How to Use a Serger Machine!

A serger machine can look intimidating, but it’s actually quite easy to use once you get the hang of it. If you’ve been using machines for a while, you’ll have no problem adapting to your serger. If you’re brand new to sewing and stitching, it’ll take you a little while longer to get used to it, but you will!

For those of you who aren’t aware of what a serger is; a serger is a machine that gives your garments beautiful, tight finished seams. It’s also known as an overlock sewing machine!

When you’re using your serger, you’re sewing the seam, then over-stitching it to cover up the raw edges, and finally cutting away the excess fabric on your garments. The created stitch is absolutely ideal for fabrics that are going to be stretched, such as shirts and pants.

The most popular sergers have been 3 and 5 threads for you to use. Threading the serger is by far the most important part – so take your time in doing so.

Threading a Serger…

Here are some quick steps on how to easily thread your serger!

  1. Check the color-coded system on the serger before you begin. You want to have a good idea of what thread is going where
  2. Check your machine to see what kinds of threads you have – upper looper, lower looper, and needle threads. The amount is going to vary based on the machine you bought.
  3. Always start with the upper looper thread. This is usually the spindle that’s on the right hand side of the machine. When you set the spool on the spindle, you’re going to pull the thread upwards, then over the top and front of the serger. Keep pulling until it’s just below the needles.
  4. Next, you’re going to thread the lower looper. Put your spool of thread on the second spindle. Like you did before, you’re going to bring the thread towards the front of your overlock machine. If your thread gets in a tight spot, then use a pair of tweezers to finish the job.
  5. Lastly, you have to thread your needle(s). Put the remaining threads on the spindles, bring them to the front of your machine, and then thread the needles!

Properly Using Your Serger…

Using your overlock machine is actually really easy! The hardest part is properly threading your machine. If you’ve successfully completed that, then you’re in the clear!

Here’s a brief guide on how to use your serger machine.

  1. Turn the machine on
  2. Lift the presser foot (this should have come with your machine)
  3. Lift the needles by turning the needle dial towards you
  4. Move your garment fabric beneath the needles and presser foot
  5. Slowly lower your presser foot and needles. You do this by turning the dial toward you.
  6. Now you can begin sewing!!!
    1. The foot pedal is what controls the speed
    2. SLOWLY guide the fabric through the serger. Remember that if you push too hard, there’s a chance that the fabric bundles up. There’s usually a guide that will help you get the fabric through.
    3. Keep your fabric STRAIGHT when going through the serger. Remember that the knife at the end is going to cut any excess fabric
  7. Sew on a few more stitches at the end of your fabric so that you can create a beautiful tail of stitches. This will let you tuck them under and sew them by hand.
  8. If something is off, try using a piece of scrap fabric to see if the thread tension is properly set.
    1. If your stitches are coming out too loose, you’ll need to adjust your tension dials to make the thread more tense.
    2. If your fabric is bunching up, your thread tension is much too tight. Adjust the tension dials so they’re looser.
    3. Practice, Practice, Test, Test until the tension is perfect

Last But Not Least…

Remember to have fun! Using a serger is an amazing experience – especially if you’re someone that has been sewing for many years now. We never used to have these machines when I was growing up. We had to do everything by hand. It was a huge pain! Because of that, I enjoy every moment that I am using my serger! I hope you do too!

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Be sure to check out our article on the Best Serger Reviews and Buying Guide!

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