The Difference Between a Sewing Machine and a Serger

The Difference Between a Sewing Machine and a Serger


In sewing, there are several sewing machines, including the classic sewing machine, the overcasting machine also called serger or overlock, and the cover machine. Distinguishing between a sewing machine and a serger has long been a concern for many people. If you are a beginner in sewing and looking to choose between these two machines, you should already know the difference between sewing machine and serger there is. To do this, we analyzed the two machines to detect their points of similarity, but above all their differences. So here's everything you need to know about the sewing machine and serger difference stitches.

The Difference Between a Sewing Machine and a Serger

Difference in uses

To tell the difference between sewing machine and serger, you have to start with their uses. The sewing machine will help you do almost anything. Concretely, you can use it for tailoring, for fabric assembly, or clothing alteration. The sewing machine is therefore used to perform sewing stitches and has several stitches. It remains a machine easy to use and accessible to beginners. It is in most cases recommended for getting started in sewing and has an affordable quality/price ratio.


On the other hand, the serger is used most of the time in finishing work such as overlocking. Indeed, it is often used to keep the fabric from fraying. It is generally used in addition to a sewing machine and it adapts better to all types of fabrics (light, heavy, thin, stretch, stretch fabrics). If you want to join two ends of fabric or two fabrics, the serger is the recommended machine. It offers very clean finishes, worthy of professional quality.

The difference in point types

The difference between a sewing machine and an overlock machine can also be seen in the types of stitches. Therefore, with a mechanical or electronic sewing machine, a large number of single or double stitches can be made. You can also make zigzag stitches, straight stitches, or even superimposed stitches. The machine will also help you with:


Make embroidery;

Sew on buttons;

Design buttonholes;

Sew on Zippers or Zippers;

Sew pleats;

Make hems, etc.


The classic sewing machine is therefore multitasking and allows several stitches to be achieved. By combining your sewing machine with special stitches, many stitches can still be achieved.


The serger is used to sew, join two edges of the fabric, finish a task in one step. It, therefore, differs from an ordinary sewing machine because it offers fast and optimal results. The serger has a blade that cuts through the fabric at the same time the needles are sewing. Using an overlock machine will give you the impression that your clothes are coming out of the store. Here you can achieve ordinary stitches, but also difficult stitches like wave stitches, flatlock stitches, scale stitches, etc.

Differences between the number of threads and the type of fabric

The sewing machine and serger also differ in the number of threads they can use. At this point, it should be noted that the ordinary sewing machine is limited to the use of two threads, an upper thread, and a bobbin or lower thread. Some sewing machines have a double-needle system that allows the use of two threads and a bobbin. Unlike a regular sewing machine, the serger can use more threads at a time. Indeed, there are often between 3 and 5 spools of thread on an overcasting machine, which is useful for making different overlock stitches.


When it comes to fabric types, the serger is ahead of the sewing machine in that it is more versatile and can sew different types of fabric. Thanks to it, you will be able to work on:


Difficult materials like all elastic fabrics like lycra, jersey, elastane, etc. ;

Delicate materials such as silk. Here, the serger can achieve finishes without fraying the fabric and without making folds. The overcasting machine allows you to sew a chain stitch and does not produce tension between the threads. This, therefore, makes it possible to obtain an impeccable finish on all types of fabrics.

The difference in the speed of execution

If you are still wondering what to choose between a sewing machine or an overlock machine, you should know that one is faster than the other. This is because unlike the ordinary sewing machine, the serger allows you to cut and sew at the same time. It is therefore faster and offers 1000 points per minute to minute. For the same job, it can sew twice as fast as a regular sewing machine.


The serger thus saves considerable time and can be used for the intensive work of massive productions. Unlike the sewing machine which will be reserved for domestic use, the serger can also be used in professional environments. It gives you the ability to stitch, stitch, and clean the fabric in one go, instead of several steps.

Ultimately, it should be noted that the difference between sewing machine and serger is visible on several levels. But, it should also be noted that the sewing machine is limited in that it is only used for sewing fabric. The serger on its side has more extended functions, it can not only cut but also achieve the finishes in a short time.

Despite these visible differences, the use of a sewing machine with an overlock is quite possible under certain conditions. Indeed, the two machines are complementary and can be used to sew a shirt, a t-shirt, or even pants. With the sewing machine, you can make eyelets and pockets. The serger will help you refine the edges and get a clean finish.

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