What is a Serger Sewing Machine and Why Should I Get One?

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Cover Image: What is a Serger Sewing Machine and Why Do I Want One?

Just like the contestants on Project Runway, a clever seamstress has many tricks up her sleeve, but a good Serger Sewing Machine provides a speedy jumpstart and a professional, clean edge to many craft projects.

What is a Serger and how does it differ from your familiar sewing machine?

A Serger, or overlocking machine, is used for creating smooth, binding seams on difficult to sew fabrics, from heavy denim to light chiffon. You have probably worn and laundered a countless number of items with a serger finish without knowing how the overlocking stitches were made. Let’s take a closer look at this handy zig zag sewing machine.

What Does a Serger Sewing Machine Do?

Four Serger Threads color blue in a Serger Machine - Brother brand

The serger binds the lower and upper threads together to form a seam. Technically, the lower looper advances from left to right, while the upper looper moves from right to left. The tip of the upper looper passes behind the lower looper and picks up the lower looper thread as well as the needle thread. This overlocking process binds the edge. This pretty much makes it unique to other conventional sewing machines.

Some serger models will trim the excess fabric off as they stitch the overlocking binding. T-shirts, lingerie, costumes, purses, and jeans benefit from this stylish edging. Your traditional sewing machine is still the king for topstitching, zippers, and sewing inside corners, but a serger will speedily create seams that don’t unravel, even knitwear.

To examine sergers in action, I watched these informative videos on YouTube. The cheerful explanations and clear tutorials were very convincing. JUKI MO, Baby Lock, and Brother all make reliable, beginner serger machines.

Beginner Guide Threading and Sewing Samples (JUKI MO 1000 Serger)

Serger by Baby Lock Beginning Tutorial

Still confused about how the Serger Sewing Machine will stitch circles around your traditional machine? Watch this lighthearted, comparison video with [email protected] instructor Sara Gallegos. The speed of the serger machine is amazing, even when gathering several layers. You will be able to tick off your craft projects like a pro for tailoring clothes or making drapes and other soft goods.

More detailed serger instruction is offered here: https://sewathomeclasses.com/serger

What Should I Buy?

The Brother 1034D Thread Serger with Differential Feed

Brother 1034D 3 4 Thread Serger with Differential Feed isolated in white background

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Check out this Brother – 1034D Beginner model. Sergers will always have at least three, often four spools of thread to manage at a time. Professional models may have as many as 8 spools, but don’t let that stop you. This affordable product has clear instructions and simple, color-coded threading for just four spools.


  • Does it cut or trim the fabric as it advances?
  • Is it easy to thread with color-coding?
  • Does it include a manual and instructional disc?
  • Is it easy to adjust the stitching and tension on the thread? Or do you have to replace the parts each time?

To launch your creative ideas, here’s a link to the delightful number of serger thread colors to choose from online:

Different colors of Serger Thread

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Are There Special Models for Special Needs?

Yes! If you sew on the road or need a mobile machine, a three spool model might be more to your liking. When repairing crafts at a fair or setting up a sewing station in a tight space, such as a camper or hotel room, consider this more portable choice in Serger Machines:

Juki 1-Needle, 3-Thread Overlock Machine MO-623 isolated in white background

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If you are looking for a heavy-duty model, Brother-ST 4031HD is a sturdy machine with four spools and durable, internal components. Plus this product has a start-up tutorial video:

BROTHER Serger, ST4031HD, Strong and Tough Serger isolated in white background

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What Do I Do to Get Started?

So, serge with ease by starting with a YouTube tutorial and hunting online for the best machine to suit your needs and your lifestyle. Then, have fun selecting some fabulous colors of thread to get going. Finally, practice on a variety of scrap fabrics once you’ve set up your new machine and learned to thread the four spools.

CRAFTY TIP: Be sure to fold your practice scraps in half to get a feel for binding two edges together. Now, you are ready for your first, simple project, like a blue jean bag.


  • Watch a YouTube Tutorial
  • Shop on Amazon.com for the model I need
  • Select my favorite color spools
  • Set up and learn how to thread my new machine
  • Practice on a variety of scraps, single and folded
  • Begin with a simple project

If you are serious about improving your hems and seams for craft projects and fashions, then a Serger Sewing Machine will give you the edge you need.

BROTHER Serger, ST4031HD accessories and parts

Bottom Line

Hopefully, this quick overview has helped you to better understand what a serger sewing machine is and how to shop for one that best suits your needs. I would love to hear from you and pics, please, of some of your favorite creations with your new serger. Wishing you a warm heart and flying fingers!