How To Serge With Sewing Machine


Serging is a specialized sewing technique used to cleanly finish raw fabric edges. It reinforces seams and prevents unraveling, wear and tear so your clothes last longer. To create a serged seam, you’ll need to use a serger sewing machine which works quickly and has several moving parts. Before you start serging, it’s important to select the correct type of thread for your project and set it up correctly.
The most common type of thread used for serging is polyester thread. Polyester has a high tensile strength and is strong and stretchy. It’s also resistant to most chemicals, fading, and mildew. It doesn’t unravel easily and holds up to frequent washing and drying. For most projects, you’ll want to use a 40 weight polyester thread. This thread is strong enough to hold up to several serging passes without breaking.
When selecting thread, it’s important to consider the colour and weight of the fabric you’re working with. For example, if you’re serging a lightweight fabric, then you’ll want to use a lightweight thread. You should also opt for a thread colour that matches the fabric. When setting up your machine, be sure to use the correct tension settings and needle size. The tension setting determines how tightly the thread is wrapped around the fabric and the needle size affects the needle’s grip on the thread.

Needle and Plate Setup

Once you’ve chosen your thread, it’s time to set up your machine. Start by preparing the machine’s needle and plate. The needle is what creates the stitch; it’s also responsible for cutting the thread. The plate holds the needle and supplies the tension. To serge with a sewing machine, you will need a special serger needle and plate. These needles and plates are designed to work in tandem with serger threads to create the correct stitching tension and cut.
To set up the needle and plate, insert the needle into the holder, then attach the plate. Be sure to use the tension settings suggested for the needle and plate you’re using. It’s also important to adjust the needle position to ensure that it’s in the correct position for creating the serged seam.

Serger Threading

Once the needle and plate are in place, it’s time to thread the serger. Start by winding the thread onto the spool and threading it through the holes in the plate. Next, thread the thread through the loopers and the needle. Finally, adjust the tension settings to ensure that the thread is not too loose or too tight. When you’re done, you’re ready to start serging!

Serging Technique

Now that your machine is set up, it’s time to start serging. When serging with a sewing machine, start by positioning the fabric so that the edge you wish to finish is just under the plate. Then, hold the fabric taut and begin serging. Guide the fabric so that it moves smoothly through the machine; keep the speed of the stitching steady. This will ensure even stitches and a neat, consistent edge.
When you’ve finished serging, it’s important to remove the fabric from the machine without pulling on the thread. If you do this, it may cause the thread to break or become tangled. Instead, use scissors to cut the thread, then pull the fabric through the machine.

Caring for the Machine

Serging with a sewing machine requires regular maintenance to ensure the machine works correctly and produces clean seams. It’s important to regularly check the thread for knots or tangles and clean the machine. You may also need to adjust the tension settings or change the needle or plate from time to time.

Serger Accessories

In addition to a serger machine, you may need to purchase a few additional accessories to help you when serging. These may include replacement needles and thread, fabric scissors, and tweezers. You may also want to invest in a serger foot pedal, which allows you to control the speed of the machine and adjust the tension settings.

Tips and Tricks

When serging, it’s important to remember a few tips and tricks. For example, if a thread has knotted or become tangled, use tweezers to loosen it, then use scissors to cut the thread. Also, it’s important to start with a new needle and plate when serging delicate fabrics. Finally, be sure to check the tension settings before you start serging and adjust them as needed.

Beginners Guide

Serging with a sewing machine can seem intimidating at first, but it’s easy to learn with practice. Before you start, be sure to read the manual for your machine to understand the parts and settings. Then, select the correct type of thread for the project and set up the machine. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to begin serging.
Position the fabric under the plate and hold it taut. Be sure to guide the fabric through the machine, keep the speed steady, and adjust the tension settings as needed. Once you’ve finished, cut the thread and remove the fabric from the machine. Finally, remember to regularly check the thread and machine, and replace parts as needed. With a bit of practice, you’ll be serging like a pro in no time.

Serger Feet

Serger feet are versatile sewing tools that can be used to finish raw fabric edges, hem garments, create decorative finishes, attach lace and elastic, and more. There are two types of serger feet: standard serger feet and specialty feet. Standard serger feet include a rolled hem foot, a piping foot, and a blind hem foot. Specialty feet include a narrow hem foot, a blanket foot, and a gathering foot.
When selecting a serger foot, be sure to consider the type of fabric you’re working with and the look you’re trying to achieve. For example, a rolled hem foot produces a narrow, neat edge, while a blind hem foot has the ability to hide stitches. A gathering foot is perfect for adding ruffles or shirring, and a narrow hem foot can be used for hems or decorative edges.
Finally, be sure to check the manual for your machine to ensure that the foot you’re using is compatible. Once you’ve selected the appropriate foot, it’s time to start serging!

Fabric Trims

In addition to using a serger, you can also add fabric trims to raw fabric edges for an extra decorative touch. Fabric trims range from lace and ribbon to tassels and fringe. They come in a variety of colours, textures, and designs, and can be used to enhance almost any project.
When selecting fabric trims, be sure to consider the look and feel of the fabric you’re working with. Select trims that complement the fabric’s colour, design, and weight. Additionally, check the trim for quality and durability; it should be strong enough to withstand multiple washes and wear and tear. Finally, test the trim on a piece of scrap fabric before attaching it to the main project.

Attaching Trims

Once you’ve selected the appropriate fabric trim, it’s time to attach it. When attaching trims to raw fabric edges, you have several options. You can sew-on the trim with a regular sewing machine (this is the most secure option and produces a professional finish), use fabric glue (this is the quickest option and works best with lightweight fabrics), or use a combination of both. Whichever method you choose, be sure to attach the trim to the wrong side of the fabric and secure it in place with a few stitches.
When attaching trims, it’s important to be careful not to stretch the fabric or trim. To prevent this, use hand-sewing needles with large eyes or clear thread. A bonus tip is to sew the trim in place with a losing and then knot it on the wrong side of the fabric for extra security.


Serging with a sewing machine is a quick and easy way to finish raw fabric edges. To get started, select the right type of thread, prepare the machine’s needle and plate, and thread the serger. Once you’ve done this, begin serging, be sure to regularly check the thread and machine, and replace parts as needed. Additionally, you can add extra decorative touches to raw edges with fabric trims; simply select a trim that complements the fabric and attach it with a combination of sewing and fabric glue. By following these steps, you’ll be able to create professional-looking seams with ease!

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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