Regular Sewing Machine vs Serger What’s the Difference

Regular Sewing Machine vs Serger: What’s the Difference?

There’s no one out there who doesn’t know what a regular sewing machine is. Let’s face it, whenever we think about making clothes, the image of a sewing machine pops right up in our minds. But, on the other hand, rare are those who know, let alone think about, what a serger is. Maybe you’ve heard someone talk about a serger before and felt curious about what it was? Or, you’ve never even heard of it and you’re totally unfamiliar with the notion. Either way, we’ve got your back.

We’ve put together this article in order to introduce you to what a serger is. Also, we’re going to explain how a serger is any different than a regular sewing machine. Consider the text ahead of you as the ultimate guide on the topic and let us equip you with all the necessary information. After having read our article, you’ll be ready to make a decision on which one should you use according to your own needs.

So, let’s cut the talk and get right into it!

Difference between serger and sewing machine

Difference between serger and sewing machine

Since you’re here, we’re going to go ahead and assume that you already have an idea on what a regular sewing machine is and how it works. That’s why we’re going to focus on explaining what a serger is.

Simply put, we can define a serger as a more specialized sewing machine. It’s a machine that the majority likes to refer to as an overlock sewing machine. And, you can think of it as a more professional sewing machine as well. The seam you make with a serger is going to be way more durable and professional-looking than the one you do with a standard sewing machine. This is because a serger can take anywhere around 3 to 8 thread cones at once. Then, it will loop the thread around the edge of the fabric, making it look professional and preventing it from fraying over time.

On the other hand, a regular sewing machine will only allow you to use one thread. Well, it might allow you to use two, if you’re using a double needle.

Another way you may benefit from the use of a serger is that it has a blade that will cut off the seam allowance as you sew. And, you can also turn this off when you don’t need it.

The best thing about a serger is its speed. In fact, a serger works at a speed of 1700 stitches per minute. You’ll have to agree that’s pretty amazing.

When to Use a Serger vs Sewing Machine

It goes without saying that a serger has many strengths, however, it’s far from a stand-alone machine and it has its shortcomings. And, that’s where a regular sewing machine shines. So, let’s see when it’s okay to use a serger and when you would have to rely on your basic sewing machine.

Well, first of all, if you’re not intending to make a living out of this, there’s a good chance you can do everything without a serger. A sewing machine will allow you to make your sketches come to life. And, as opposed to a serger, it will allow you to do the zippers, facings, buttonholes and topstitching. These are some of the areas where a serger won’t be able to help you out.

On the other hand, if you want a more professional and neat look, that’s something you can’t have with your sewing machine only. Without a serger, you’ll have no finished edges, which are required for more professional-looking projects.

Therefore, if you’re a newbie in a seamstress world, we recommend getting to know your sewing machine. As you improve and advance, you can think about adding a good-quality serger to your lineup. This will definitely make you work faster and easier, too.

Which is Better: Sewing Machine or Serger?

Well, you can probably guess the answer here. They both have plenty of benefits and shortcomings, too. While a serger will help you work faster and make more durable and professional-looking seams, it will be absolutely useless when it comes to adding zippers and making buttonholes.

On the other hand, a sewing machine will excel at making buttonholes and zippers but it will fail you once you arrive to the edges. There’s no way to create a polish edge without a serger. And, when it comes to certain kinds of fabric, such as knitted and stretchy, a serger will come in handy. Sergers perform in a magnificent way when it comes to seaming easily stretchable materials without stretching them in weird ways.

So, the perfect answer would be to have them both. Essentially, that’s the best solution. Our word of advice is to stick to the regular sewing machine if you’re doing this as a hobby. Sergers are extremely expensive. And, if you’re not planning to go professional, you will do just fine with a basic sewing machine.

Can You Use a Serger for Regular Sewing

Which is Better Sewing Machine or Serger

There are three variables in a serger that will allow you to choose from endless options and types of stitches. Those variables are the cutting width, the differential feed and the thread tension.

#1 Cutting Width

This is the adjustment that will have an effect on the amount of fabric within the seam. By adjusting the width to a higher level, you’ll be able to have more fabric within a seam or rolled hem. For instance, this will come in handy when you have to create a rolled hem out of a really thick fabric. And, if you’re working with a more delicate fabric, you’ll want to reduce this setting to a lower number. As a result, you’ll end up with a fine rolled edge.

#2 Differential Feed

Sergers have two sets of feed dogs, where the front ones push the fabric under the presser foot and, in the meanwhile, the back dogs push it out of the serger. This feature will make it possible for you to create a gathered fabric if you move this setting to a higher number. And, on the other hand, it will stretch the fabric out if you choose to lower it.

#3 Thread Tension

Finally, the possibility to adjust the thread tension is another variable to offer you different choices of stitching. Here, you can play around with the tension in the lower and upper loop according to your wishes. For instance, if you’re going for a 3- and 4-thread overlock stitches, we recommend a balanced stitch with both looper threads seemingly put together along the trimmed edges.

A serger has a number of great features. Some of the must-have ones are seam-finishing, gathering, cover stitching and seaming knits. And, there are some that might have additional functions, such as chain stitching, elasticator application, flatlock seams and many more.

One thing’s for sure, a serger is a great tool able to deliver a variety of stitches and styles. But, it can never replace the regular sewing machine totally.

 How Does a Serger Sewing Machine Work?

How Does a Serger Sewing Machine Work

Now, we’re going to break down the whole process of how a serger machine works.

Firstly, as the fabric is fed onto your serger, it meets the feed dogs we’ve mentioned earlier. Then, the fabric is moved along all the way until the knife starts trimming the fabric edge. Next, the needles and loopers create the stitches onto the edge of the fabric. The stitches are created around one, or two, stitch fingers. Finally, the threads lock around the seam, in order to prevent the fabric from fraying. And, the machine uses the built-in knives to cut off the seam allowance as it sews.

