Sewing machine vs Serger – do you know difference between a sewing machine and a serger? Do you know what a serger machine is and what serging is? In this post, you will learn to tell the difference between a serger and a sewing machine. You will know which is better a sewing machine or a serger. You will be able to decide if you need a serger or a sewing machine. Keep reading to learn all about sergers and sewing machines.
What does a serger do?
So, what is a serger? A serger is a type of machine that specializes in finishing the edges of fabric. Finishing the edges with a serger is called serging. Serging protects the edges of your fabric so that they do not come unraveled. If the edges of your fabric are left unfinished, general wear and tear would slowly unravel most fabrics to the seam. This seam would become unstable and eventually come apart. This would ruin your hard work sewing. For this reason, finishing the edges of the fabric on your projects is very important.
Sergers are often called overlock machines. This is because sergers can do a type of stitch called the overlock stitch.. Sergers work by encasing the edges of your fabric in multiple strands of thread. Sergers can have anywhere from two to five or more different spools of threads that they are using simultaneously. As the serger encases the edge of your fabric, it will also be slightly trimming the edge. This trimming allows the edge to be fully encased in the thread and gives a more professional appearance to your work.
Sergers can use many different types of stitches. These stitches differ in what type of fabric they are good for. If you are sewing stretchy fabric and you want to retain the stretch, you definitely want to use a serger to finish the fabric edges. Sergers also sew extremely fast. Some sergers can sew as many as 1700 stitches per minute!
Sergers are very dedicated to one task – finishing the edges of fabric. They are extremely good at this one task. While you can use a serger to sew pieces of fabric together, it is not nearly as effective as a sewing machine at this.
What does a sewing machine do?
Sewing machines are machines specialized in sewing fabric. This can be as simple as regular sewing where you join two pieces of fabric together, or much more complex computerized embroidery machines. A basic sewing machine is great for sewing two pieces of fabric together. It can also be used to sew button holes, attach zippers, or encase edges of fabric with a zig-zag stitch. Depending on the presser foot you use, you can even quilt and do some limited free motion embroidery with a basic sewing machine. Basic sewing machines are much more versatile than a serger.
Basic sewing machines use two to three spools of thread at a time. The most common setup involves two spools of thread. There is one spool on top of the machine that runs through the sewing needle, then another spool under the machine in the bobbin. These two pieces of thread are wrapped together as you sew. When a double needle is used on a sewing machine, you would add another spool of thread on top of the machine to go through the second needle.
Sewing machine have attachments called presser feet that allow them to perform many functions. Some basic presser feet include the zigzag foot, for doing a zig zag stitch, a zipper foot for sewing in zippers, and a button hole foot for sewing button holes. There are literally a ton of different presser feet available for use with sewing machines.
A regular sewing machine can make many different stitches. With presser feet, they are even more versatile. Sewing machines can finish the edges of fabric (although not as well as a serger), sew pieces of fabric together, and decorate fabric.
What is the difference between a serger and a sewing machine?
The big difference between sewing machine and serger can be summarized as this. Sergers are machines dedicated to finishing the cut edges of fabric. Sewing machines are more general machines that can sew fabric, finish cut edges, quilt, and embroider. While you can use a serger for sewing pieces of fabric together, you have to use special stitches for serger sewing and some sergers cannot sew fabric together. Serger machines use anywhere from three to eight spools of thread, sewing machines usually use one and max out at two spools of thread. Serger machines often cut the fabric to encase the edges as they sew, sewing machines don’t cut the fabric. Serger machines sew significantly faster than sewing machines, often double the stitches per minute of a sewing machine.
|Serger Machine||Sewing Machine|
|Dedicated to protecting and finishing the edges of cut fabric.||General machine that can sew fabric together, protect fabric edges, embroider, quilt, and more.|
|Uses anywhere from three to eight spools of thread, called cones.||Normally uses one spool of thread but can use up to two.|
|Can cut the fabric as it encases the edges.||Does not trim the fabric as it sews.|
|On average sews 1300 to 1500 stitches per minute.||On average sews 300 to 800 stitches per minute.|
Which is better, serger or sewing machine?
So which is better, serger vs sewing machine? Sergers and sewing machines are two different machines. Trying to choose which one is better is like trying to compare apples and oranges. Sewing machines are great jack of all trades machines. They can do sewing, they can do quilting, they can do embroidery, and they can do edge finishing with the right setup. Sergers, or overlock machines, are dedicated to finishing the edges of fabric. They give a very polished look when they are used, but they are not needed to be successful at sewing projects. Now, if you are comparing sewing machines to sergers strictly in regards to which finishes fabric edges better, then a serger will win that comparison hands down. Sergers are better than sewing machines at finishing the edges of fabric. Sewing machines have more utility than sergers.
Here’s a great video that shows the differences with a serger vs sewing machine.
Do I really need a serger?
No, you do not need a serger to sew many beautiful projects. Sergers are great tools to have, but they are not a need. Sewing machines can finish the edges of fabric with a zigzag stitch. There are also many different stitch types that you can do that protect the cut edges of fabric as you sew. French seams would be a great example of this.
That said, if you plan on sewing stretchy materials like cotton knits or spandex, you should get a serger. Sewing machines cannot finish the edges of stretchy materials in a way that allows the material to retain it’s stretch. Zigzag and overcast stitches are non-stretchy. So if you used one to protect the edges of your fabric, that edge would become non-stretchy. This would defeat the purpose of using a stretchy material if all of your edges didn’t stretch. You would end up with very distinct lines in your project when it was used, or the seams would pop.
Should I get a serger or a sewing machine?
So, should you get a serger or a sewing machine? It depends on what you are trying to do.
You should get a sewing machine if…
If you are primarily looking to sew fabric together, you want to get a sewing machine. If you are interested in quilting then you should get a sewing machine. If you want to make your own clothes, and you do not already have a sewing machine, you should get a sewing machine.
In general, if you do not already have a sewing machine and you are debating between a sewing machine and an overlock machine, you should get a sewing machine.
You should get a serger if…
If you already have a sewing machine that works quite satisfactory, you should get a serger. Sewing machines are great for sewing. They can even finish the edges of fabric. The edges are not quite as polished as the edges finished by an overlock machine though. So if you already have a sewing machine and are debating if you should get a new sewing machine or a serger, you should get a serger.
In this post, you learned the difference between sewing machines and sergers. You learned that sergers are dedicated machines for serging – or finishing the edges of fabric. Sewing machines are multi function machines that can finish edges, sew fabric together, quilt, embroider, and more. You learned that unless you are only looking for a machine to finish the edges of your fabric, you would probably be better suited with a sewing machine. And you learned which is better serger vs sewing machine.