What is a Serger Used For? Serger vs Sewing Machine

What Is A Serger Used For?

Brother 1034D Serger

Brother 1034D Serger, our top pick for beginners

Whether you are new to sewing an an old time pro, you may be considering purchasing a serger to help speed up some of your sewing projects and give them a more professional finish. But just what is a serger and how do you choose the best serger for a beginner?  Why do people use a serger vs a sewing machine? A Serger also called an overlock machine is a machine that sews, trims, and finishes seams and edges all in a single step saving people hours of sewing time on large projects while giving their home made sewing project a more professional looking finish. A Serger can make decorative edges, add fancy trim, attach elastic and help produce gathers. Most people who are new to sergers find them to be slightly intimidating as these machines use multiple threads and perform their stitches at a high rate of speed. However, spending the time and making the effort to learn to use one of these machines will expand your sewing skills beyond what you can imagine.

What Sergers Can and Can’t Do

Sergers are not designed to replace a standard sewing machine, but rather to be an accompaniment to the machine you all ready have. While sergers can speed up certain sewing tasks it can’t effectively make button holes or perform other tasks that a sewing machine can do. However sergers can help give you a more professional look to your sewing projects when working with knits, woven material for sportswear, and sheer crinkled fabric as well as providing finished edges to a number of projects such as napkins, scarves, and place mats.

Types of Stitches Sergers are Used For

Janome 8002D serger

Janome 8002D serger, another popular serger for beginners

If you are wondering what type of serger stitch to use for your various serging needs here are a few tips that may help.

  • Narrow stitches with fewer threads are for lightweight and sheer fabrics.
  • Wrap stitches are a great stitch to use on knits and for some seams.
  • Wide Overlock stitches work well on sportswear or for easy to ravel or bulk fabrics.
  • Flatlock stitches are great for use on sportswear where you need comfortable stitching on the inside of the clothing.
  • Rolled hems are used for finishing off napkins, place mats, scarves, place mats, and table cloths.

Keep in mind when choosing a serger that you will need some time to get use to how a serger works on different materials and what the various types of stitches do.


Here’s a video on Youtube to help show an intro to sergers:

10 Reasons to buy a Serger Video

What Is the Best Serger?

We have lots of good serger reviews on our website, including one looking at sergers for beginners specifically.  See the following links to help you sew like a master with your new serger: