When we look at how the clothes from most fast-fashion stores look like, what’s the first thing that pops in our mind? Is it the type of fabric they use? How about the sheer variety of choices — all the colors, patterns and designs? What is it exactly that makes that type of clothing desirable?
We’ll break it to you right now — it’s the sewing. More precisely, it’s the way the fabric on those pieces of clothing has been edged and the way those edges look practically perfect, whether they are on a hanger or on a doll.
But how can we get those edges when making homemade clothes? Well, in order to make clothing that looks not only professional but somewhat expensive, we’re going to need the best serger machine.
In this serger buying guide, we’re going to reveal all the tips necessary that will ensure you get the best serger machine for the money you’ve saved up. Moreover, we’ll reveal our choices for the best serger on the market and highlight both the pros and cons of buying each one.
In any seamstress’s life, there comes a point when she starts wondering whether or not the clothing she has made is any good. Sure, it serves her well, and the clothing is not only unique but made with pure love.
Yet most of them spend their entire lives sewing without realizing that there’s just one step separating them from pure sewing bliss: the best serger machine they can find.
However, figuring out whether they should buy a serger is not an easy task. Indeed, there are many brands available today, and there are plenty of options that could easily confuse them. Knowing which manufacturer to pick and how to use the serger are the main things they first have to consider. Otherwise, they might as well let their money go down the drain.
Now, any seamstress can use a serger. This sort of machine isn’t restricted to be used by those who have already made a name for themselves in the fashion world. However, is it a necessary machine? It actually isn’t. If one is planning to sew clothing just for themselves and their family, then a serger might not be a purchase they would easily opt for.
Nevertheless, when a seamstress sees a serger, she immediately wants it. Why? It’s because it can benefit her substantially. A serger machine wasn’t created just to make the edges look pretty. It can also contribute to the overall durability of the clothing, as the stitches sergers make are stretchier than regular seams. Thus, clothing fits better, and it lasts a lot longer. Not to mention that having a serger means having a chance to sew with knit materials — and most fast-fashion stores primarily use these fabrics.
If you are wondering when is the best time to buy a serger, check our guide When do sewing machines go on sale and find out.
So in essence, here are the most basic reasons why any seamstress would love to have a serger:
If this is something you aim to achieve with your homemade sewing, then trust us — buying a serger could just be the best decision you’ve ever made.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty — how to choose the best serger on the market.
It should be easy, right? All we have to do is go to the store or hop onto Amazon, find the one with the best rating and buy it. Or, we could actually go to our local dealership, look around, pick a few of them up just to see if they are lightweight and pick the one that won’t strain our back whenever we’re moving it from one place to another.
Do that, and you could easily get the wrong serger. But not to worry — we’ve done the research for you, and we’ve decided to give you a simple yet efficient cheat sheet you can use when deciding on the brand and the type of the serger you want.
This choice will largely depend on the amount of money we have to spend on our new serger. When talking about sewing machines, we could argue that new is always better. However, that isn’t to say that we cannot find some real gems online.
The only thing we have to pay attention to is the make of the serger. No matter how cheap a serger can be, we have to know what it has on the inside. If it consists of all plastic parts, then that won’t be our perfect serger, unless we plan on using it once or twice a year.
When a sewing machine, any type at all, has a plastic mechanism and plastic parts on the inside, we won’t be able to use it for years. In fact, when sewing on it for a long period of time, it can easily overheat. So imagine having tons of curtains you have to finish before midnight — chances are the serger will give out at some point.
In contrast, sergers that come with metals parts can work longer hours and more efficiently. However, don’t think for a second that this serger won’t have any plastic. The covers are usually plastic, but they don’t lower the quality. The parts that really count are the interior ones.
So in essence, if a serger has been used, but the person selling it has put in the effort to maintain it and fix it properly, then it’s a good deal if they’re not asking for a lot of money. However, knowing that you’ve bought your serger brand new and that you’ll be one to make the first stitch is a bit romantic and thrilling. Every seamstress knows how valuable her sewing machines are, so don’t worry if you want a brand new one. There are plenty of reasons you would, for example:
There are big sergers out there, but there are also those that are compact enough to fit on a sewing table. However, if we’re already limited in space, yet we want a serger, we’ll have to figure some things out. In essence, going to the store and picking the one the salespeople have recommended could spell disaster if we realize at home that we don’t have anywhere to put it.
Sergers are mostly known for their ability to close the edges so that the fabric doesn’t fray or go loose. Moreover, they also come with cutters that cut off the seam allowances, leaving us with perfect clothing.
However, most new sergers come with additional features. The most noteworthy one is the coverstitch feature that can serve us well if we want to give our clothing those stitches we most often see on store-bought clothes.
That’s why choosing a serger that comes with at least five threads is a good idea. The most basic ones come with only two, three or four thread options, but the best value-for-your-money ones come with more, and they come with the coverstitch option.
Still, those can be expensive, so it’s important to decide now whether we need this feature. Is it necessary? No. But is it an option in regard to our budget?
When it comes to sergers, money is of the essence because it will determine the quality of the machine we can get.
Basic sergers are usually meant to be used with light fabrics and sewing projects that don’t require a lot of use. Nevertheless, if we want to branch out and learn to sew with heavy-duty fabrics, we will most likely have to spend a bit more.
So when choosing a serger, we need to keep our budget in mind. Perhaps we can start by choosing the best serger sewing machine for beginners that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Of course, it won’t come with a multitude of features, but it will open the doors to a whole new world of sewing jobs for us. Then, after some time, we can replace it and buy an expensive one so that we can continue learning.
Finally, our last tip is to check whether or not you can try the machine first. Although buying a new one certainly means getting a detailed manual, there’s nothing better than sitting in front of the machine and checking how it feels.
This is especially important if we opt to buy a used one — we need to know if there’s something in its specs that we’re missing. A good way to find out is to come with a piece of fabric and use it. By doing so, we’ll be able to pay attention to a number of things, such as if it’s loud, if it’s clicking, if it’s fast and if the stitches are coming out perfect or a bit wonky.
When looking for the best serger for your day-to-day sewing jobs, there are a few features you ought to pay attention to. Without these, it’s unlikely that the machine will last a very long time and do a proper job.
A serger is as fast as the number of stitches it does in one minute. So before swiping the credit card, look for the SPM number on the machine in question. In general, the higher it is, the more expensive the machine will be. However, if you are a beginner, 1,000 SPM should be enough. For more advanced users, anywhere from 1,000 to 9,000 SPM is perfect.
Whether or not a sewing machine’s noise is bothering us is an entirely personal thing. However, if we generally sew in a room that doesn’t have the greatest insulation, getting a serger that’s quiet is a fine choice.
If one is looking for a basic serger that will leave the fabric underneath the seam loose yet still do a fine job at creating a good edge, then two thread options are essential. However, for more versatility, consider getting a serger that comes with three or more options. That way, you’ll also prevent fraying and will be able to add a decorative edging, as well as sew medium-weight fabrics.
The rate at which the material is pushed into the serger is called feed differential. Now, this feature can be found in all sergers, and it most often goes from .5 to 2 mm. The higher that number is, the greater the push-through of the material is in regard to the pull-back.
So why should we opt for an adjustable one? This might seem a bit complicated to a beginner, so let us explain. An adjustable feed differential will allow the seamstress to change it (turn it up or down) according to the material she’s using for sewing. Thus, she will easily prevent stretching and ripples on the fabric and just make the things she’s sewing look a lot better.
The quality of the threading will depend on the type of fabric we’re using, so it’s essential to look for an adjustable feed differential. However, the maximum adjustability range of .5 to 2.0 might not be reachable for some people, although it would allow them to create tighter gathers and work with very stretchy, slippy fabric. Thus, the serger should come with a differential range of at least .7 to 1.5 mm.
If we want to keep our serger for a long time and use it often, then a metal frame is also a great feature. This will add to the overall durability of the machine and prevent it from getting damaged easily.
The length of a stitch is also something to keep in mind, as different lengths lead to different results.
However, our choice will depend on the types of projects we want to do with our serger. For basic work, we can go for a 1 to 3 mm range. Meanwhile, for maximum versatility, we should look for about .5 to 5 mm. In essence, with a wider range, we won’t have to stay away from some projects; we’ll be able to customize the stitch length whenever needed.
We cannot finish our serger buying guide without giving you some options. Therefore, here are the best sergers on the market right now that will certainly help you achieve your sewing goals.
Singer is a well-known name in the sewing industry, so it’s no wonder that some of their machines have found a way onto our list. What’s more, at a price lower than $200, the Singer ProFinish 14CG754 has a lot to offer.
The first thing you ought to know about this machine is that it comes with 2-3-4 thread capability. Thus, versatility in terms of stitches won’t be a problem. Moreover, the all-important adjustable stitch length is also here, but users can adjust the width of the stitch as well.
