How to Buy a Serger

A serger is a specialized sewing machine that is sometimes referred to as an overlock machine. The seam produced by a serger is more refined and durable than what a regular sewing machine can do. Sergers sew quickly, and are especially useful on knit fabrics. The serger does not replace a sewing machine. Someone who sews a lot will need both, as only a standard sewing machine can do details such as zippers and topstitches. Buy a serger that will complement a sewing machine, and meet any additional sewing needs.


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    Determine if you need a serger. Not everyone who sews needs one. If you spend a lot of time sewing knits and stretch fabrics, a serger is useful because of the extra security it gives stitches. If items are being sewed to sell, a serger can provide a more professional look and finish. Purchase a serger if you do a lot of craft sewing as well.
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    Choose a thread capability. Most sergers have 3-thread, 4-thread or 5-thread capability. If value is a priority, 3-thread sergers are usually the cheapest. A 5-thread model provides automatic jet stream threading, and is often more expensive. An average 4-thread serger is a good option for most purposes.
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    Consider additional features. Sergers are available with a variety of bells and whistles. They can include a differential feed, which adjusts the way fabrics feed under the needle, needle threaders, various tension adjustment settings, and specialty feet that can embellish decorations such as attaching lace or beads.
    • Select a power method. Sergers can be mechanical, computerized or electric.
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    Go shopping. Sergers can be purchased online, but it is a good idea to look at them and try them out in person. They can be purchased at specialty sewing machine stores, craft stores, hardware stores and department stores. Ask a salesperson for a demonstration on how different sergers work. Get an idea of what is available, and how several different models work.
    • Test serger models on fabric, if possible. Bring different kinds of fabrics with you to the store to see how the serger works with them.
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    Ask about pricing. Serger prices range from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars. Inquire about sales and warranties, as well as return policies and payment plans. Be sure to find out what the policy is when repairs or replacements are needed. Some stores will be able to make necessary repairs on-site, and others will need to send the machine out to a specialist if it needs to be fixed.


  • Think about buying a used or reconditioned serger. These are usually kept in excellent condition, and the price will be lower.
  • Some sergers come with instructional DVDs or videos. Watch them and read the instruction booklet before using a new serger. Sometimes classes are available at fabric and craft stores too.

Things You'll Need

  • Sample fabrics

Article Info

Categories: Sewing