Serger Sewing Machines for Beginners and Advanced Users 

What is the difference between a serger and a sewing machine?

A serger is a wonderful complement to a sewing machine. There are functions that a serger machine can perform that a sewing machine cannot, and vice versa. Do you even need a serger? Well, that depends on what kind of work you need to perform.

In addition to joining pieces and hemming, a sewing machine can be used to attach zippers, create buttonholes, and so many more specialty stitches. A sewing machine can also be used for quilting and other topstitching applications.


Do you plan to make clothing and home décor? Do you want your projects to be durable, and have a beautifully finished appearance? Do you crave quality and speed? If so, you should consider purchasing a serger.


Where a sewing machine falls short, is when it comes to “finishing.” Seams made with a standard sewing machine will have raw edges along the seam allowance that will either need to be covered with hem tape, finished with a zig zag stitch, or trimmed with pinking shears. The hem tape option looks nice, but is time consuming. The zig zag finish is lackluster. Trimming with pinking shears is both lackluster and time consuming.

A serger is great for eliminating this problem- it can make the seam, trim and finish the seam allowance, all in one pass! A serger can also create decorative rolled hems, and is great for sewing stretchy and knit fabrics because the stitches will stretch with the fabric, unlike a standard sewing machine stitch. A serger is not ideal for standard hems as the edge will want to roll.

A coverstitch machine is wonderful for hemming stretch fabrics and will help you achieve that lovely hem that is commonly found on t-shirts.


Sergers and coverstitch machines are not useful for making buttonholes, attaching buttons, quilting, or decorative topstitching.

If you already have a sewing machine, a serger or cover-stitch machine will be an excellent addition to your sewing arsenal. Many seamstresses will acquire machines in the following order:

    1    Sewing machine

    2    Serger

    3    Cover-stich machine


Have you ever used a serger before? If not, you may consider investing in some extracurricular reading. Though most machines will come with a manual, they aren’t always the most comprehensive. To fully unlock the potential of your machine, we recommend keeping this book on hand for reference.


Features to Consider When Shopping for a Serger

There are any number of features incorporated into a quality serger.  Here are a few of the key ones to look for in a model that you might be considering.


Differential Feed

A serger has two sets of feed dogs that push the fabric through the machine. Differential feed is what controls the feed dogs. By adjusting the differential feed ratio, the user can achieve an even finish to the seam. Conversely, a decorative, ruffled edge can also be made.


Automatic vs Manual Threading

Seamstresses around the world can agree: the single greatest frustration when using a serger is threading, and it isn’t just a matter of getting the thread through the eye of the needle. Each thread will have to travel through multiple channels, some in hard-to-reach places, and in a very specific order. Tweezers will usually be required; most manual-threading sergers will come with a pair. Even for experienced users, re-threading a machine properly can take fifteen minutes or more; for new users, thirty minutes or more is common. For this reason, many people opt to pay hundreds more for a machine with automatic threading capabilities.


Number of Threads

The most basic of sergers will use at least four threads, and some machines work with up to eight threads.

Most home-based users will only need the four-thread machines.


Stitch Length

Stitch length on a serger is the same as stitch length on a regular sewing machine; the smaller the length, the closer together the stitches. For a rolled hem, the stitch length will be small.


Stitch Width

This controls where the blade cuts the fabric. Ideally, the thread will huge the fabric just tight enough for the seam to sit flat. If adjusted improperly, the thread will hang off the edge of the cut fabric or there will be too much fabric inside the thread loops, causing bunching.


Adjustable Tension

As with a regular sewing machine, thread tension has a lot to do with the overall look of the final project. Tension will need to be adjusted differently for a rolled hem, and for different fabric types.


Included Accessories

Most sergers will come with a pack of needles, a multi-purpose foot, and tweezers. Some basic sergers will also come with a few accessory feet. If you are using a serger primarily for finishing inside seams, you will only need the multi-purpose foot.


Stitch Configurations: 3-4, 2-3-4, etc

All sergers will have at least four threads. Most sergers will allow only three to be used, and some will allow only two to be used. A four-thread stitch will be stronger than a two or three-thread stitch.


Different Stitches

A serger will perform a variety of stitches. What to use will depend on the project.

A four-thread overlock stitch is the most common and is noted for its durability and strength. It is often used on clothing seams.

A three-thread overlock is also very common, but is not as durable as a four-thread overlock. This stitch can also be used for a blind hem.

A two-thread overlock, if possible, is not recommended for seams, but is great for finishing raw edges while keeping it light and flat.

A two-thread flatlock stitch is like a faux coverstich. (A coverstitch is accomplished with a completely different machine.)

A rolled hem, using two or three threads, is often used for decorative purposes and is a great option for quickly hemming lightweight fabrics.


Models $300 and Up

Sergers in this price range will perform the same basic functions as the less expensive models, and will sometimes offer more than five threads. They will offer 2, 3, 4, or 5-thread stitches, they will trim the seam allowance, and will have differential feed to prevent unwanted puckering or stretching.

Where these machines rise above the rest is in durability, stability, and reliability,

Some have additional features, including automatic threading and coverstitch capability. Threading a regular sewing machine can be a major source of frustration, so you can only imagine the frustration of manually threading four threads in a more complex machine. Automatic threading can be a much appreciated feature!


Please stop in and visit us at Daley by the Yard for all of your Serger needs and questions.

Posted by DaleyByTheYard Admin Friday, February 03, 2017 7:19:00 AM Categories: Ideas

Serger Spectacular! 

Serger Class Massachusetts

Don’t miss the Serger Spectacular!!! Space is limited so sign up now!


This class is for owners and non owners of sergers 


Each student will be creating their very own 'spectacular serger reference library' containing step-by-step instructions and 35+ samples stitched during the class. You will learn how to incorporate the use of the on-board machine features and the variety of stitch options with both regular and decorative threads. In addition, you will learn how to use some of the additional presser feet/accessorites available. The fabric and trim package is provided and included in the cost of enrollment. Samples and ideas for applications in Home Decor, Quilting, as well as Clothing, and Crafting will be shared throughout the event. Plus much, much more!


Space is limited, so sign up now!




Friday, February 24th - 10:00~5:00pm

Saturday, February 25th - 10:00~5:00pm

Sunday, February 26th - 10:00~5:00pm


INSTRUCTOR: Karen Clancy 


COST: $199 (includes everything needed, plus meals!)

Posted by DaleyByTheYard Admin Friday, January 20, 2017 2:58:00 PM

BERNINA 765 Special Edition is at Daley by the Yard 

Available with a free gift!

The limited edition BERNINA 765 Special Edition is here!
Daley by the Yard was so excited when this machine unveiled at BERNINA University in New Orleans back in July - so we pre-ordered! It has all the features that I'm in love with on the 7 series machines, including low bobbin thread monitor, a color touch screen, 10" to the right of the needle, and my very favorite presser foot hover (come in and I'll show you this amazingness!!). PLUS! It has a beautiful Rose Gold faceplate. PLUS PLUS! It comes with your choice of a free gift: either an embroidery module, a BERNINA 330 Sewing Machine, or a Quilting Kit. The Bernina 765 is compatible with both the BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) and embroidery. This means, that if you choose the Quilting Kit, which includes the BSR, as a free gift - you can always add the embroidery unit later down the road if you become interested in machine embroidery! This is a limited edition machine, BERNINA only made as many as were pre-ordered last year. We pre-ordered several, and we have them in stock and ready to go! This is a cant miss deal between the look of this machine, and the free gift! 

Posted by DaleyByTheYard Admin Friday, January 06, 2017 3:46:00 PM
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