Regarding ease of use, we have to mention the optional free arm feature that’s fantastic for sewing cylindrical pieces like sleeves and cuffs. Moreover, this machine allows for rolled hemming, a built-in sewing mode that will make a real difference on your clothing.
But what about speed? Well, at 1,300 SPM, this is a fine option for a beginner or for someone who aims to deal with light to medium-heavy fabrics. In addition, it also comes with a fully adjustable differential feed and a variety of accessories, such as an all-purpose foot, a needle set, a spreader for 2-thread stitches and foot control, just to name a few.
Verdict: Not the most powerful serger on the market, but good for beginners who need to start somewhere.
The next serger on our list is from a well-known brand called Brother — it’s the 1034DX.
Right off the bat, we can say that we love how this machine looks. It comes with 3-4 thread options, so anyone who buys it will be able to use it on heavier fabrics as well. Moreover, its speed is 1,300 SPM, which is decent enough for a beginner or even someone who already has some experience.
Just like the previous model, this one also comes with a color-coded threading system. These guides are printed on the machine, and they show you how to easily thread it by giving you an illustration of where to put each thread. Moreover, the machine also has a stitch adjustment dial, and the stitch length ranges from 2.0 to 4.0 mm.
What we particularly like about this model is that it comes with an instructional DVD and that the manufacturer offers online and technical support free of charge. Thus, even if it starts making us lose our nerve, we can easily talk to someone who knows this machine like the back of their hand.
Finally, this serger also comes with an adjustable differential feed with a ratio of 0.7 to 2.0. Hence, creating smooth seams or gathering the material when we actually want to do that won’t be a problem.
Verdict: It seems we would be playing Russian Roulette with this machine, as the manufacturing quality is not reliable. Still, if someone gets a good one, it will do a fine job, although it’s not as versatile as some other models.
For the best serger under $500, we picked the JUKI MO654DE — a serger that could very well be everything you’ll ever need to finish off your sewing projects.
This model also comes with 2-3-4 thread options and an automatic, rolled hem mode. Moreover, it has a powerful knife system that has its own dedicated mechanism. It can do 1,500 stitches per minute.
As far as the fabrics you could use with this machine go, you can sew both light and heavy fabrics, which means that your creativity won’t suffer at all with it. What’s more, the maximum stitch length is 4 mm — so almost perfect, we’d say. It also comes with a color-coded threading system and an external adjustment for both the differential feed and the stitch length.
This machine also has a safety switch, which doesn’t allow it to run if we leave the swing cover open. However, threading it could be a problem, as most users say that it’s a real pain. Nevertheless, the manual it comes with explains it in detail, so it’s probably just a matter of practice. But either way, it’s way more tedious than with some other models.
Verdict: The price is too high given the fact that it has quite a few issues with some of the most important parts, like the differential feed. However, it’s still a good machine for beginners and those who have a lot of patience in terms of threading.
And finally, the last serger on the list — the Singer Professional 5 14T968DC; the only one on our list that comes with more than four thread options.
Even though the price is a bit under $500, this machine seems promising, as it has a variety of stitch options available. Thus, it’s perfect for homemade projects and for professional use as well.
Still, its speed is only 1,300 SPM, so even with professional results, it’s not the fastest serger around. Nevertheless, it comes with a self-adjusting tension system, which makes changing the tension levels a real breeze. Moreover, it has four built-in rolled hems, and placing it in the rolled hem sewing mode is not difficult at all.
Just like the other SINGER model on our list, this one also comes with a 25-year limited warranty and a ton of accessories, including a spreader, a spare cutting knife, an oiler, an all-purpose foot and a detailed manual with a stitch guide.
But the best thing about this machine is definitely the fact that it’s capable of doing a coverstitch. That’s why its price tag is a bit high. What’s more, it has three coverstitch options: narrow, wide and triple.
Finally, the machine comes in a heavy-duty metal frame, which is ideal for those seamstresses who want to keep using it for a very long time. Moreover, this metal frame keeps the machine in place. Therefore, there’s little chance we would have to fix our sewing projects later because some stitches were skipped.
Verdict: Great value for money, and it comes with plenty of features. The coverstitch option is the most valuable one. Still, the lack of the free arm makes us wonder how difficult it would be to sew cylindrical pieces. We cannot say it’s the most versatile model, but it’s pretty close to perfection in that price range.
Hopefully, we’ve helped you realize just how much a serger could change the way you sew forever. However, know that it’s not obligatory to have one of these machines. Nevertheless, if you’re someone who wants to do a professional job on all sewing projects, then having a serger could be your ticket to sewing perfection.