Sewing Patterns, Pattern Review, Sewing Classes, Sewing Machines and Sewing Machine Reviews!
Platinum Sponsor: Stylish Fabric
Over 20,000 of high quality reorderable fabric

[SIGNUP - FREE Membership & 1 FREE Sewing Lesson ]
[Sewing Classes|Shopping Bag Your Shopping Bag|Login|Help]
Sewing Review and Pattern Reviews Sewing Knowledge Base Sewing Patterns Sewing Classes & Sewing Lessons Sewing Machine & Embroidery Machinery Sewing Message Boards Sewing merchants Blog Help/FAQ About Pattern Review
Enter your e-mail address:




Advanced Search
Tags
New to PR?
Sewing Machines
Compare Sewing Machines
Sewing Machine & Serger Reviews
Embroidery Machines
Sewing Reviews
Sewing Patterns
Review Gallery
Sewing Books
Sewing Supplies
Sewing Websites
Sewing Stores
Sewing Class Reviews
Sewing Expo Reviews
Sewing Tips & Techniques
Sewing Podcasts
NEW!Fabric Glossary
Sewing Review Requests Add a Review Request
Your Account
Edit Profile
My Page
Favorites
Wish List
Pattern Catalog
Notifications
Friends of PR
Join Friends of PR
Find a member
Deal Corner
Photo Album
Calendar
Chat Room
Chat Schedule
Chat Transcripts
Sewing Classifieds
Add a Classified
Sewing Contests
enter contest
contest report
contest gallery
Favorite Links
reviews with comments
merchant gallery
article archive
newsletter archive
Craft Resources
contact info
shipping rates
returns & refunds
testimonials

Platinum Sponsor - Stylish Fabric
Stylish Fabric
You are not logged in. Login here.



Message Board > Beginner's Forum > What is a serger, and do I need one to sew? ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

Please LOGIN or Join PatternReview
Go to Page:
What is a serger, and do I need one to sew?
LaurenLuvSkirts
LaurenLuvSkirts
Advanced Beginner
VA USA
Member since 3/16/13
Posts: 14
Login to reply to this post

Date: 3/18/13 3:52 PM

Hi,

I keep reading on sewing tutorials to serge material. What is a serger? Is serging absolutely neccessary? What can I do in place of serging if I don't have a serger?

------
-Lauren

I'm a teenager who just loves to sew. My favorite is skirts. I have lots of questions so don't get too mad at me hehe.

HanPanda
star
HanPanda
Intermediate
DC USA
Member since 4/27/08
Posts: 658
online now
Login to reply to this post

thumbsup 1 member likes this.
Date: 3/18/13 4:10 PM

Hey Lauren! I JUST got a serger (been sewing for five years) and was having this conversation with my boyfriend last night!
You definitely do not NEED a serger to sew. It's a nice device, and especially depending on what material you're sewing, it can speed up or make your sewing easier. In one motion, a serger sews a seam, finishes an edge, and trims excess fabric. Many Sergers also do rolled hems, gathers, and some will do a cover stitch.

That's probably a little bit of French for someone who is new! I'll try to explain.

When you look inside your RTW (ready to wear) clothing, you'll notice the seams are made with what seems like a million threads. It's usually between three and five, depending on the manufacturer. Two of those threads wrap around the edge of the fabric, which holds the fabric in place and prevents fraying as you wear and wash the piece.

Serged seams also stretch very well, so sewing with knits can be easier.

A rolled hem is a small hem that folds part of the fabric under and encases the whole thing in thread. It is especially used on delicate fabrics that are not traditionally hemmed (folded up and sewn).

There are many things a regular machine can do to make up for not having a serger! You can sew with a stretch straight stitch or a zig zag stitch on stretchy or knit fabrics. You can finish your edges by cutting with a pinking shear (which looks like a zig zag cut like the crazy scissors kids use) which cuts down on the fraying. You can also sew a seam with a straight stitch, and then sew in the seam allowance with a zigzag stitch, which will also prevent fraying.

Some things machines do that a serger cannot do. For example, a regular hem, a normal straight stitch, decorative stitching, application of pockets on a flat piece of fabric (front of a shirt or the back of jeans, for example), attaching bias tape or trim....

I hope this helps!! Let me know if you have other questions <3

------
2014 resolution: keep track of sewn yardage!!
In: 68.5 yards
Sewn: 21 yards

I'll try anything once :)

Please excuse my typos...sometimes it is harder to go back and edit on mobile than it is worth!

j Renee Design
star
j Renee Design
Intermediate
WI USA
Member since 7/26/10
Posts: 507
Login to reply to this post

In reply to LaurenLuvSkirts <<


Date: 3/18/13 4:22 PM

No, absolutely not. I learned to sew at 13, and bought my own sewing machine at 17, but didn't pick up a serger until I was about 25. They make sewing knits easier (but you can still use a sewing machine for that!) and create an easy seam finish, but they are by no means necessary.

