What Is the Difference Between a Serger Sewing Machine and a Sewing Machine?

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If you’re wondering what the difference in serger vs sewing machine, you’re not alone. These two machines are frequently confused as being more or less the same. However, there is a significant difference between the machines when it comes to binding. For this reason, serger machines and sewing machines are seen as complementary to each other.

serger vs sewing machine

What Is a Serger Sewing Machine?

These machines are sometimes known as “overlockers” or “overlock machines,” precisely because they create overlock stitches. A serger machine creates high-quality finished pieces using overlock stitches from three or more thread sources. These machines produce neat and flawless seams with incredible accuracy. Nonetheless, the overlock stitch is the only stitch option on a serger machine. 

Additionally, this sewing machine is fast and uses multiple spools of thread at once. Furthermore, these machines use polyester threads. Since serger machines are so fast, the polyester threads are more flexible and, therefore, compatible with the faster needle.

There are different serger machines, and each comes with different capabilities. That said, all serger machines also incorporate a blade that allows you to cut and sew fabric all in one go. 

Key Differences– Serger vs Sewing Machine

You might think a serger sewing machine is more or less the same as a regular sewing machine. The differences are not immediately obvious to someone unfamiliar with sewing. There are, however, a few key differences between the two machines:

  • Form Binding: A serger machine seamlessly binds with overlock stitches and can cut your fabric simultaneously. A regular sewing machine cannot cut, but it can create different stitches.  
  • Number of Threads: Serger machines use three to four threads to create a stitch, making the serger stitches durable. On the other hand, regular sewing machines use only one. 
  • Speed: On average, a serger machine is up to three times faster than a regular sewing machine.

One more important thing to note is that a serger machine allows you to sew only on the left side of the needle, while a sewing machine will enable you to turn the fabric and sew on either the left or right side of the needle. Therefore, if you plan to use a serger machine, you need to plan your project around the limitations of the left-sided needle. 

Things to Make With a Serger Machine

If you plan on sewing regularly, then a serger machine is well worth the investment. You can use this machine to create durable seams around rugged wear such as children’s clothes and sports jerseys.

For example, if you want to hem the bottom of your pants with a regular sewing machine, you’ll have to pass a blade or scissors through the bottom of the pants and zig-zag them to prevent the fabric from fraying. Then you’ll have to iron, fold over the seam allowance multiple times, and sew the hem.

However, all you have to do on a serger machine is serge the bottom, fold over the pants, and then stitch. When working on a project that doesn’t include cutting, you can turn off your serger blade.

Why Do I Need a Serger Machine?

Serger machines and regular sewing machines are not interchangeable. They are designed to complete different tasks. Nonetheless, your standard sewing machine is probably enough if your projects are not that tedious or if you require it for jobs like topstitching and facings. 

That said, a serger machine can help you complete your projects faster, depending on the type of look you want to achieve. Serger machines are faster and easier to use, and they eliminate a lot of unnecessary work by having a built-in blade to cut your fabric.

Should I Keep Both a Serger and a Sewing Machine?

Although you can complete most projects flawlessly with a serger machine, a regular sewing machine is still irreplaceable for certain projects. A serger machine, for example, cannot produce the topstitch required to complete many projects. To that end, if your work requires facings, topstitching, buttonholes, and other tasks, then you should hold on to your sewing machine, even if you have a serger. 


The main difference between a serger sewing machine and a sewing machine is the form of binding. Serger machines have specialized sewing capabilities, and they give your projects a neater, more professional look. However, you’ll still need a regular sewing machine for jobs like topstitching and facing.

Olivia Duncan

Olivia Duncan is a New York based writer, who specializes in Textile Industry, and is an industry expert. Prior to her time at thr Textile Industry, she was a fellow at the Association of Textile and Material Department. Modern women can seek inspiration from her, and try to achieve their dreams the way she did. Apart from donating her time in learning the nit-bits of Textile Industry, she also has much interest in reading, writing, and meditating.

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