Serger/Overlock Stitch Guide for Beginners – Complete and Updated 2019

A Serger or an Overlock Machine is one type of sewing machine that binds fabric using an overlock stitch. Each overlock or serger stitch is made using three or four different threads.

Why use a Serger machine?

A Serger machine is a sewing machine that uses several thread spools to sew complex stitches. For a newbie user, this may be daunting, but not if you consider that a regular stitch needs three spools of the thread anyway.

Using a serger means a lot of benefits to the craftsperson. Not only does this machine come equipped with ordinary and decorative type stitches, but typically, this machine works fast. In a jiff, you can repair clothes torn at the seams, or create clothes for a child or let your imagination run riot.

Besides, a serger provides the user with more robust stitches than a regular sewing machine. This makes your clothes more resistant to tears and more durable too. And perhaps its most important feature is that it has an inbuilt blade that cuts off any excess fabric even as you stitch. This gives you perfect hems, which don’t require you to do any more cutting.

The Process of a Serger Stitch:

When you start out with a Best serger machine, you might find threading it not just complicated but also very confusing. Naturally, there are several needles, thread spools, and upper loopers and lower loopers to guide the threads and feed them through the eyes of the needles. Don’t let this de-motivate or dishearten you. With just a little practice, you can learn how to handle this machine and build up your creative streak.

To make one Serger stitch on the machine, the needle or needles should prick the material, and the thread(s) will typically make a loop at the rear of the needle. Here, the lower looper will move from the left to the right to take charge of that particular thread loop. As the lower looper moves, it will pull the thread through that which is in the needle.

Now, the upper looper moves in the direction opposite to the lower and grabs threads of the lower looper and needle. Simultaneously as the lower looper returns to its original position on the left, the upper looper moves along with it, still grasping the threads till the needle(s) return in a downward direction behind the upper looper so that one stitch is firmly made.

Types of Serger Stitches–A Comprehensive Guide

There are types and types of Serger stitches. To get superb results from your Serger machine, you need to understand how to execute every kind of stitch, and then find innovative methods of using your Serger machine. To understand the commonest Serger stitches available from basic to advanced, read on.

Taking a Closer Look at Serger Stitches

If you’re just starting out with Serging, the time to understand how to choose a particular stitch for a specific project is now. It’s true that most of your doubts will be answered by the owner’s manual and instructional DVD that accompanies your Serger machine, but that’s only part of the problem solved. The other part is getting to know the extensive library of stitches your machine is capable of and their individual uses. This will take a while, but be patient.

One of the chief uses of Serger machines is to give a professional, polished appearance to the garments or other articles you create. This is easily possible with the wide options in stitches. These alone will teach you all that your Serger machine can do for you.

Basic Serger Stitches:

Let’s take a look at some of the basic stitches from which others developed:

  • Overlock Stitch: Within each stitch is a seam here. Multiple threads are used to lock the hem so that it does not fray.
  • Cover Stitch: With this stitch, you can create a smart and professional looking hem that will suit any type of garments made of a variety of fabrics. When the fabric’s edge is folded and hemmed, the raw edge of the folded fabric is taken into the stitching.

  • Flatlock Stitch: Use this stitch when you need to join two pieces of cloth to create a seam. When ready, you’ll find the seam lies flat. When you need to join fabric panels, the Flatlock Stitch would be the one to go with.
  • Rolled Hem: This stitch gives you dual benefits: one, it takes in the raw edges of the cloth before hemming it and, two, it produces an attractively smartly-edged fabric that will never fray. If you’re putting together a set of table napkins, you might like to consider the rolled hem stitch.

Depending on the number of Serger threads contained in your machine, you can try out other stitches too, such as:

1-Thread: This stitch type is also known as the “butt seam”. Here, the edges of the material are joined together by running a zigzag stitch over it. The ”butt seam” stitch is usually used to join seams where not much stress is going to be placed because it is not really durable, e.g. when stitching lingerie.

2-Thread: This stitch suits knits and woven material where edging and seams have to be done. This stitch can also be used for finishing the edges of seams, stitching lace and elastic to lingerie, and hemming. This is a very commonly used type of Serger stitch.

3-Thread Overlock: Are you trying out making something woolly or woven? This stitch is created by using just one needle, so its durability isn’t much. So, use this stitch only when you don’t want to put too much stress on your product, making them ideal for hems of throws or blankets.

4-Thread Overlock: This is possibly the most-often used stitch because it always makes a durable hem or seam. Thanks to its durability, the four-thread is most often used to finish seams on all types of professionally manufactured clothing.

Despite the exhaustive list of serger stitches, it’s important to note that not all Serger machines come equipped with all these stitches. The speed of these machines, their variety of stitches and the number of threads they use jointly influence their prices. But for a skilled craftsperson like you, buying a Serger would be a need, not a luxury.