Although I’ve been sewing since I was a wee child and my grandma taught me how to make my first pair of potholders, I’ve always been a little bit terrified of sergers. All the threads, all the dials, it just seems like there is too much that could go wrong.
Plus they can cut the fabric! So the margin of error just seems so small, I’ve avoided them thus far. And yet, I want one!
For sewing clothing and finishing edges, they’re kind of necessary once you want to go beyond the basics and make a more professional looking, durable product. When I first began making my own clothes and whatnot, sergers just seemed totally inaccessible from a financial standpoint, but now since they’ve come way down in price, and in size, I am even more drawn to the idea of getting one and upping my sewing game.
Because I’m new to the serger world, I’ve done a bunch of digging to come up with my list of the 5 best sergers for beginners.
What to Look for in a Beginner Serger
- Ease of use: let’s be honest here. If you are a beginner serger user, you’re going to obviously want to get one that is easy to use. Easy to thread and easy to understand how to use is the name of the game here and I’m giving bonus points for any product that comes with instructional videos!
- Price point: sergers have come down in price so much in the past few years but if you are new to using them, you still don’t want to be making a huge investment in something that you aren’t sure if you are going to love. Finding the right serger that isn’t so expensive that it breaks the bank, but so cheap that it brings quality into question is the fine balance we are looking for here.
- Extra accessories: added accessories give extra value to the serger in my books. If you get some bits and bobs included that you would otherwise have to buy separately, I think this is just dandy. With extra feet and attachments you can do a wider of variety of projects and you’ll get more use out of your machine.
- Differential fabric feed: okay, I admit, at first I didn’t know what the heck this meant. But since I had to do a lot of research to figure out which serger is right for me, I learned that you want a machine that has differential fabric feed. Basically what this means is that you can do fun things like ruffles and cool edges, and use your machine with a variety of fabrics and always get a smooth edge.
I knew I was on to something with this guy when I started to notice that most people mention the Brother 1034D as a must buy when looking for a straight-forward, easy to use serger.
What attracts me to it the most, apart from the great price, is it comes with an instructional video and a manual which I think is awesome because I am way more apt to learn something if I can see it in a video, rather than read a how-to manual.
I love the colour coded parts and dials which basically tell you exactly how to thread it and the common “thread” here is, (get it? get it? thread!) if you can thread a regular machine, you can thread this serger.
I also liked that you can use regular size spools of thread with it so you don’t have to go out and buy a bunch of huge spools that are just for sergers.
It offers 22 different stitches and with a Differential Feed offers a lot of options for handling different fabrics and textures. It comes with 2 feet and a 25-year warranty which I think is just amazing. For the price, this product offers a lot and handles whatever you throw at it.
“The “how-to” videos are wonderful for the visual learner. You can pick up the same knowledge from the thorough instruction book(s) included, but the videos reinforce the book. Watching the video on “threading” once, and following the line drawings on the machine itself, I was able to thread the machine in 5 minutes.”
“It’s worth every penny and more. I’m only mad at myself for waiting so long to enter the world of serging. It’s cut my construction time in half. I won’t be buying any RTW knits anymore. I’ve had it for a week and I’ve completed 3 projects though I work full-time. I’ve gushed enough, gotta sew.”
“This serger (Brother 1034D) is so much fun. I have been playing with it for days and still get excited with every stitch I make. The instruction manual is very detailed and easy to follow with illustrations, plus there is a separate [sic] manual that shows you all the different stitches and how to set your machine to the exact tension for each stitch! 22 different ones! Plus gives you ideas on how to make your own unique stitches.”
I don’t know about you but in my family a Singer machine has always been a part of the house since way back in the day of my great grandmother. So the brand name holds a lot of clout in my mind. The Singer 14CG754 ProFinish 2-3-4 Thread Serger falls in the same price range as the previous Brother machine and also comes with an instructional DVD.
It uses the larger spools of thread, unlike the Brother but also has the color coded threading which I really love. It has a removable cloth plate that allows for easy arm-hole construction or small space stitching and it has a bunch of hem options that can accommodate a variety of fabrics, with that differential feed option that you’re going to want.
One thing I really liked about this product was that it has a carry handle, making it portable in case I don’t want to keep it on my table all the time and yet it feels heavy duty and sturdy and the 25 year warranty supports this.
“I have wanted a serger for quite some time and have viewed many different models. This machine is easy to thread, easy to use, lightweight, and at a great price. I spend much less time now on overlocking, and sewing lightweight fabrics is a breeze. Wish I had bought one years ago.”
