If you are new to the sewing world, the total volume of sewing machines on the market might appear to be mind-boggling.
Even seasoned sewers frequently delay trying out specialized machines, given the fact that they find the wide variety of models confounding.
It is very likely that you would want to know about the difference between these machines if you are considering buying a serger vs a sewing machine.
A serger is a specialized kind of sewing machine with special capabilities.
The fact that a serger specializes in concurrently sewing a seam, cutting off the seam allowance, and enclosing the raw edge simultaneously is the main difference between a serger and a sewing machine.
So, in this guide on “Serger vs Sewing Machine,” you will learn about the serger and also how it is different from a regular sewing machine.
What is a Serger?
Sergers are not sewing machines, but we can say that they are a kind of specialty sewing machine.
A serger is commonly referred to as an overlocker. It employs an overlock stitch, which is not found on sewing machines.
To produce this overlock stitch and an expert-level binding for fabric, it uses three or more thread sources.
What is a Sewing Machine?
A sewing machine, particularly modern machines, is a lockstitch machine, meaning a top-thread and bottom-thread loop and lock to produce a series of secure stitches.
These machines are able to perform at least the very basic straight, chain, and zig-zag stitches.
Also, a lot of sewing machines possess some fancy or design-focused stitch options too.
Serger vs Sewing Machine: What’s the Difference?
In a sense, compared to most sewing machines, sergers possess more specialized and limited capabilities.
Serger vs Sewing Machine: Construction
So many leading sewing machine brands also produce and sell sergers.
Brother, Janome, and Singer models are available at any sewing store, on Amazon, or on the manufacturer’s website.
Needless to say, just like sewing machines, some sergers possess more bells and whistles compared to others.
Serger vs Sewing Machine: Number of Threads
I’m sure you’re aware of this already. However, a key difference between these machines is the number of threads they use.
For sewing machines, they only use a spool of thread and one bobbin to produce stitches, except if you are using a double needle, which makes use of only two spools of thread.
Sergers extract from two to five cones of thread at the same time to produce finished seams that will not wear easily.
Serger vs Sewing Machine: Price
Sergers and sewing machines have quite similar price ranges. You can buy a new, basic serger for around $300, but in the case of extremely advanced models, that would be around $2,000.
Similarly, good domestic machines normally sell for about $200 to $300.
However, there are expensive sewing machines programmed with thousands of different stitches, and you can purchase them for a couple of thousand dollars.
Certainly, costly sewing machines are just computerized embroidery machines.
Serger vs Sewing Machine: Performance: Stitches per Minute
Every sewing machine and serger has a bit different stitch speed.
Sergers, on the other hand, typically produce far more stitches per minute compared to the average sewing machine.
Most sewing machines stitch between 1000 and 1500 stitches per minute. Whereas, the average for sergers is around 1300 to 2200 stitches per minute.
Serger vs. Sewing Machine: Cutting Knife
There are some features that are present in sergers but absent in average sewing machines. Features like a cutting tool to trim the seam allowance.
This produces a perfect finish, and at the same time, it sews the seam. On a regular machine, you can use a zigzag stitch to finish a seam.
However, the fact is that you will have to complete this process in stages. So, first, sew the seam.
Then, in the next step, which is the second step, you are to remove the fabric from the machine and trim the seam allowance.
And, lastly, set your machine to a zigzag stitch to finish the seam. However, in the case of sergers, they can do all of this in one go, thanks to the fact that they have a cutting tool.
Can A Serger Be Used As A Regular Sewing Machine?
Generally, the short and straightforward answer to this question is no. A serger cannot be used as a regular machine.
And this is so due to the fact that sergers possess two needles, so you cannot rotate your fabric.
Sergers cannot sew in reverse. They can only sew a few types of stitches. Meanwhile, a sewing machine can sew many things.
They also have the likelihood of having a higher learning curve, particularly for threading the machine.
However, it is quite possible on many sergers to remove the blades and sew without trimming your fabric.
And, so, sergers do not have space on the right side of the needles to sew into the center of the fabric, given the fact that they are designed to sew right along the edge of your material.
Can A Sewing Machine Be Used As A Serger?
You can sew overlock stitches that cover the edge of your fabric with your sewing machine, even though a sewing machine does not possess blades to trim your fabric.
These stitches are called “overcasting stitches.” Some common overcasting stitches include the “Zig Zag Stitch” and the “Three Point Zig Zag Stitch,” as well as many other types of general overcasting stitches.
Overcasting stitches are service stitches that connect seams and finish raw edges simultaneously.
However, they need to be sewn on material that is already trimmed neatly and straight.
These stitches are perfect for stretchy materials given the fact that they stretch with the fabric.
For different overcasting stitches, a specialty foot is required.
Can You Make Clothes With Just A Serger?
The real, basic answer to the above question is no. You cannot make clothes with just a serger, even though you might theoretically be able to find a way to make whole garments with just a serger.
If you intend to buy only one machine, you should start with a regular sewing machine.
The Bottom Line
The machine you will use is largely determined by the type of fabric you are using.
The most important factor to consider when comparing sergers and sewing machines is that both machines possess different capabilities.
And this is thanks to the fact that sergers and sewing machines are manufactured differently.
Simply put, they are not substitutable. A serger can never substitute all the functions of a sewing machine.
A serger is your best bet if you want fast, neat, and factory-precise seams on your garments.
However, on the other hand, some sewing machines have an overlock function to cover the fabric edge.
But you should know that it will never appear as professional as a seam made with a serger.
For sewing stretchy or knitted fabrics, such as Merino wool, go for sergers as they are the better option, or for fabrics that are susceptible to wrinkling, such as silk, lace, and velvet.
So, that being said, this concludes this guide on the comparison between Serger vs Sewing Machine.