Tag Archives: basics

Serger 101 Series

Tryston here!  Today I’m going to explain what a serger is and help take the fear out of sewing with one!  I’ll also be answering some common questions!

What is a Serger? 

A serger is a sewing machine that binds fabric together with an overlock stitch. It uses 3-4 stitches to create the overlock stitch. This is the finishing stitch you see on many of your shirts and garments that you have around the house right now.

What does a serger do?

A serger trims the seam and encloses the seam allowance or edge of the fabric, inside a thread casing, all in one step. The width and density of the stitching are two of the many variables available on a serger. The options are not the same on all sergers. As with almost anything you purchase, the more you spend, the more options you will have. But mostly all basic sergers around the 200-300 range work perfectly for home use.

Part of a serger

The dials you see on top of the machine are the tension settings for your thread. From left to right, they are: 

  • left needle
  • right needle
  • upper looper
  • lower looper

**Please note that most sergers do look the same so even if you have a different type than this the chances are they will still be very similar to this.

Left of the machine.

  • Adjust the stitch width and length
  • Turn the knife on or off
  • The stitch width and length/ There are times when you may want to turn your knife off.


  • The main thing that sets sergers apart from sewing machines is the loopers. These are located inside the machine and under the needle.
  • The loopers act like knitting needles, in that they overcast over the needle threads.
  • The loopers are threaded in a special sequence. 

Many machines include a threading chart right on the machine, for an easy reminder when threading the serger.

Written By: T. Bruner

-Stay tune to the next post: How to thread a serger-