For knits, you can just sew using a narrow zig zag (I use a 1.0 width and 2.5 stitch length) and slightly stretch while sewing. If you're just thinking of a serger for seam finishes, there are a ton of them out there - pick up a basic sewing book like Vogue Sewing or Singer Sewing Essentials and there will be a chapter on seam finishes. :)

------
Jess
Sewing, Knitting, Living: http://www.sometimessewist.wordpress.com

2013 - Bought: 181, Used: 96, Stashed: 85
2014 - Carryover: 85, Bought: 22 3/4, Used: 52 1/8, Stashed: 56 5/8

LaurenLuvSkirts
LaurenLuvSkirts
Advanced Beginner
VA USA
Member since 3/16/13
Posts: 14
Login to reply to this post

Date: 3/18/13 4:31 PM

Thanks for your answers. So, I can just use a straight stitch-zigzag combo in place of sergers?

------
-Lauren

I'm a teenager who just loves to sew. My favorite is skirts. I have lots of questions so don't get too mad at me hehe.

HanPanda
star
HanPanda
Intermediate
DC USA
Member since 4/27/08
Posts: 658
online now
Login to reply to this post

Date: 3/18/13 4:47 PM

Yup! You can also cut pattern pieces, zig zag all the edges, and then sew the pieces together. I would highly recommend purchasing a pair of pinking shears too--you can get a decent pair of Fiskers in sale at JoAnns. I found them extremely valuable if you use a lot of fabrics that have a tendency to fray.

------
2014 resolution: keep track of sewn yardage!!
In: 68.5 yards
Sewn: 21 yards

I'll try anything once :)

Please excuse my typos...sometimes it is harder to go back and edit on mobile than it is worth!

JKimes
star
JKimes  Friend of PR
Expert/Couture
TX USA
Member since 11/4/05
Posts: 503

Going to PR Weekend Austin!
Login to reply to this post

thumbsup 1 member likes this.
Date: 3/18/13 4:53 PM

I agree with the other posters--you do not *need* a serger to sew. When I do higher end clothing--bridalwear, lined jackets, Chanel-style jackets, my sergers sit unused.

BUT if you want to do lots of knits, and more ready-to-wear quality faster a serger will make things easier and faster.

I say get up to speed on your 'regular' machine and figure out what you enjoy sewing. Then decide if you need a serger, too.

Juliette

------
Juliette near Austin, TX
Bernina 830LE
Bernina 350PE
Babylock Evolution
ElnaPro 905DCX

PattiAnnJ
star
PattiAnnJ
Advanced
OH USA
Member since 12/3/06
Posts: 6861
Login to reply to this post

thumbsup 2 members like this.
Date: 3/18/13 5:33 PM

I doubt if many serger owners would be willing to give up their serger.....not unless it is a really crappy model.

There are many tutorials that show how to use a serger as well as how to use a sewing machine.

Do it your way, then visit a sewing machine dealer and let them show you how to use a serger.

You may decide a serger is faster than machine sewing a seam and then overcasting/zig-zagging the raw edges.

BTW, I think it was the Japanese who came up with the home serger and understanding Japanese, or French is not a prerequisite for using a serger.


-- Edited on 3/18/13 5:54 PM --

------
I dont give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think its Hell. Harry Truman

"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

B

B
Intermediate
MN USA
Member since 12/5/03
Posts: 670
online now
Login to reply to this post

thumbsup 4 members like this.
Date: 3/19/13 1:41 AM

I have heard it said that you don't need a microwave to cook, either. That doesn't mean I would care to go back to no microwave.

I sewed for decades without a serger or a computerized sewing machine and was able to make almost anything I chose to make. But I do love to use a serger and now would find it hard to do without it.

I made the dress below my name with a treadle back in the day. There was no zig-zag either, but it turned out fine. There were no unfinished edges inside the dress, either!
-- Edited on 3/19/13 1:45 AM --

------
Janome serger 634D, Brother PC6000, Singer 500A, Kenmore Mini-Ultra, vintage Bernina 600, White Rotary treadle, New Homestead A VS treadle

EleanorSews
star
EleanorSews  Friend of PR
Advanced
MI USA
Member since 7/26/07
Posts: 4333
Board Moderator
online now
Login to reply to this post

thumbsup 2 members like this.
Date: 3/19/13 8:10 AM

I agree with JKimes about getting up to speed on your sewing machine and figuring out what you want to sew before you look at a serger. As she pointed out, different types of items have different needs. I'm making a pure silk crepe de chine slip dress for a friend and there is more hand work on the finishing and the seams are pinked just to avoid the "bulk" of serger seam finishes on such delicate fabric.

