Can A Serger Be Used As A Regular Sewing Machine

A serger, also known as an overlock machine, is a specialized tool used to finish seams and bind hems. It is not commonly used in the average home or in most applications that a traditional sewing machine could be used for. But can a serger be used as a regular sewing machine? The answer is yes, but it requires some additional know-how and a more technical approach in order to operate the machine effectively. This article will provide an overview of what a serger can be used for and how to properly operate it.

Sergers are known for their ability to create professionally finished seams and for their speed. They use threads that are passed through two or more loopers, creating a neat, strong seam quickly and easily. Sergers are typically used for more complex projects when a perfectly finished seam is needed, such as hemming pants or making decorative ruffles. Unlike a traditional sewing machine, a serger can sew many layers of fabric simultaneously.

When using a serger to sew a simple straight stitch, then the tension needs to be adjusted accordingly. This can be a bit tricky, as changing the tension of the threads can affect the stitching of the seam. It is important to remember that a serger is not a traditional sewing machine, so the same rules don’t apply. Additionally, a serger is not capable of making a button hole or a zigzag stitch, so another machine will be needed to complete those tasks.

In order to use a serger as a regular sewing machine, it is important to understand all of the different parts and how to properly adjust the tension and speed of the machine. It is also important to practice with practice material in order to become familiar with how the machine works and the different stitch options. With patience, practice, and the right technique, a serger can be used as a regular sewing machine.

Variety of Stitches

The variety of stitches that are available with a serger are one of the biggest advantages of the machine. In addition to basic stitching, the serger can also be used for variations of the seam, including overcasting, which prevents fabric fraying. This is particularly useful when hemming certain types of fabric that are prone to fraying, such as linen or cotton.

A serger can also be used to make bias binding, which can be used to make a variety of clothing such as shirts and skirts. And while a traditional sewing machine can be used to make these types of garments, the serger’s stitches will create a better quality and finish.

Serger Finishing

Another great advantage of using a serger to finish a project is the wide range of finishes that can be achieved, including flatlocked seams. Flatlocked seams are ideal for stretchy fabrics such as knitwear, and they provide more flexibility and comfort than a regular seam. In addition, flatlocked seams are more durable and will last far longer than a single chain stitch.

The speed with which a serger can complete a project is also a great advantage. A serger can stitch several layers of fabric in a fraction of the time it would take a traditional sewing machine. This allows those who are short on time to complete complex projects in a timely manner, while also getting a high-quality finished product.

Serger Maintenance

It is important to take proper care of a serger in order to keep it working properly. A serger must be cleaned and oiled on a regular basis in order to ensure that the tension discs are running smoothly and the blades are producing a clean cut. It is also important to pay attention to the blade, making sure to replace the blade when it becomes dull in order to keep the machine running effectively.

Most sergers require regular maintenance, such as cleaning and replacing worn out parts. This includes replacing the loopers, blades, needles, and thread. Additionally, it is important to know how to troubleshoot a serger, as the machine can be a bit finicky and can have problems if it is not properly cared for.

Knowledge and Experience

In order to use a serger as a regular sewing machine, an experienced sewist must have an understanding of the components and settings of the machine, as well as a basic understanding of the mechanics of how a serger works. It is important to note that any machine, regardless of the complexity of the project, can be dangerous if not used properly. It is highly recommended to take a sewing class before attempting any complex sewing projects, especially when using a serger.

Those with a bit of knowledge will find that using a serger as a regular sewing machine is an attractive option for more advanced projects. The ability to quickly and effectively complete a variety of stitches makes the serger a valuable tool for anyone who is serious about sewing.

Pros and Cons

When it comes to deciding whether to use a serger as a regular sewing machine, it is important to consider the pros and cons. While a serger can be a great tool for sewing difficult fabrics, adding decorative elements, and creating professional-looking garments, it is also a complex machine that can be difficult to use. Those who are just starting out may find that a regular sewing machine is easier, while those with more experience may find a serger is more beneficial.

In terms of cost, a serger typically costs more than a regular sewing machine and will also require more maintenance. Despite the additional cost, most experienced sewers find that a serger is worth the investment for the faster results and more durable stitches. Additionally, sergers tend to last longer than regular sewing machines, so when properly maintained, they can last for years.


In conclusion, a serger can be used as a regular sewing machine and is a great tool for tackling complex projects and creating professional-looking seams. However, it is important to take the time to understand the machine and practice with it, as it can be tricky if not used properly. Additionally, it is important to consider the pros and cons before deciding to invest in a serger or use a regular sewing machine.

Geoffrey Kirby is an experienced author and sewist who has been creating sewn projects for over 20 years. He has a passion for teaching beginners and inspiring more advanced sewists both online and through his writings. Outside of writing about sewing, Geoffrey loves to explore new techniques and styles of sewing that incorporate upcycling fabric remnants into sweet items with personality.

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