What to Think About When it Comes to Sergers!
April is NATIONAL SERGER MONTH, and sergers have come a long way with their ease of threading and use.
There are several types of serger machines and overlockers available, each with its own unique features and capabilities. If you are new to sergers, we wanted to get you started with some back ground information on the most common types:
Overlocker (often referred to as a SERGER): This machine commonly uses two, three or four threads to create a seam and is suitable for a wide range of fabrics.
Coverstitch machine: This machine creates a cover stitch that is often used for hemming and finishing knits, and often a chain stitch. A Coverstitch machine can also be used for decorative stitching.
Combination machine: This is a machine that combines a serger and a coverstitch machine all in one machine, providing the most flexibility and the widest range of stitches. It is convenient for those who want to switch between different types of stitching without having to switch machines.
When considering a new serger machine, there are a handful of key factors that you might want to consider:
Stitch options: We would suggest looking for a serger machine that offers the ability to produce a range of stitches, such as 4-thread overlock, 3-thread overlock, rolled hem, and flatlock. This will give you greater versatility in your sewing projects, and added value longer-term. You may want to consider a combination serger which would include the overlocker stitches and chain/cover stitches all in one machine.
Ease of Threading: We would suggest to stick with the air-threading sergers, which are the sergers with a quality, easy to use air-threading for the upper, lower and chain loopers. This helps save you time, and eliminate the head-aches of trying to connect the dots manually to thread the loopers. Needle threaders are also available.
Ease of Use: Look for a serger with easy-to-understand controls to modify your stitches, and tensions. Newer sergers have integrated instructions and video on screen, as well as troubleshooting capability right there at your fingertips. A machine that is simple to operate will save you time and frustration.
Differential feed: This is rather common on most all current sergers. Differential feed modifies the feed dogs allowing the fabric to move through the machine smoothly and evenly, preventing stretching or puckering, or inducing the stretching and puckering. Make sure your serger has a differential feed that can be adjusted for different fabrics.
Thread tension: The ability to adjust the thread tension is important for achieving a clean, professional finish. Look for a serger with easy-to-use thread tension controls.
Speed: If you're new to serging, having the ability to adjust the serger speed will make the serger easier to handle. However, if you're an experienced sewer, you may prefer a faster machine.
Extra Features: Take a look at the extra features that may come with a serger or brand, such as a built-in thread cutter, needle threader, threading instruction card, or even built-in threading tutorial videos in the screen. Extras like good LED lighting may be highly valuable.
Durability and build quality: Look for a serger with a sturdy build that can handle heavy use. Confirm the internal construction is a metal frame, and do your best to avoid the low cost big-box store specials. Commonly the big-box store special pricing comes at a cost, as quality is often removed.
Brand reputation and customer support: Do your research on the brand and read reviews from other customers. Look for a brand with a good reputation for quality and reliability. Check to see if the brand or store offers good customer support and warranty coverage. Also, check to see what education and classes may be available so your new serger does not end up in the closet.
Accessories: Look for a serger that has available accessories so you can continue to learn and grow with your serger, and not find yourself limited. Sometimes machines will come with extra feet or accessories to help get you started. These extras help you maximize the available features that you may find useful, such as a built-in thread cutter or needle threader.
Service: Last but not least, consider what is provided by the store you are purchasing the machine from and their ability to provide service … this includes service work or warranty work if it is needed, as well as serger education.
Making sure the store you get your serger can provide the service may be the ultimate feature that keeps your serger running and most useful to maximize your investment!
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