Also, in HanPanda's post, it seems thread as if a serger is the only way to do a rolled hem on a machine. Not so. I own a 30+ yr old Pfaff plus my mom's Singer and both have a foot for making a rolled hem on the sewing machine. Ad that brings me to another point. Get to know your sewing machine well and get to know what stitches it will make and how to use them. Get to know what sewing machine feet you have and how to use them. You will be surprised what you can do.

------
"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." Anais Nin

"Attitude is the difference between an adventure and an ordeal." unknown

Miss Fairchild
starstarstarstar
Miss Fairchild  Friend of PR
Advanced
USA
Member since 8/24/02
Posts: 7936
Login to reply to this post

In reply to LaurenLuvSkirts <<
thumbsup 1 member likes this.


Date: 3/19/13 8:21 AM

After many years of sewing, over 50, I finally broke down and bought a serger and only because I wanted to learn what the hulaboo was about. Mind you, had I not had this "revelation", I'd still be sergerless. And no, I don't find one "absolutely necessary". However, one of my sewing machines takes forever to do an overedge stitch to finish seams and I thought the serger would help with that, which it does. And I wanted a professional finish on seam allowances because I was doing work for an alterations shop.

But there is a strong learning curve for a serger--thread breakage, needle breakage, tension adjustments (a big one!)-- and if you're new to sewing, I'd suggest, like the others, to get to know your sewing machine first. Buy several feet and learn how they work. A zipper foot has many uses besides just installing zippers. There is a book called Encyclopedia of Sewing Machine Techniques that has many techniques for using sewing machine feet. Also, learn how finish seams such as flat fell, French, Hong Kong, etc. You don't need a serger to do these.

------
"Play the cards you are dealt, but choose who is sitting at the table"..AARP magazine

SEE MY ETSY SHOP HERE: http://www.etsy.com/shop/AuntMaymesAttic
My blog: http://auntmaymesattic.wordpress.com/

Go to Page:
Please LOGIN or Join PatternReview
printable version Printable Version

* Advertising and soliciting is strictly prohibited on PatternReview.com. If you find a post which is not in agreement with our Terms and Conditions, please click on the Report Post button to report it. Beginner's Forum >> What is a serger, and do I need one to sew?

Merchants on PR
Victoria Jones Collection
Timeless Hawaiian styles
Web site
So Vintage Patterns
Thank You for Joining!
Deals!
Fitz Like a Glove Ironing Board Cover
Made In Australia
Deals!
SewBaby
Unique Sewing Patterns
Deals!
Budo Bear Designs
Asian Designs
Web site

Copyright © 2014 PatternReview.com® , OSATech, Inc. All rights reserved.
Conditions of Use | Posting Guidelines | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Online Sewing Classes
Create a Jacket Muslin
Fee: $29.00
(Regular $49.00)
Create a Jacket Muslin

Online Sewing Classes
Fit the Tee to a T
Fee: $29.00
(Regular $49.00)
Fit the Tee to a T

Burda 9691 Dress
photo
Review by inertia on 10/6/10
Read Review

Kwik Sew 3580 Pattern
Kwik Sew 3580 Pattern

Details
Price: $11.49
Add to Bag Add to Bag

Butterick 5957 Pattern ( Size 6-8-10-12-14 )
Butterick 5957 Pattern ( Size 6-8-10-12-14 )

Details
Price: $17.95
Add to Bag Add to Bag

New Look 6899
photo
Review by SueT on 7/28/12
Read Review

Cake Patterns Bonny Knit Sailor Top Digital Pattern
Cake Patterns Bonny Knit Sailor Top Digital Pattern

Details
Price: $8.00
Add to Bag Add to Bag

Christine Jonson Patterns Body Shaper Digital Pattern
Christine Jonson Patterns Body Shaper Digital Pattern

Details
Price: $12.50
Add to Bag Add to Bag

You Sew Girl City Bag Pattern
You Sew Girl City Bag Pattern

Details
Price: $19.95
Add to Bag Add to Bag

Lily Pocket Purse
Lily Pocket Purse

Details
Price: $12.00
Add to Bag Add to Bag

Subscribe to PR Message Board Feed Subscribe to the PR Message Board Feed Add to My Yahoo! Subscribe at NewsGator Online Subscribe at Bloglines Add to MyMSN