Marilyn knows how to present the dullest topic in an interesting and easy-to-read way. When she’s not teaching English Literature at a local school or writing for our site, Marylin loves to knit and bake for her two grandchildren.
Julie owns a shop specializing in sewing equipment and accessories. No wonder she knows everything when it comes to technical specifications of practically anything we review. In her free time, Julie loves quilting and scrapbooking.
Last updated: July 27, 2021
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Professional and hobby seamsters have been using serger machines for years. But there are also models for beginners too. In the last few years, in particular, sewing fabric items, decorative fabrics, and many other items have become very trendy – DIY projects are also worth mentioning here. The sewing machine is a very good tool for making your fabrics into a dress. Of course, it is also possible to use the sewing machine to create completely new clothing items or decorative accessories.
However, the overlock or cover stitch serger machine is, so to speak, the icing on the cake in the list of required sewing equipment. With the best serger for beginners, you can overcast and decorate seams easily. With functions such as differential feed, thread trimmer, the overlock sewing machines make your work easier. In our serger for beginners review, we will explain in more detail what makes the selected machine perfect for beginners and what you should look out for when buying.
This Singer 14SH764 2-3-4 thread overlock machine is one of the best models on the market in terms of value for money. The machine is distinguished by its strength and performance. Intuitive and ergonomic, it will greatly facilitate your sewing task!
The overlock machine is a 4-thread serger with four cone holders with a telescopic thread guide and two loopers. It also has two needles. It is equipped with four easily identifiable thread tension blocks thanks to numbering and color codes.
This Singer model overlock machine allows you to cut, stitch, sew, and overcast with ease. Also, it makes possible the realization of a hem or a finish. This is the perfect tool for making clothing customization projects or fabric upholstery. Moreover, it allows you to work on two types of fabrics at the same time. But again, the Singer 14SH764 serger allows you to obtain quality seams that are very clean and linear.
With the free arm, it is easy to sew delicate seams on the sleeves or the bottom of the pants. This serger also allows adjustment of stitch length from 1 to 4 mm and stitch width from 3 to 6.7 mm with a selector. It is also possible to adjust the tension of the presser foot as required. This allows an easy and quick adjustment according to the types of sewing and the expected purposes.
What makes it special? The device features an upper knife that is removable while the lower knife is fixed. The whole thing allows having impeccable results in the end without having professional skills.
What cons did we find? The thread jumps out when running a bit too often.
If you are new to sewing, the Singer 14SH654 will allow you to work on several fabrics, to serge them, or to cut them. With the Singer 14SH654 serger, you can overcast edges, cut excess fabric, and hems effortlessly and like a pro. Everything becomes easy with this type of serger. Singer’s 14SH654 can be used with thick fabrics as well as fragile or elastic fabrics. It’s not afraid of lycra, cotton, jersey, or linen. It allows you to make classic stitches like original stitches such as the flatlock or the overlock.
Its power of 105 watts and its speed of 1300 stitches per minute allows you to work on your fabrics quickly and effortlessly. The Singer 14SH654 overlock machine also offers the possibility of adjusting the stitch length between 1 to 4 mm and the stitch width between 3 and 6.7 mm.
Its upper knife is removable which is great and its free arm allows you to work in the best possible conditions for all your sewing work. To work in absolute comfort, especially for optimal visual comfort, the Singer 14HS654 overlock machine is equipped with an LED lighting that allows you to better illuminate your field of view and what you are doing.
What stands out? We like the ease to use. It is a really easy to use device, even if you have never had an overlocker in your hands. We find it very intuitive thanks to its threading paths. A well-explained and detailed manual will help you in your first steps.
What cons did we manage to find? Threading the lower looper is a challenge.
The Janome MOD-8933 is easy to use and is sold for a low price. Even if it is a little slower than its competitor, it can be used with most materials while remaining stable with its heavy weight. The settings are facilitated by clear explanations and the safety devices are there to limit the damage.
This 3-4 thread machine is easy to use for everyone. It allows you to perform several operations at once with stretch fabrics, seam stitches, and even more advanced work thanks to its various settings. The differential drive guarantees the adjustment of the needles. In terms of its production speed, it is a little less powerful than its competitor. It runs on maximum of 1300 stitches per minute.
