How Do You Adjust Stitches On A Serger?
If you are tailoring or working on any kind of fabric, then a serger machine is absolutely something that you need. If you are making flatlock stitches, a variety of overlock stitches, rolled hems, or decorative stitches, then a serger machine will certainly come in handy.
With that being said, serger machines do require a bit of knowledge to use. One reason for this is because the stitches on a serger machine can be adjusted. To be specific, the stitch length, stitch width, and stitch tension can all be adjusted.
Yes, sergers allow you to make longer or shorter stitches, wide and narrow stitches, and you can control how much tension is on the thread too. So, how do you adjust stitches on a serger? How to adjust stitch width, length, and tension is what we are going to teach you today.
How Do You Adjust Stitches on a Serger?
Right now, we are going to describe exactly how to adjust the stitch length, width, and tension on your serger machine. We’re also going to explain exactly why you would want to make these adjustments in the first place.
Adjusting Serger Stitch Length
The first type of adjustment you can perform on a serger is for the stitch length. Depending on the circumstances, you may need your stitches to be longer or shorter.
In terms of making stitch length adjustments, this is easily done. Your serger machine is going to come with either a dial or a lever for this. It will be labelled as stitch length.
Generally speaking, the higher you adjust the number to, the further apart those stitches are going to be. On the other hand, the smaller the number, the closer together the stitches will be.
So, why would you adjust the stitch length? Well, one reason for this is because stitches that are closer together tend to be stronger.
When making garments, short stitches are ideal for added strength. However, if you are sewing something like vinyl or leather, you may want to use longer stitches. Having longer stitches means that fewer holes are created in the fabric in question.
What you also need to know is that the longer the stitches are, the less will be packed into each inch. This therefore creates a looser stitch. Having a shorter stitch length will result in having a much tighter stitch.
Adjusting Serger Stitch Width
The second type of adjustment that you can make on a serger is the stitch width. Just like with the stitch length, the stitch width is also easily adjusted using the integrated dial or lever on your serger machine.
You should see a dial or lever that is labeled as stitch width. Just like with stitch length, the higher the number is, the wider apart the stitches will be. The lower the number you set it to, the closer together those stitches will be.
A neat secret here is that when you adjust the stitch width on a serger, you are actually moving the cutting knife. In other words, adjusting the so called stitch width will determine how much fabric the cutting knife removes from the main piece.
The number one reason to adjust the stitch width is to ensure that the thread wraps around the fabric perfectly at the edges. If the cutting width is too wide, the stitches might not reach the end of the fabric.
However, if the cutting width is too narrow, your stitches might hang off the edge of the fabric. Not only will this look sloppy, but it won’t create a strong seam either.
Adjusting Serger Thread Tension
The other main type of adjustment you can make on your serger has to do with the amount of tension on the thread. If there is more tension on the thread, it means that there is more friction on it as it moves through the machine.
The higher the tension, the tighter the thread will be, and vice versa. For instance, if you have too much tension on the thread, it’s going to gather fabric together and cause it to pucker.
This might be fine if you are making ruffles or frills, but is otherwise problematic. On the other hand, if the thread tension is too loose, your stitches will also be loose. You’re also going to end up seeing loops on the rear of the fabric.
Serger machines also come with simple thread tension adjustment dials. In fact, you should be able to adjust the thread tension for each thread individually. Just like with stitch length and width, you simply have to turn the dial up or down to increase or decrease the tension.
Adjusting Serger Stitches – Final Thoughts
As you can see, adjusting the stitches on a serger is quite easy, and this is true for stitch length, width, and tension too. On most serger machines, you can easily adjust all three using the integrated adjustment dials.