Frequently Asked Questions on Sergers

When exploring the world of serging, there are many questions users have. Some users have never tried a serger while others have more experience but still have much to learn. The following are some commonly asked questions that come up for those that are unsure when undertaking serging tasks.

What does a serger do?

A serger cuts and encloses the seam or edge of a fabric inside a thread casing. It does this simultaneously. Many aspects of the finished product are adjustable on a serger including the thread number, stitch pattern and stitch width. Using a serger is ideal when you need to create professional looking finishes on your pieces.

What machine is best?

The best machine is the one that meets all of your needs, including budget limits, successfully. What you expect from your serger may be quite different from what an acquaintance expects. Learn about the machines that are currently on the market. If possible, take lessons to become as familiar as possible and perform test runs when shopping for one.

What is differential feed?

Sergers with a differential feed have two feed sources, each in the front and back. When the differential feed is neutral the front source feeds the fabric at the same rate as it does in the back. When the differential feed is set higher, the front feed source will feed more fabric than the one in back because it will move a greater distance than the back source. These higher settings are used for gathering as well as overcoming stretching in knit fabrics.

Is it necessary to use serger cone thread with a serger?

Is it necessary to use serger cone thread with a sergerMost machines will still work just fine with standard sewing thread. The only obstacle is ensuring there is enough of it to complete the project as a serger will typically use much more thread than a standard sewing machine. Thread from a sewing machine will be heavier than that for a serger, so the tension settings may need to be adjusted.

How do I prevent the thread from looping off the edge of the fabric?

Check the status of the differential feed and if it is not supposed to be on, place it into a neutral state. Make sure the cutting blade is set to the correct width and check the tension of the upper and lower loopers. Make sure the serger is properly threaded and the threads are properly placed with the correct tension.

How often should the serger be cleaned?

You should clean your serger after completing each project. If your project is larger with a lot of lint build-up you may need to clean it several times throughout the course of the task. Clean all thread guides and remove lint from the knives and feed dog. You can eliminate debris easily by using a vacuum cleaner or hair dryer. If the machine is not cleaned on a regular basis it could lead to excess noise, inconsistent stitching or improper feeding.

photo credit: photosteve101Flávio