You can also adjust the stitch width and length and the running speed. Note that it works with velvet, wool, terry cloth, silk, or cotton. Stretchy fabrics are welcome as the differential feed prevents puckering and stretchiness. The threading takes place quite quickly. This model incorporates a hemming roller, presser foot, screwdriver, tweezers, four spools of threads, and more.
What do we love it for? We like how easy to use it is and it comes at a budget-friendly price. The instructions are in a manual and in a DVD which acts as a user guide. Finally, it still weighs 14.3 lbs. This gives it enough stability and portability.
What were we disappointed with? It’s not for extensive use as it lacks a free arm.
The Brother 1034DX is a serger with good value for money and easy operation. Suitable for sewing and overcasting, it incorporates a very practical differential feed. For its manual operation, it is quite easy to learn thanks to the learning tools supplied by the manufacturer. It has a retractable knife and offers LED lighting as well as other necessary accessories. Lightweight and compact, this machine has two 3-4 thread needles for overcasting and sewing. With a free arm, it is useful for making thinner hems and you can also use it to work on stretch fabrics.
The differential feed helps to avoid stretching of the fabric. Moreover, the serger can run at a speed of up to 1300 stitches per minute. You can adjust the stitch length and width from 5 to 7 mm or adjust the pressure of the foot.
The threading system is relatively simple (despite being done manually) thanks to the four-color code acting as a guide. Also, the user manual is clear, precise, and useful, and the DVD provided makes it easy to learn.
In terms of equipment, this device has a retractable knife to choose whether or not to cut the fabric. There’s also an extra-flat work surface and a snap-on presser foot.
The manufacturer provides a cover, pliers, nets, spools, a brush for cleaning the machine, a screwdriver for removing some elements, needles, a foot pedal, and LED lighting.
What stands out? It’s very compact and easy to operate. The serger measures 35 x 30 x 45 cm and it weighs 5.8 kg. It comes with a three-year warranty which can work in case of mechanical or electrical issues.
What cons did we manage to find? Finding replacement parts an issue.
The Juki MO 644D serger is a 4-thread serger that allows you to perform your sewing work in two, three, or four threads. It is supplied with industrial type loopers. It is easy to adjust the pressure of the foot, adjust the differential, or the 3-wire or 2-wire automatic rollover through the optional converter.
The lower looper allows easy threading thanks to the color markings provided for threading. The Juki MO 644D is provided with a multi-function foot which is equipped with a tape guide. This serger is equipped with a folding upper knife, a lower knife that adjusts automatically, adjustable stitches with an appreciable length, and good lighting.
The Juki MO 644D serger is easy to use, durable, and reliable. This sewing machine handles the latest materials and threads, making the process of sewing fashionable clothes easy. You can also deploy it for use in the making of fashion accessories, decorative items, and crafts.
The Juki MO-644D is an overlock machine that allows you to make all styles of 4-thread, 3-thread, or 2-thread stitches. You can use it to make overlock stitches, but also decorative stitches. In 4-thread mode, it allows, in particular, to achieve an exemplary level of finish, while saving time.
What are its best features? In different thicknesses of fabrics, this serger notably cuts edges and overcasts at the same time. So you get strong, clean, and crisp seams, as well as edges that are not likely to fray. With 1500 SPM, it has the highest operational speed in the review.
What could be improved? Some buyers have complained about the packaging.
The Brother Serger DZ1234 is an overlock sewing machine that can sew with 3 or 4 threads. It has a lower looper threading aid. It is easier to sew children’s clothing with this machine.
The built-in thread tension unit and the color-coded thread paths turned out to be particularly helpful especially for starters. The same applies to the differential feed. This makes it easy to process fabrics that are thin and stretchy as waves can be prevented. Just as practical: the machine cuts and cleans in one work step. From our point of view, it is an overlock sewing machine that is smoother and quieter than most of its kind.
The stitch width on this sewing machine can be set variably from 3 to 6 millimeters. The stitch length, in turn, can be variably adjusted between 2 and 4 millimeters. The machine sews at 1,300 stitches per minute. Different sewing programs can be used with this machine.
