Here are some of the best beginner’s tips for getting started with a serger aka overlock machine. Bringing home your first serger is a big step toward expanding your sewing skills. Producing professional-quality garments, bedding and other projects. Many sewing enthusiasts, including you, may have successfully managed to create wonderful pieces without the benefit of a serger. But most serger owners insist that switching to a serger opens a whole new world of possibilities that sewing machines just can’t offer you. Here are a few tips to get you started on this new sewing adventure.
Sergers are entirely different animals than even the most complex sewing machine, so don’t jump in cold. Use the owner’s manual to familiarize yourself with your new machine’s parts and features. Make it your friend until you get comfortable with the machine.
Most new sergers also include instructional videos, so take advantage of it. Watching someone else perform various tasks and use different features will help you better understand the written instructions.
Thread the Machine
With four thread spools, two needles and a bewildering array of settings, your serger is obviously a complicated machine. Learning to thread one can be an intimidating procedure, but the best way to learn how to do it right is to do it.
The owner’s manual and video will both contain instructions on threading the machine, usually using the pull-through method. This allows you to change threads without completely re-threading the machine. It’s not hard to learn and it’s a great time-saving method if your machine doesn’t include a self-threading function. However, it’s important to practice basic threading too. The inside cover of the machine may include a threading guide.
Give it a Try
Once you’ve successfully threaded the machine several times, the next step is to run some fabric through it. Refer to the owner’s manual and try out each feature and function. Some of the more complex functions may involve swapping out a part or two, but it’s good practice.
Maintain a slow, steady speed and pay attention to your accuracy. Keep your eyes on the blade, not the needle as on a sewing machine. The blade’s function is permanent, so guide your fabric according to where you want it cut. There is no backstitch function on sergers, so you’ll have to knot the thread when finished.
The Really Important Tips
Everyone develops their own style, pace and tricks when using a serger. But no matter how you will eventually prefer to use your machine, the following do’s and don’ts are practical, universal tips.
- Sewing over pins is a bad habit when using sewing machines. Doing it on a serger is a sure recipe for disaster. A serger cuts the fabric as it sews, which means learning to sew without depending on pins or pinning much further away from the edge.
- Taking is slow might seem hard, especially if you’re used to speeding along on your sewing machine, but there’s no way to start over after the fabric has already been cut.
- Invest in good thread when you’re ready to tackle your first project. The machine will do its job better and there will be far less chances of thread catching or breaking as you work.
- If you haven’t fallen in love with the tweezers you used while practicing threading, it’s time you did. They’re useful for many tasks, including helping to untangle thread that shouldn’t be tangled.
- Read our beginner’s guide for selecting the right serger.
There’s a definite learning curve involved when starting out with a new serger, but once you get some experience with it, your serger skills will rock.
Best Entry Level Sergers
- This serger machine is not expensive, therefore is on the cheaper end of the serger spectrum and is the best beginner serger machine
- This serger comes with a blind hem stitch food, gathering foot and piping foot
- You can use this machine to sew 1,300 stitches per minute!
- The machine comes with two sets of free thread to get you started
- It has very positive reviews, with 75% of customers giving it a 5* rating
- This is an affordable serger machine
- It comes with 3 and 4 thread options
- Other features include easy lay-in threading, quick change rolled hem, and adjustable foot pressure
- This machine has very positive reviews, with no customers giving this product less than 4*s on Amazon
- This is a more expensive machine
- This singer lets you go up to 5 stitches
- You can use this machine to create 1300 stitches a minute
- This machine comes with an easy threading diagram and a fully adjustable tension system
- This serger has mostly positive reviews, but some customers have found it flimsy and easily breakable, which is not ideal for a more expensive machine.
- This serger has a rather hefty price tag
- Color coded threading
- You can control this serger with the touch of one button
- All accessories are included
- This serger has had 100% 5* ratings on Amazon.