Serger Sewing Machine Settings, Functions

A serger sometimes going by the name overlock machine can help tailors on how to highlight finished products. A tailor with a serger will find joy when using this product with the aim of getting a refined and professional touch to every cloth they sew.

As a sewing enthusiast, it is very common to go through the entire process without the need for a serger. However, the moment you introduce serger machines into your work there will be no going back.

Hence, we ask, what is so special about these machines? Let us find out and explain all the good things a serger can help you do.

Sewing and Serger Machine

What is a Serger?

A serger is a type of sewing machine that uses many spools of thread to create complex stitches, such as overlock. At first, the machine can be intimidating because in many cases most stitches require three spools of thread, which is only one more than a regular sewing machine.

The modern-day serger has a decorative and utility machine. You only need a little trial and error to determine a stitch that belongs to your sewing technique.

Why Use a Serger Machine?

A serger machine is fast and can quickly repair torn seams, make some pajamas for kids, or make up a quick gift for any occasion.

Comparing a stitch from a serger and that of a regular sewing machine, serger stitches are strong and can stretch making your garments and other accessories more durable.

Sergers have a built-in blade that cuts off excess fabric while stitching giving you a good hemming stitch that needs no cutting when done.

Serger Sewing Machine Settings

Sergers are available in three different categories that should suit all possible options. The three setting options include the cutting width, thread tension, and differential feed. These settings should help you achieve different types of stitches.

The Cutting Width

The cutting width is adjusted to control the amount of fabric passing through the seam. If you need more fabric passing through a seam or rolled hem. Adjust the cutting width to a higher number, for example, creating a rolled hem on a thick fabric may be of help.

For other types of fabric, you may need to lower the settings to attain a rolled edge. Reduce the cutting width if you have an extra fabric coming under the overlock stitching.

Differential Feed

A typical serger will have two feed dogs with the differential feed system. The one placed at the front pushes the fabric under the presser foot, while the back one feeds the fabric out of the serger.

In most cases when using lightweight fabric using a differential feed on N or 1 causes the fabric to move uniformly through the serger. Adjusting the setting to a higher value causes the fabric to gather while moving it to a lower value will lead to some stretching on the material.

Make use of a higher differential feed value to make it easy to handle stitching the sleeve cap into the arm cycle. Reduce the differential value when sawing on a lightweight fabric that has wrinkles.

Thread Tension

The thread tension is because of upper or lower looper tension being too loose or too tight. Getting the tension threading right is a leading cause of problems to most stitching jobs.

Get the tension that you want by using the recommended settings for the serger and the stitch you intend to use. Only if you do not get the required result use different colors of thread in each placement so you can identify threads causing problems.

The moment you identify the thread with all the problems adjusts its tension setting by lowering its value and test again. Keep stitching until you get the quality you want. Setting a value of 3 and four thread overlook stitches gives you a balanced stitch with looper threads visible, and connected along the cut edges.

What are the Expected Functions of a Serger Sewing Machine?

Seam Finishing

Use the 3-thread overlook stitch to make the seam look neat and all allowances on woven and knit fabrics. This seam means you will not have the shears on seams.

Seaming Knits

The overlook stitches have a built-in elastic movement that makes it a natural fit with knit fabrics. In such scenarios using the 3-thread overlook for seaming.


The gathering is a quick and easy way to create designs on garments and home decorations. The best gathering approach is to increase the differential feed by adding a higher number. Increasing the differential pushes the fabric under the gathering presser foot as you use the serge.

Cover stitching

Cover stitching is appropriate for ready to wear garments that need to a helm stitch done with an overstitch machine. The cover stitch function on a typical serger will find its relevance. Therefore, it is always a good thing to test your overstitch if it does have one.

Also read: T-Shirt Screen Printing Materials – Checklist For Beginners

Other Functions of Serger Machine

Rolled Hem

Appropriate for quick hems common in children clothes and napkins

Chain Stich

Chain stitch is a decorative top stitch used with an appropriate thread or a denim thread. You will see the stitch on a cotton skirt or a pair of jeans. When handling any material sewn using this stitch will unwind if you pull the wrong thread.

Elasticator Application

An Elasticator foot only takes a quarter inch of elastic which may be useful but limited because it is only good for half sips.

Flatlock Seams

Exercise tights should not have a seam edge on the inside that causes rubbing due to friction. Such attire is what makes the flatlock seams popular.

Must I Have a Serger to Sew?

Like any other machine, expectations always vary. A serger is not the standard equipment needed to sew. It makes sewing easier today by adding a lot of strength to most seams that need more strength like children clothing. A serger is a machine that will make the inner seams look like they are manufactured.

Using a serger adds a new experience to your sewing prowess and if you find a dealer that offer lessons, make use of them so that you can get a grasp of all the capabilities.

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