A serger may look similar to a regular sewing machine but it’s a whole different beast. When clothes are professionally made, they are made with a serger. It creates the wide seam that you see inside of your clothes.
It’s faster and can handle a variety of material that you may struggle with when using a regular sewing machine. Most sewing machine manufacturers make sergers as well. There are a lot of brands and it can seem overwhelming with all the choices.
This article will focus on the Juki serger and how you can use it.
What is a Serger?
It’s also known as an Overlock Machine. It’s a machine that helps with sewing, it can bind fabric together with an overlock stitch. The overlock stitch is created with 3 or 4 different threads.
It also has pressure foot tension control, which will let you have more pressure than if you were sewing something really thick. They can make different types of stitches including the cover stitch, flat lock, rolled hem, chain stitch, and different decorative stitches.
Different Types of Sergers
Sergers come in 3 different types, 2 to 4 thread, 3 to 4 thread, and 5 thread. The advantage of the extra threads are what give you wider seams, more stretch in the fabric, and more strength and durability in your finished project.
These thread capabilities make it easy to work with knits and stretchy materials, which can be hard with a regular sewing machine.
2 to 4 thread
In the 2 to 4 thread machine, 2 threads are on the straight stitch and 2 are on the overcast stitch.
3 to 4 thread
In the 3 to 4 thread serger, it gives you an even wider and stronger seam because it rolls the fabric edges to the underside and catches them in the bottom thread. This is the most used type of serger.
The 5 thread serger uses 3 threads on the overcast and 2 on the straight stitch.
Difference Between a Sewing Machine and a Serger
A serger and a sewing machine tend to complement each other. They are similar, but there are some differences.
First of all, a serger is not the same machine as a sewing machine.
The main difference between the 2 is that while the serger is sewing or binding the fabric together, it also cuts the fabric too. The blade that cuts the fabric sits right before the needle that goes into the fabric.
A typical sewing machine requires you to cut your project first, then sew. A common serger uses 3 or 4 threads. These are used to create the locked stitch. On a typical sewing machine, you usually use 1 thread, or 2 if you are using a double needle.
A serger is a lot faster than a typical sewing machine. Though, a sewing machine’s neck is longer than a serger.
A fun fact about sergers is that you can only serge on one side of the needles, the left side. On a sewing machine on the other hand, you can turn your fabric and either sew it on the left side of the fabric, or you can squeeze it on the right side of the needles.
This can be a key difference depending on the project you are working on.
How to Use a Juki Serger
All sergers are made similar, but a Juki serger may have more settings or have them in a different place. Juki sergers are also made to last longer according to the company.
Learn Your Settings
First of all, you need to learn your settings. A typical serger will have dials on the top of your machine. This is the tension setting for your thread. These dials include left needle, right needle, upper looper, and lower looper.
The needle setting is for each needle while the looper setting is for the thread that goes around the edge of the material and loop the stitches together.
Each machine will have its own standard settings, so check your manual to find out what yours have. Depending on the fabric you are using, you may need to increase or decrease the settings.
There is a little knob on the top, it’s the pressure foot tension. If you plan on sewing very thin fabric, you want more pressure than if you are sewing something really thick. To adjust it, you just need to turn it clockwise for more pressure or counterclockwise for less.
There are other settings that are on the left of the machine. These adjust the stitch width and length, turn the knife on or off, and adjust whether the feed dogs move together or not.
The stitch width and length are obvious, but there may be times when you want to turn off the knife. This will keep you from cutting into your fabric where you don’t want to.
The differential feed gathers your fabric.
Threading Your Juki Serger
It can seem a little complicated at first, since there are so many places that you can thread. There are usually color coded pictures to remind you which thread goes where to make things easier.
Some people recommend adding numbers to your serger, that way you can remember what order to thread the machine in. The order is upper looper, lower looper, right needle, left needle.
Another helpful tip is to use tweezers to get the thread through. It works with all angles, even the weird ones.
You should also rethread it completely if your thread stops chaining off or isn’t stitching right.
When sewing on a regular machine you never want to keep sewing once you get to the end of your fabric as this would cause a big problem.
It’s different with a serger. You want to continue sewing until you have a chain of stitches off the end of your fabric. These chains do need to be secured so the stitches don’t come unraveled.
One option is to thread them into an upholstery needle and tuck the tail back into your stitches. Another is to stitch to the end of the fabric, lift your presser foot, flip the fabric around, and sew back over your stitches a couple of inches. Do this before guiding your stitches back off the fabric and making a 2 or 3 inch chain.
Why You Want Use a Serger
Some people find them easier to use than sewing machines. They are quicker, easier, and they eliminate unnecessary work that a sewing machine can’t take care of.
A serger can be especially helpful when hemming pants. Instead of having to cut the bottom of the pants yourself and zigzag them to prevent the fabric fraying, the serger can do it all.
There will also be less rippling and puckering on fabrics that are hard to sew with regular machines. Though this isn’t to say that a sewing machine won’t be a helpful tool.
- Lay in tension
- Automatic lower looper threader
- Adjustable differential feed
- Adjustable calibrated knife
- Built in rolled hem
Why You Should Use a Juki Serger
Juki is a well-established brand for quality machines. Many people have used and praised their machines. According to reviews on Amazon, people like using a Juki serger because it runs smooth and quiet.
It’s also very fast, so fast that people were surprised at how quickly they were able to get through projects.
People enjoy how they are constructed and how they are easy to use. Most of them have been listed as the best sergers for beginners because they are very user friendly.
Now, You Are Prepared
Now that you know all about what a serger machine is and how they work, you are all set to use one. While they seem complicated at first, if you use this article as a guide, you will be ready to take it on.
If you still are struggling, there are plenty of YouTube videos that show how to use them and you can see and listen at the same time.
As for what kind of serger you should use, it’s best to go with a Juki Serger. You should especially use them if you are a beginner. They are well known to be the best for beginners because they are easy to use and very user friendly.
Many people that have used a Juki serger have had positive things to say about them. Many people like that it’s quiet when other sergers are loud. It’s smooth and still fast. People are able to plow through a pile of projects within hours.
Though if you are still unsure, make sure you do you research. Look at purchasing sites and read the reviews. Customers don’t hold back on why or why not they like their purchase. They also break down their reasons in easy to understand language.
There are many sewers and quilters out there that have blogs that review machines, give design ideas, and anything else that involves sewing and serging. Once you are ready, you and your serger will have a long relationship and make a lot of projects together.