The Differences Between a Serger and an Embroidery Machine
Written by: Chelsie Debes
A serger and embroidery machine are very different machines in sewing, but both can be used to help better your garment. When buying either a serger or embroidery machine it is important to do your research first. Finding a serger or embroidery machine that is good quality and at a reasonable price is the first step of the process. When buying a serger it is important to talk to the seller, learn the various features of the serger and hopefully, learn how to thread it. See if the seller offers a free class! Keep in mind that most sergers are color-coded for easy use. There are also smaller details you need to worry about like the type of needle the serger uses or the different parts that it comes with. When buying an embroidery you machine you may want to know if the machine doubles as an embroidery machine and a sewing machine (some do both and some do not). Before buying one of these two machines, you might want to know a little bit about them.
A serger is a machine that costs +$200 to several thousand dollars. Sergers require you to push the edge of your seam allowance under a presser foot. As the serger moves along, it shortens the seam and bounds the edge with a casing of thread. This is done to prevent the edges of the fabric from fraying. Each serger has different options, the more you spend on the serger, the more options it will have. There are different kinds of sergers, with a 2-4 thread serger being the least expensive, a 3-4 being in the middle and a 5 thread serger being the most expensive. Sergers with a higher thread count can give you more capabilities while sewing. Using a serger on clothing items can be quite beneficial as they prevent fabric from stretching or gathering.
If a serger does all of these things, can it replace a sewing machine? The answer to that is no. While some sewing projects can be completed on a serger, others require a sewing machine. Sergers differ from embroidery machines because they use a needle, a lower looper, an upper looper and a knife to create a stitch and cut off the remaining fabric, while embroidery machines use different tools.
The main purpose of an embroidery machine is to create patterns on a piece of fabric. There are different types of embroidery stitches and designs that the machine can do. Free-motion sewing on an embroidery machine uses zig zag stitches. You can direct the fabric in the motion that you want it to go and as a result it creates a pattern. There is also link stitch embroidery; this can be done manually or automatically. The final type of embroidery is computerized machine embroidery. The pattern is chosen on a computer which controls the stored patterns on the machine.
Embroidery Machines can either be for the soul purpose of creating patterns on a piece, which are usually more affordable. While other embroidery machines have an embroidery unit, which can be removed for every other sewing need. These types of embroidery machines are more expensive, but this way you don’t have to buy both a sewing machine and embroidery machine.
When stitching, the embroidery machine requires a process called hooping, which is where you put the fabric into an embroidery hoop. The hoops keeps the fabric stable. Instead of a presser foot like a normal sewing machine or a serger, the embroidery machine requires a stabilizer, which holds the fabric down. When putting a pattern into the embroidery machine, the machine goes through a process called digitizing. This is when the machine takes the design and translates it to into stitches to create the final design on fabric.
Both a serger and an embroidery machine are beneficial in their own ways. The more you progress in sewing, the more you will grow attached to both machines.