How to Use a Serger

Things You'll Need

  • Fabrics
  • Scrap Fabrics
  • Sergers
  • Thread Spools
  • Scissors

How to Use a Serger. A serger is a wonderful tool. It can finish a single raw edge of fabric or sew, trim and finish a seam all at once. Use a serger to give your clothing a more professionally finished look.

Read the owner's manual that comes with your machine and familiarize yourself with its various parts and capabilities.

Take advantage of any free or low-cost serger classes offered by the shop where you purchased your machine.

Thread your machine and insert your fabric under the toe of the machine's presser foot. Position the fabric so that the blade of the serger will trim the desired amount of fabric. The blade is located to the right of the needle.

Turn the serger's hand wheel around toward you a couple of times and check to see that a thread chain is forming.

Start to sew slowly. You do not have to insert the needle into the thread as you do with a sewing machine. The fabric will automatically be fed through the serger.

Guide the fabric as desired until you complete the stitching. Avoid the urge to push or pull your fabric through the serger.

Continue to run the serger so that a 4- to 5-inch chain of thread is produced between the machine and the fabric. Cut the thread chain close to the fabric and let the remaining threads trail toward the back of the serger. Insert the next piece of fabric.

Secure the thread ends by separating the trailing threads and knotting them at the fabric's edge.

Use your serger to sew and finish seams in one step. Place layers of fabric one on top of the other and sew with the serger as you would a sewing machine. Make sure you use the correct seam allowance.

Adjust the thread tension with the tension dials located on the front of the machine. Each dial controls a different thread. Check the threading diagram or your machine manual to determine which dials control which threads.


  • Look for serger classes offered at local colleges and community centers. Avoid using pins with a serger. If a pin gets caught underneath the blade, your machine can jam and the blade can break or be marred. Test your stitching on a piece of scrap fabric before you sew your garment. Use the serger blade with care. It moves rapidly and is extremely sharp. Use either large thread cones or regular thread spools with your serger. Purchase a receptacle for all those fabric trimmings. There are bags designed especially for sergers.

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