What Is a Serging Sewing Machine? [Top 4 Guide]

Are you about to have a sewing machine but wondering what is a serging sewing machine? Here’s a guide for the details you need to learn what a serger is.

The serging sewing machine is more commonly known as a serger or an overlocker. It offers multiple threads that stitches stretchy or even thick fabrics. Sergers also cut the fabric as it sews the edge. Another function is called overcasting the edge of your fabric, which is basically like wrapping the thread around the edge.

By comparison, a regular household sewing machine uses 2 thread sources (the spool and the bobbin).

What is a Serging Sewing Machine

Also, these serger sewing machines are available for a good price on Amazon!

In short, a serger sewing machine is primarily used for knit or stretchy fabrics. Take a close look at a pair of stretchy pants or a t-shirt. They were more than likely sewn on a serger to make a nice, clean edge.

The 2 thread source on a regular sewing machine is usually called a lockstitch or a chainstitch. A serger uses an overlock stitch.

There are, however, presser feet that act kind of like a serging machine. For example, Brother has an overlock vertical foot.

Here are some stitches used with an overlocker, from Singer ProFinish 14CG754:


A serger can be tough to thread at first. Honestly, just look on Youtube and find a good video for your serger.

Serger Models

Should I Buy a Serger?

A regular sewing machine and a serger perform two different functions. A serger really can’t stitch straight like a regular machine. But a regular machine can do a “pseudo-overlock” that can make nice edges.

That being said, a serger is fast. Like lightning fast. And since it’s a tough machine, it creates a professional polish to your sewing. If you like to make your own clothing, especially if you use stretchy or knit fabric, then you will want to upgrade to a serger eventually.

How to Choose the Best Serging Sewing Machine?

Despite the number of sewing machine brands, there are only really 3 or 4 sergers: Singer (my recommended model), Janome, and Brother. American Home has a model that is cheaper than the others, but it’s a no-frills model that needs a lot of hand-holding.

Price is something to consider. The more higher-end models also cost more. You can spend upwards of $1,500 on a serger!

Body Material

Most models come with a metal frame. You do not want a plastic frame.

Adjustable Stitch Length and Width

Depending on what fabric you’re stitching, you necessitate adjusting the stitch length and width. A wide stitch is recommended when overlocking a thick fabric vice versa for thin cloth. Make sure you have a hand-adjusting option.

Adjustable Pressure

Make sure the serger has an adjustable pressure foot.

Numbers of Stitches Per Minute

1,300 stitches per minute is a good amount for this mid-price range.

What is a Differential Feed?

Basically, this controls how much fabric is fed through per stitch. You can use different feeds to create a ruffle-like effect. You can also create a lettuce edge.

What is a Cover Stitch?

This is the stitch that t-shirt and sweatshirt collars look like. It kind of looks like two seams with stitches that are parallel to each other.

What is a Rolled Hem?

You can find this “rolled hem” on many napkins. It kind of looks like … well, it looks like you rolled the edge of something and then stitched it.


Do you want to create a professional edge on clothing that you make? Do you need a high stitch per minute? Do you want to work with denim or other thick fabric? Then an overlocker (or a serger or a serging sewing machine) is what you want. It gives a professional edge to your seams, cutting and overlocking all in one.

That being said, you can get away with a 2 thread “serger” foot if you just need the occasional hem.



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