Return to the Sewing Forum | Post a Follow-Up

What is a serger machine?

Posted by marynj (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 24, 08 at 17:17

Is it like a merrow(sp?) machine? We used a merrow machine back in sewing class in high school years ago and I think it cut/stitched edges---is that right? Is it the same thing as a serger? Can you use it on sheer fabrics to keep them from fraying?

Hope these aren't dumb questions.



Follow-Up Postings:

Definition at

So what exactly is a serger?
A serger is a machine that creates the finished seam you see on the seams of ready made garments such as side seams in sweat shirts and tee shirts. Due to industrial influences, you will hear people refer to what home sewers have come to know as serging by many different term. Overlock and Merrow (named after the Merrow Sewing Machine Company) are just a few.

What does a serger do?
A serger trims the seam and encloses the seam allowance inside a thread casing, all in one step.

RE: What is a serger machine?

There are no dumb questions here!
Kathy G in MI

RE: What is a serger machine?

Recently, the sales lady at my sewing machine shop (where they know me well enough to call me by my first name) explained sergers in a way I hadn't thought of before:

Sergers KNIT a seam and seam finish all at the same time. Depending on the model and how you set them up (there are a variety of stich patterns you can select on most home machines), the serger uses 1, 2, or 3 needle threads and 1 or 2 looper threads that do, indeed, knit a seam and seam finish, while also trimming off the excess seam allowance with cutting kinves.

I own two of these machines.

Yes, you can use them on sheer fabrics to keep them from fraying. I once made a lovely sueded rayon dress for a friend, with princess seams down the front and the back. I serged every seam allowance on all the flat pieced before I started seaming it together. This made adjusting the princess seams for fit much easier. I don't always use this method, but it worked well in this instance.

Sometimes I just sew seams on a garment with the serger. Other times, I'll baste with a regular sewing machine to check for fit, then "re-sew" the seam with the serger to do the final seam and seam finish all at once.


RE: What is a serger machine?

That is so true! I've asked quite a few and always get good answers.

As for the serger, I couldn't live without mine. So quick and neat.

A silly story: I have a Singer serger. When my dtr had just learned to read, she asked, "Mommy, why do you always call it a serger?" I launched into an explanation of the machine, and she said, ever so gently and sweetly, "But, Mommy, that's not an 'r' it's an 'n.' It's a 'singh-er!'" We still call it the "singher" (or however you would spell it!)


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Sewing Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here