And that’s it! That is the whole story of how a serger machine actually works and produces such an incredible stitching. And, most importantly, it does that in an incredibly fast way!

 Overlock Sewing Machine vs Serger

A serger and an overlock sewing machine are everything but indistinguishable. Although they both serve very well when it comes to the finishing and decorative stitches, they have some crucial differences. And, even though a great number of folks still uses these two terms interchangeably, a serger and an overlock are quite different.

Yes, both of these machines have a needle plate, two needles and a longer foot. In addition to that, they both accommodate numerous different thread spools.

A seger will allow you to have perfect cutting, overlocking and finishing seams all at once. It might give you perfect decorative stitches as well. And, as we’ve mentioned in the beginning, it can have even up to 9 spools of thread! In addition to the overlocking stitch, a serger will allow you to have the chain stitch and the flat-locking stitch, too. Some sergers might even perform a cover stitch!

On the other hand, an overlock sewing machine has fewer spools of thread. And, consequently, the decorative options will be rather limited. An area where this machine has proven to be better than a serger is the cover stitching. This stitching style is common for arranging trims and lace.

So, as you can see, an overlock and a serger are two different terms for two different machines. Both of these machines are pretty useful and would be a great addition to your seamstress lineup. And, if someone tells you that having all of these sounds a bit too extravagant, tell them to count the number of stereos, radios, TV’s and smartphones in their home.

Investing in your passion is crucial to becoming successful at it. So, don’t let anyone ruin it for you.

Is There a Serger Attachment For a Sewing Machine?

There’s no doubt at all that investing in a serger is a good decision. That way, you’ll be able to finish sewing projects in half the time it would normally take you to do it with a regular sewing machine. However, sergers are quite pricey and not everyone can afford one. What’s more, they take up plenty of space as they are not as compact as one might think.

So, if you lack space and money for a serger, we recommend getting a sewing machine that has a presser foot attachment. This attachment will allow you to turn your sewing machine into a serger! And, the best part about it is that you can find a serger attachment for as little as $20!

At first, you might face some difficulties with figuring out how a serger attachment works. So, take some time to train yourself. Also, this attachment won’t produce the exact same results as a high-end serger would, but it will certainly make a great substitute.

This serger attachment will be absolutely perfect for you if you’re looking for an affordable way of having more polished stitching. However, if you are intending to do a lot of sewing, you’re going to need a heavy-duty machine. So, you’ll probably need to invest in an actual serger.

How to Use a Sewing Machine Like a Serger

8. How to Use a Sewing Machine Like a Serger

We have a few more tricks up our sleeve to share with you. So, now we’re going to talk about six ways to make your sewing look neat and polished without a serger. There are ways to get fine-looking seams with your regular sewing machine, too. And, we have 3 of them to share with you today!

#1 Zig-zag method

The zig-zag finish is what we commonly use when we don’t have a serger. This technique is pretty useful when it comes to handling bulky and thick fabrics.

#2 Overlocking method

You might not know this, but the majority of modern sewing machines have an overlocking function, too. Some even call this an overcast or overedge stitch. If your machine has this function, you’ll have a special foot for it. The foot will guide the fabric and wrap the thread around the edge. This is another great way that works as a substitution for a serger.

#3 Pinking method

Another really cool method to fake a serger with your basic sewing machine is the pinking method. You can use your pinking shears in order to prevent the edges from fraying. This method will work best with fabrics that have a tight weave and don’t require being washed too often. And, in order to provide some extra strength and prevent the fabric from unraveling, you can even stitch a straight row of stitches just before the pinked edge.

All of these methods have proven to be extremely useful when it comes to replacing a serger. The result will not be exactly the same but it will make a great substitute, so make sure you give it a try!

Does My Sewing Machine Have a Serger?

 Does My Sewing Machine Have a Serger

The modern sewing machines now come with a serger attachment, so you won’t have to buy a serger or a serger foot, too. But, if you already own a regular sewing machine, you might want to check whether you have the option to use a serger attachment with it. Generally, if you have a presser foot for your machine, you’ll have this option.

You can grab your sewing machine manual and find the information there. And, if you don’t have the manual, don’t you worry! In fact, you can just look up the model of your sewing machine online and see whether you have the possibility to turn your sewing machine into a serger or not.

Most of the newer sewing machines do have a serger attachment that comes with them. And, if you have to purchase it additionally, it won’t cost too much. You can count on spending somewhere around $20 to $50.

Final Thoughts

Well, guys, there you have it! We’ve just shared everything there is to know about the difference between a regular sewing machine and a serger. A sewing machine is a must. It is a staple of every seamstress gear. And, a sewing machine is really easy to handle, too. Everyone in the world must have seen at least one sewing machine in their lifetime. It’s not a machine that is hard to use. And, on top of that, it’s perfect for beginners.

While, on the other hand, a serger is more complex. A serger will be perfect for you if you’re looking to up your sewing game and make more professional stitching. And, if you’re still unsure whether you’re ready for a serger, we’ve given you a couple of alternatives to fake one. This way, you’ll save some money, too!

Bottom line is, it all comes down to your needs and plans. If this is something you want to do on a side, for yourself and your family, stick to your sewing machine and maybe add a serger attachment. And, if you’re really serious about your seaming, go ahead and buy a legitimate serger. It’s something you can’t regret, we assure you.

So, as we’ve promised at the very beginning of this article, you now have the ultimate guide on what makes a serger and a basic sewing machine so different from one another. Now take your time to think about it and make a decision.

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