How to Adjust the Width of an Overlock Stitch

By Kathryn Hatter ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Serger
  • Small screwdriver (optional)

A serger sewing machine sews fabric by stitching seams and overlocking the edges of the fabric. Sewing with an overlock stitch enables you to finish fabric edges at the same time that you sew seams, reducing your sewing time and effort. Adjust the width of an overlock stitch by setting or changing the serger. After setting the serger, the overlocked seams should appear the way you desire.

Examine the stitch finger beneath the throat plate of your serger. This small, metal stitch finger creates the overlock stitches around the fabric edge. Your serger may have a dial or buttons to press that will move the stitch finger to make the stitches wider or narrower. Another serger configuration may require that you turn a screw to the right or left to make overlock stitches wider or narrower.

Change the entire throat plate to use a different size stitch finger. Some serger configurations require changing the throat plate to adjust the overlock stitch width.

Remove the left needle for a twin-needle serger. By removing this needle and using only the right needle, you can make the overlock stitching narrower.


Read the owner’s manual for your serger to learn how to change the overlock width for your serger model. If your serger requires changing the throat plate, follow manufacturer recommendations to complete the process properly.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.