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Sergers are special sewing machines that sew a seam, trim, and finish its raw edge in one operation. Ideal for working with regular and stretchable fabrics, sergers can be expensive based on their number and type of features. Before purchasing one, decide what kinds of sewing you will do so you buy the serger that will fit your current and future needs.

Some serger features to consider:

  • The number of threads used. The basic serger stitch uses 3 threads but sergers are available with up to 8 or 10 threads. The more threads used, the greater the kinds of stitching can be done but more expensive the serger will be.
  • Ease of threading. Sergers can sometimes be difficult or time consuming to thread so look for automatic or color-coded threading systems.
  • Type of sewing needle used. Some sergers require special sewing needles, which may not be widely available; others use regular sewing machine needles, which are available at any sewing supplies business.
  • Removable trim knife for those times you want to sew without trimming the seam.
  • Tension adjustment that is automatic or self-adjusting to eliminate "trail and error" to achieve the correct tension.
  • Types of accessory feet. Snap-on or swing-out presser feet help make threading and changing feet easier. For embellishment/decorative stitching, look for feet designed to attach lace or beads, do rolled hems, attach cording and piping, etc.
  • Accessories that come with the serger. It is helpful to have items such as a dust cover, scrap catcher attachment, spool pin adapters, and spool caps.

Although most of your sewing can be done on a serger, sergers cannot do zippers, topstitching, and buttonholes. For those tasks, you need a regular sewing machine.

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