, there are different types. For example, what is a serger machine?

Let’s see a Serger vs sewing machine comparison to find out what you can use them for.

How does a sewing machine work?

A sewing machine is an automatic piece of equipment that contains a bolt of thread, a needle, and most importantly, a pedal. The pedal activates the electric mechanism and makes the needle go down through the fabric.

 The needle is not a regular one, as common needles have their eye on the back, while sewing machine needles have their eye in the pointy end. 

At the same time, the needle is held by a presser foot, a little piece that also presses the fabric down to keep it in place. 

Besides, the thread can be internal or external, and you can adjust the length of the stitches with a knob. Of course, there is a variety of different sewing machines that offer different functions and types of stitches.

What is a serger sewing machine?

A serger (also known as an overlock) is a special type of sewing machine that uses up to 4 different threads and allows you to make a whole different variety of stitches.

The main use for this type of sewing machine is that it is mostly used for border finishes. You can adjust its knobs and use more or less threads to change the stitches it makes.

Considering the fact that it uses 4 threads instead of one, it’s usually harder to use than a regular sewing machine, but once you’ve learnt how to use it, you can do wonderful things with it.

Serger vs sewing machine

As said above, a serger machine is a type of sewing machine, so it basically is used for sewing, but with different techniques.

If you look at them, they are quite similar, but the difference is in the functions they provide and their internal machinery. Let’s see how:

  • Sewing and cutting

    The biggest difference between serger and sewing machine functions, is that the first not only sew but can also cut the fabric.

    The presser foot not only keeps the fabric in place, but also contains a blade that cuts it as it moves forward.

    This function is necessary because, as we said, serger machines are meant to be used with fabric borders.

    It would be difficult to match the original border of the fabric and the sewing, so the machine does everything at once to ensure a perfect border finish.

    However, you can choose not to cut the fabric if you don’t need it for your project.

  • Bigger variety of stitches

    With a regular sewing machine, there aren’t different types of stitch you can make, but you can still use it to achieve different effects on your piece.

    For example, some machines have a set of different presser feet that you can exchange. However, some basic machines have only one function that does not offer a great variety of styles.

    Thinking about a sewing machine vs a serger, the serger allows you to make more combinations and different types of sewing, without any specific accessory.
  • More fabrics to sew

    Together with the wider choice of stitches, the serger machine allows you to work with more types of fabric.

    A regular sewing machine, working with stitches that form a line, creates a rigid seam. That’s why, we usually cannot use it with stretchy fabric, such as polyester or spandex.

    The serger machine, as it uses 4 different threads with different tensions, allows you to create a stretchy seam that accompanies the fabric without breaking.

What can I do with a serger sewing machine?

Considering the serger machine has more options than a regular sewing machine, let’s take a look at what are some of the projects that you can make with it.

One of its interesting uses is the making of ruffles. Ruffles are a series of layers of fabric sewn in a bulky way to make it more pompous.

You can make them with a regular sewing machine, but you should make the bulkiness yourself.

Besides, a regular machine won’t make this style stretchy, so you could only use it for projects that don’t require an elastic surface.

On the other hand, the serger machine allows you to make ruffles effortlessly, just by not letting the fabric move forward out of the sewing surface on its own.

It’s fast and you can later stretch it without ruining the seam or the fabric.

What can I do if I don’t have a serger machine?

If you want to create a border with a regular sewing machine instead of a serger, you can use a zig-zag seam.

Of course, your sewing machine may not have this function either, so make sure yours does.

The zig-zag stitch also allows you to sew on stretchy fabrics without breaking, which makes it more versatile and useful than straight sewing.

In conclusion, we can say that there are several types of sewing machines. The most popular are the regular and the serger machines.

We hope that this serger vs sewing machine comparison has helped you understand the difference between both options and allow you to get the best one based on your needs.

You can see this article about how to thread a bobbin'(click here) to start using your machine. 🙂

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