Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sewing with Sergers: What Can My Serger Do?

Like Jess, I can tell you I am extremely intimidated by sewing with a serger.  I'm fairly comfortable sewing with a basic machine but deciding to jump into a project with my serger was entirely out of my element.  I'm a big planner and I feel relatively okay doing new things with the wealth of information you can gain by spending a few hours online.  Learning the serger has not been so easy.  I want to say I read the manual and then immediately started sewing but that wasn't the case.

Before I get to an actual project I thought it would be helpful to explain the basic functions of a serger.  As you may already know, I received my serger as a birthday gift.  My mom bought me a Singer Professional 5 that came with 6 additional presser feet.

I was excited and then instantly thought, "wait, what can I do with a serger?"

After a lot of reading and no sewing (yet), I think I know what my serger can do.

Double Chain Stitch
  • suitable for straight seams
also used for decorative chainstitch topstitching effect
Double Chain Stitch
Two-thread wrapped Edge Overlock (narrow)

  • provides an elegant fine finish to lightweight fabrics
  • when using clear threads the fabric appears to have an invisible edge
  • gives a couture effect and looks beautiful on finer fabrics 
    Two-thread Wrapped Edge Overlock (narrow)
Two-thread Overedge (narrow and wide)
  • used as a lightweight seam finish or a lightweight seam
  • less thread is used and does not imprint on the right side of fabric when pressed
  • creates less bulky seams (ideal for sheer or lace fabrics)
Two-thread Overedge (narrow and wide)
Three-thread Overlock (narrow)
  • most commonly used because of its versatility
  • provides professional seam finish to woven fabrics
  • beneficial in preventing loosely woven fabrics from unraveling
  • offers unlimited decorative capabilities
  • recommended for finishing seams but not reinforcing the seam 
Three-thread Overlock (narrow)
 Three-thread Flatlock (narrow and wide)
  • used decoratively to achieve the look of applied trim
  • special decorative threads are used for a textured and dramatic effect
also used to serge non-bulky seams
Three-thread Flatlock (narrow)
Three-thread Flatlock (narrow)
Three-thread Flatlock (narrow)
Three-thread Ultra Stretch Mock Safety

  • stretches with the fabric, seam will not break when fabric is stretched
  • ideal for super-stretch knits like those used on swimwear or athletic clothing 
Three-thread Ultra Stretch Mock Safety

Four-thread Ultra Stretch Mock Safety
  • stronger than the Three-thread Ultra Stretch Mock Safety stitch
  • the additional thread provided added strength to the seam (good choice for knits and wovens)
  • works well when applying ribbing to garment (often seen on cuffs, collars, and waistbands)
Four-thread Ultra Stretch Mock Safety
Four-thread Safety Stitch
  • alternative to the Five-thread Safety Stitch
  • offers same type of Two-thread Chainstitch
  • used when sewing a medium weight woven fabric because the stitch is less bulky
Four-thread Safety Stitch
Five-thread Safety Stitch (wide)
  • combination of a Two-thread Chainstitch and Three-thread Overlock stitch
  • Suitable for woven fabrics and provides a durable seam for heavy weight fabrics (denim) 
Five-thread Safety Stitch (wide)
Five-thread Safety Stitch (narrow)
  • same benefits as Five-thread Safety Stitch (wide)
Five-thread Safety Stitch (narrow)
Cover Stitch (narrow)
  • often seen in ready to wear garments
  • two needles crate parallel rows of topstitching and one looper sews an edge finish on underside
Cover Stitch (narrow)
 Cover Stitch (wide)
  • same benefits as Cover Stitch (narrow)
Cover Stitch (wide)

Triple Cover Hem
  • professional and creative triple topstitch
  • three needles create parallel rows of topstitching and one looper sews an edge finish on underside
  • ideal for heavier fabrics
  • traditionally used in home decorating
  • adds unique accent for garment constructions
Triple Cover Hem
Three-thread Rolled Hem
  • used to finish edges of scarves, ruffles, table linens, and some garments
  • suitable for lightweight to medium weight fabrics
  • used for pintucks
Three-thread Rolled Hem
My serger came with a beading foot (used for sewing on beads, sequins, pearls, and thick cord), a blind hem foot (used for hemming skirts, paints, and other sewing projects in one easy operation), a cording foot (used for sewing piping betwe3en two layers of fabric in one easy operation), an elastic foot (used for inserting elastic into a seam), a shirring foot (used for shirring and gathering), and a taping foot (used for inserting a tape into seams that will stretch easily).

Now that I know just what I can do with my serger, I'm excited to start sewing!  This week I'll be using my favorite Lil Blue Boo patterns to make some spring clothes for my daughter.



5 comments:

Tina said...

Wow, I didn't know a serger did so many things! Now, I really want one! Great post, thanks for sharing!

Magda E. said...

Thanks for the great post. I have a serger for over a year and still haven't figure out how to use it...shame on me!!!

Stephanie said...

I have this same serger and cannot get the tension set correctly... any suggestions? Thanks

Angi Van Gorp said...

Well I'm glad I'm not the only one intimidated by it. I got it out of the box.....but that's about it lol

Carlyn Holmes said...

Yes, this is my serger, the Singer Professional 5 and it scares me to pieces. I got it as a Christmas gift 2013 and yikes, it's still in the box. This is really good information! Thank you