Why is it special? We were impressed with the possibility of producing professional rolled hem seams. The corresponding setting is easy to make. The electronic fuse and the simple lowering of the upper knife offer safety. The machine can do both flat works and rolled hems. You don’t need special needles.
What are the flaws? A disadvantage from our point of view: this overlock sewing machine does not have an LED illumination. Also, no handle would make it easier to transport it to class or other places.
With this Brother overlocker, you can sew, cut, and overcast with 3 or 4 threads. The lower looper is equipped with a threading aid. The differential feed and the various overlock stitches allow you to achieve professional results. With foot control, you can determine the speed of the overlock machine.
You don’t even have to change the sewing foot and needle plate to sew a rolled hem, you can just start sewing, so to speak. You can use common sewing machine needles in the Brother overlock machine. In terms of price, the Brother overlock sewing machine is one of the medium-priced devices within our review.
The machine sews well although it does not withstand hard fabrics and enclosing several fabrics. And it glides too easily, which means it needs an anti-slip. Also, it’s missing a more powerful engine.
What makes it stand out? Threading the machine is relatively easy. The instructions in the manual are easy to read and follow.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind? The replacement parts of the machine are hard to find. Also, a few users complain about the needles breaking too often. Having LED lighting could be helpful.
Thinking of the right serger to expand your capabilities? This serger comes with a sophisticated feature set to help you get the best quality professional output. Almost all the serging techniques you want to use are present in the JUKI MO-735.
You can use between 2 and 5 threads on this model at a speed of 1500 stitches per minute. With 24 stitch options, you’re well equipped to make any shape of decorative stitches. You can even do cover stitches!
The JUKI MO-735 threading system is numbered and color-coded for ease of maneuvering. Threading is made even easier with the automatic looper process that adapts to each thread where it is supposed to be.
The knife system of this heavy-duty serger moves in line with the needle, providing real-time precision. In reality, with such speed and power, one would expect a deafening noise from the machine, but it’s the other way around.
With the machine’s phenomenal overlocking capabilities, you can do more than average. Also, it is robust and is one of the best overlockers for semi-professionals. It is also suitable for special use if you plan to devote yourself to making your clothes.
Why did it make our list? This model is designed to handle all types of materials like regular clothing, sportswear, and even children’s clothing, as well as stretch materials.
What is not ideal about it? Instructions could be made easier to understand.
Things to Consider
Why do you need a serger for beginner as a newbie? What are the best serger brands, and what are the features to consider in a serger suitable for starters? These among other frequently asked questions are what we will see in this section.
Why purchase a serger for beginners if you are a newbie
Not all overlockers and coverstitchers are suitable for beginners. As expected, some are suitable for semi-professionals and professionals. Meanwhile, some equipment have special features which make them good sergers for beginners. These features include easy to read and understand instructional manuals and DVDs, a color-coded threading system, and some even come pre-threaded and ready to use.
With these overlock machines, you can do several work steps at the same time in one operation. On the one hand, you can sew with the machine, but you can also cut and overcast fabrics. You can easily remove excess seam allowances or pieces of fabric with the overlock sewing machine. The advantage of the overlock machine is that your sewn articles do not fray, but have a clean finish. And of course, you can cut and hem fabrics with the overlock machine.
If you are a newbie and would like to make professional-level seams and sewing at an easier experience, then you have to go for the best sergers for beginners as we have recommended in the review section.
The best manufacturers
The serger market is not the same as that of sewing machines. The serger machine manufacturing market is predominated by Japanese brands. We cannot deny it. Here are some standout manufacturers in the business.
Babylock: Babylock is a Japanese brand that marketed the first serger on the market. It is the inventor and you may not find a better manufacturer. They are at the forefront of technology, innovation, and constant research. Quality comes at a price and these sergers are therefore at the top of the budget. These are machines that we keep for life just like Bernina for the sewing machines.
Juki: Juki, another Japanese brand, offers good quality overlockers (their sewing machine is also very good). Juki has a strong presence in the industrial machinery market and the brand offers equally strong and reliable domestic machines. Juki MO-735 is a good example of an overlocking serger from the brand.
