An Introduction to Sergers

For some this is brand new information, for others it is a refresher.

This is an Introduction to Sergers

Overall at first glance Sergers look confusing.. sitting down and
trying to use one is stressful… but taken one step at a time…
understanding what does what… they soon become your favorite machine
and makes sewing a joy.

There is a new vocabulary needed when talking about a serger.

A 4 thread serger has an Left Needle (LN), Right Needle (RN), a Lower
Looper (LL) and an Upper Looper (UL).

A three thread serger doesn’t have a left needle (LN).

A 5 thread serger has added a Chain Stitch (CS) and most are able to
change needle positions – A-E, and some can use 3 needles.

We are only going to do a 3-4 needle function and I want to direct you
to Machine specific yahoo groups for more about how to use your cover
stitch, chain stitch, and more advanced serging techniques. Some
machines are able to do a 2 thread and again once you have mastered
the 3 and 4 thread functions on your machines, anything is possible.

What’s a Looper?

Both Loopers create this knitting function over the edge of the fabric
and the needle or needles go down through the fabric, catch the thread
and as it comes back up locks the stitch into place.

Lets break this down even further…

Upper Looper, this part moves left and right creating loops on the
upper side of the fabric edge. While the Lower Looper, this part also
moves left and right creating loops on the underside of the fabric
edge. The Right Needle and Left Needle stitch up and down catching the
loops on the upper and lower side of the fabric locking the loops in

Sergers used to be called Overlocks and still are every where except
the United States where the name was changed to Serger. Overlock
really does describe what these machines do.. overlocks the edge of

Commercial machines have one function and one function only, they
aren’t able to do all of the things our home sergers can do.. but our
home sergers aren’t going to go through several layers of denim either!

It is so important to thread the machine in order. The upper looper
and then lower looper, the right needle and last left needle. The
reason is the lower looper thread must go over the upper looper thread
or it just won’t stitch. Remember look at one thread path at a time,
don’t look at them all at once.

It is frustrating to say the least to learn this new tool when there
is no one to ask. This is one of the problems with buying from a
department store, there is no support if something goes wrong or you
are having problems with it. Some stores offer a 2 hours class which
is better then nothing but in 2 hours you are overwhelmed with
information. So many ladies get sergers and put them in the closet
after trying it once.

Expect this machine will frustrate you, you will say bad words and
have even worse thoughts! it is called ‘a learning curve’.


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