Serger Vs Sewing Machine: Which One Should I buy?

Are you planning on buying a sewing machine but confused if you should buy a Server or a Sewing Machine? If this is so, read this Server Vs Sewing Machine comparison that will help you make a decision as soon as you complete going through this post.

Probably the most confusing, the most asked, and the most searched question by sewers or beginners- what is the difference between sergers and sewing machines?

But which one is better and which one should you buy?

So, many questions, right?

No worries at all because you have come to the right place!

As you will read this post, things will get clear in your mind because we will discuss different aspects of a serger by compiling the information needed to understand both machines.

It is essential for you to understand the different features and purposes of a serger to know it better and make a smart decision assuming that you are already familiar with what a standard sewing machine does.

What is a Serger?

An overlocker or a serger is a type of sewing machine that uses multiple threads to seam fabric and cover its raw edges.

And that’s not all because it can be used for finishing and construction at the same time. You can use it for hemming, flat locking, seaming, and other decorative edgings.

Brother 1034DX 3:4 Serger sewing machine

As can be seen just by looking at the serger, it can come with two to eight spools of threads. Unlike a sewing machine that uses a bobbin, a serger uses loopers to stitch which are fed by spools of thread.

Below is a little guide for some sergers:

  • One thread spool– one thread overlock stitch is most commonly used for seaming because it is good for both end-to-end seaming and butt seaming.
  • Two thread spools– a two-thread overlock stitch is perfect for giving sewing projects a good edge finish, stitching flatlock seams, attaching elastic and lace, and for everyday hemming.
  • Three thread spools– a three thread overlock stitch is a great choice for simple edge finishing or lightweight fabrics. This stitch is strong and has quite a bit of giving for stretchy fabrics, but because of the use of only one needle, it has less bulk and thus less strength. A particular advantage to this stitch is that it can be used to sew a blind hem, hemming and finishing the raw edge at the same time.
  • Four thread spools– a four-thread overlock stitch is the most used one. It is sewn with two-needle threads which essentially sews two rows of stitching in your fabric while the looper threads wrap the edge. This stitch is best used on medium to heavyweight fabrics or on seams that see a bit of stress, such as on fitted garments. When you need flexibility in a seam, as well as durability, this is your best bet.
  • Five thread spools– a five thread overlock stitch is just more durable and stronger. It is usually used on heavier fabrics like denim.

What tools do you need to operate the Serger?

For your serger, the essentials for its maintenance will come in the box (things like screwdrivers, thread nets, and oil). It’s important to know that the oil used on your overlocker (serger) is different from the oil used on your standard sewing machine—these bottles are not interchangeable!

You will need an awl or stiletto- a pointed tool that can be helpful when it comes to feeding fabric close to the presser foot and more importantly, the cutting knife; a pair of nice sharp tweezers (are sometimes stashed conveniently in the looper door when you pull it down) as they make it easy to thread loopers, needles, or in any tight spaces where your fingers might not be able to maneuver with grace; wonder clips to keep a metal pin or your fingers clear of the cutting knife as your cutting knife will be severely damaged if you accidentally clip one of those pins.

That’s is all you will require the most with your serger to operate it safely.

Benefits of a Serger:

The biggest myth about a serger is that it can only be used to do a seam but it is not! A serger can be used on almost any fabric and can be used to sew the whole garment alone.

The following are some notable uses of a serger-

  • Create decorative edges using thicker threads not meant for a sewing machine.
  • A must-have for sewing knits, fleece, sweatshirt fabric, or anything stretchy.
  • Beautiful rolled hems on lightweight and sheer fabrics in minutes.
  • Overlock and seam in one pass.
  • Simplify and speed up the gathering of lighter-weight fabrics.
  • Insert elastic, beads, wire, cording, and pearls along any edge using one of the many available accessory serger feet.
  • Keep fabrics from unraveling more than necessary by finishing raw edges by applying a serged edge.

A standard Sewing Machine and a Serger

It is really surprising what a serger can do like a standard sewing machine- it can gather fabric, it can do a narrow-rolled hem, it can neatly do piping, and can even hem a knit.

And all these things a done faster and more professionally than a standard sewing machine. It trims away seam allowances and encases raw edges – all at up to speeds of 1700 stitches per minute!

But there are a few things for which you cannot rely on a serger- to do buttonholes, topstitching, facing, and zippers.

Do you need both?

No, you may not need both of them depending upon your current condition- if you are a beginner, a standard sewing machine will take you a long way and as you will get experienced and would want to work faster and give a more professional finish to your project, a serger would be required.


A serger is a highly underestimated machine considered high-tech to only sew seams. But now you probably know that it can be used to do almost everything that a standard sewing machine and at a great speed. It can be used on any fabric and does professional and durable work.

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