Bought a serger machine but don’t know how to use it? Well, worry not because there are 10 tips to get you going with your newly acquired machine in no time! A serger or overlock sewing machine can be used to finish seams. It has the ability to secure seams, so you do not have to worry about excess fabric or uncut edges and here are some great tips to get started.
A Beginner’s Guide to Your Serger Machine
1- Getting the machine threaded
Don’t throw away the manual! Before you can start using your machine you have to get it threaded. This should be done with the machine off and because every machine is different now is the time to consult the manual for the step by step process to get it done.
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2- Always buy quality thread
While it might be tempting to save a quick buck or two by buying cheap thread, buying quality is really recommended in this case. Not only will better thread make the seams you have finished last longer, but it can be very frustrating when you are trying to thread the machine and the thread breaks and you have to start all over again.
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3- Photos to keep the original set up
Before you are several months down the road and suddenly you need to rethread the machine and can’t remember the colors or how the original set up looked like you, do yourself a favor and take a photo of the set up at the beginning which can be used as a reference for the rest your time with the machine.
4- Working out the tension
Balancing the tension is vital to process in the sewing procedure. The thread tension should never be too tight or too loose and must be evenly balanced. Unfortunately, there is no universal method to get this right and your best bet is to start with the recommended settings and then adjust by small amounts. Using different color threads is great to help identify which thread is the one giving you the issues.
5- Don’t cut corners and always rethread!
It might be tempting to try and make life easier by tying a knot and pulling through the new thread. This can be done if really in a hurry, but it is advisable to get into the habit of always rethreading from scratch. Not only will you prevent the chances of thread breaking and causing a chaotic machine, but you will know what you are doing and be able to simply rethread it and get going again.
6- Avoid using pins
While pinning garments are a normal practice when using a regular sewing machine, I wouldn’t recommend using them with a serger machine. If you must, put the pins as far away from the knife as possible and keep them on the left side. The pins can make the knives blunter or even break them.
7- Go easy on the foot pedal
This can take some getting used to, but it is important to not push down too strongly on the pedal or you run the risk of cutting the fabric more than you would want. This is because there are two knives and if they are at high speed, they can cause a lot of damage!
8- Fixing distortion of seams
If your fabric is distorting somewhat while you seam them, then the best thing to do is to engage the machines secondary or differential feed. This can help adjust how the teeth are fed fabric through the machine and sort out distortion problems you may be experiencing. The differential feed level is commonly located on the right side of the machine.
9- How to use the needles
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A serger machine has separate needle clamps that hold each singular needle. It is important to seat these needles properly to ensure it works correctly. You might notice that the left needle is a bit higher than the other which is usual and nothing to worry about.
10- Using a syringe to clean
For good maintenance, your machine needs regular cleaning. To do this, it is recommended to use a brush to remove dust and dirt before using a syringe to delicately oil the mechanisms and keep the machine working smoothly.
Wrapoing It Up
And there you have it! A serger machine is a great way to finish seams and if used correctly is a great addition to a sewing machine. It will not necessarily replace it but is a great tool to use in tandem to ensure that your sewing is a whole new level. Like all things in life, it will take some getting used to so don’t be afraid to get some old fabric out to practice on until you get it right!
About the author:
Laura Cooper loves to blog about lots of different things that she is passionate about. She is the founder and editor of Top Picks for Her blog and some of her key topics include household chores like cooking as well as fitness, motherhood, and parenting!