“As the owner of a very large serger (8 thread) that can put in zippers and make decorative stitches, I needed my ‘simple’
surger [sic] back. This machine is great it works hard and is easy to thread no switches or buttons or levers to adjust. Just SEW. And best of all it has the best price I could find anywhere…”
“I’ve never used a serger before so it was nice to have the machine come threaded and ready to play with. I put it right to work with a couple of blankets and was very happy with the outcome.”
Another totally great choice, at a slightly higher price point is the Brother Designio Series DZ1234 Serger. This bad boy comes with a bunch of accessories including a Blind Hem Stitch Foot, a Gathering Foot and Piping Foot but doesn’t seem to include that all too useful instructional DVD.
No worries, though, the manual makes things clear and simple and the all blue dials offer a little bit of subtlety and sleeker look than the other models that have the bright and colourful dials.
This machine is a little bit quieter than some of the other machines on offer, including the Brother model above and has the nice option of being able to raise the knife so you don’t have to cut fabric if you don’t want to.
You can do piping and a range of hems with this sucker and it can work with many layers of varying fabrics with no hiccups at all. It really gives your sewing that professional finish that makes it look store bought instead of a homemade product. A great option at a great price!
“I have never, ever used a serger before so I am a total newbie at this. That said, I am awfully impressed with what it does, and I’m still in the baby stages of using it. The serged seam was unbelievably beautiful and something I could never do on a regular sewing machine.”
“I LOVE LOVE my new serger! I have heard so many horror stories about threading them and was apprehensive in getting one but it was very easy to thread all 4 threading areas!”
“I love, love, love this machine for function and value. It is super fast and does things my sewing machine just can not.”
Though maybe not carrying the heft of the brand recognition that Brother and Singer have, I include the JUKI MO644D Portable Serger because of it’s ease of use for beginners and it’s portability. I love that it has that built in handle that means I can just stow it away when I’m not using it and yet it is heavier than some of the other models I’ve mentioned, which means that even though it’s portable, it’s still durable and heavy duty.
I love that it comes with tweezers and a feeding tool to get to those hard to reach places, and the threading is made simple with the colour coding. It’s also easy to switch from 4 to 3 thread stitching and like the other machines it comes pre-threaded so a lot of people just tie on another thread to the included spool so you don’t even have to thread it yourself.
For a heavy-duty machine that can handle even a few layers of medium weight felts and other fabrics, this machine is really impressive. Because it’s so compact and portable, it gives the impression that it’s delicate but it can take on the big guys no problem.
“…best decision I’ve made in 2014. This machine is compact, lightweight but AMAZING. Even if it weren’t this cheap, it would beat other machines. I love everything about it and would recommend it for everyone, beginners and experts.”
“For just a little more than I paid for my Brother, this machine is a trooper on heavy materials, even though it states it is for light-to-medium weight fabrics. The knife is very sharp and after a LOT of serging, still cuts through the thickest of sweater fabrics. Amazing machine.”
“This is the first serger I have ever bought. I was nervous about buying it without “test driving” it first. I was extremely pleased. I’ve had this machine for almost a year, and I use it several times a week. This machine does so much more than just serge. You can do a rolled hem, satin stitch rolled hem, lettuce edges, gathering, flat locking, etc… I am so glad I made this purchase. I don’t know how I ever sewed without a serger. I would definitely recommend this machine.”
Another great option that comes with an instructional video to make that first time threading easy. The Janome 8002D Serger is another great choice for folks that want a sturdy long-lasting machine that allows you to do a tonne of different stitches for different projects.
It’s ready to go right out of the box and easy to switch from stitch to stitch. The manual clearly shows all the things you can do with the Janome and it is a clear favorite for many for a first time option that will have you happily sewing clothes for you and all your friends’ dogs for years to come!
With the all to important differential feed and adjustable cutting size, the Janome boasts a sturdy 17.2 lb weight that means that despite it’s size, it packs a lot of punch! Consistent stitches on a variety of fabrics, this thing can do hems, ruffles and a bunch of other exciting edgings.
“I researched for a reliable serger and decided in the Janome8002D. I am making cloth diapers for my daughter’s first baby. I have made about a dozen and the serger has worked perfectly.”
“Love it! Was able to use it right out of the box. I’ve never had a serger before but the instructions that came with it are clear and I’m confident I’ll have no troubles learning.”
“I researched all the brand names and found the Janome brand stands out by far. This machine comes ready to use right out of the package. I played around with a serger years ago, but didn’t have much experience, so didn’t want anything with too many bells and whistles. This serger is simple enough for the beginner, yet capable of meeting the demands on an experienced seamstress.”