Brother: As with sewing machines, Brother offers good quality, aesthetic and attractive overlockers. They are generally delivered with a lot of accessories which make them very complete machines with a good quality/price ratio, just like the Brother Serger 1034DX
Reasons to choose from a good brand
To easily and sustainably find replacement parts (knives or loopers)
To be able to have it easily repaired
To have good and easy resale profits (some shops buy your branded machines at relatively good prices while others consider exchanging them for a new product
Features to consider in a serger for beginners
When buying a serger sewing machine for beginners, the following criteria are important:
The number of points or stitches a serger or any sewing machine can make is expressed in SPM, which is stitches per minute. For sergers, the average speed of a good model is around 1700 spm. Meanwhile, for beginner level products, a 1300, as by the Brother Serger DZ1234, to 1500 spm serger is a good range that can let you learn faster.
Number of thread bobbins
As already mentioned, the overlock machines have bobbin carriers. Most of the overlock machines have 4 bobbin carriers, some with 3, others with 5 bobbins. The various thread spools make it possible to put several threads together in one operation so that complex seams can be created.
The threading aid
Since the overlock machines usually work with 4 threads, a threading aid is very important. Most machines show the correct threading in color so that threading works relatively smoothly. However, without the colored markings, it can be very difficult to guide the threads correctly. Therefore, pay attention to the threading aid when buying the overlock machine.
Stitch length and width
Each serger on the market comes with varying length and width. For the stitch length, the most common and standard you can find are usually in 1 to 4 millimeters. For the stitch width, this ranges from 2 to 7 millimeters, as for example by the JUKI MO-735.
This is used to feed the fabric while sewing with the overlock machine. The differential feed is very important, especially with elastic textiles. This is because it prevents the fabric from contracting and leading to unsightly and unwanted puckering.
The cutting knife is always included in a serger.
The upper knife is responsible for cutting off the excess fabric when sewing. But you don’t always want to cut fabric, so it makes sense if the machine has a removable or foldable upper knife.
The types of stitches you can do
Some seams are typical of an overlock sewing machine, such as the safety seam or the flatlock seam. We would like to briefly explain what these and other seams are all about.
The two-thread seam: It is well suited for overcasting light fabrics. However, it is rarely used because the seams with three or four threads are simply more durable.
The three-thread seam: This seam is used to overcast different materials. It is also ideal for sewing tight closing seams. This three-thread seam is often found in the side seams of shirts, polo shirts, and blouses.
The four-thread seam: This seam is also known as a bonded seam, imitation safety seam, or four-thread overlock seam. It is suitable for sewing together and overcasting elastic fabrics or coarse materials.
The rolled hem: The rolled hem is three-thread, sometimes two-thread. This seam is used to overcast light or fine fabrics, such as silk.
The flatlock seam: This seam is sewn with two or three threads. The flatlock seam is often used as a connecting seam or as a pleated seam. The seam is given its appearance by changing the thread tension.
The safety seam: As the name suggests, it is a safety seam. It is made up of two separate threads, a three-thread edging seam or a two-thread double chain stitch seam.
The double chain stitch: This seam corresponds to the seam that you create with the sewing machine and looks like a chain from below. Solid materials such as denim can be sewn together with the double chain stitch.
The number of threads
The majority of overlocks work with 2 needles, only a few have 3 or even more needles. The more needles the machine has, the more stable the seams will be.
The stitch variants of the overlock machine
Serger machines have different stitch variants that you select either manually, as in the case with the JUKI MO644D, or by program control. Decorative stitching, for example, is an option that not all overlock machines come with. The simple machines have about 6 sewing programs, while the complex and often professional devices have 20 or more programs and thus stitch variants.
The dimensions of the machine
Not everyone has so much space at home to accommodate sewing machines and overlock machines. For this reason, it is advisable to measure the available space in advance and to see if you can find a machine of the appropriate size. Since the serger sewing machine may not be used that often, a cover to protect against dust is ideal.
Adjustable thread tension: The thread is too loose or the thread is too tight – this is a problem you may be familiar with from your sewing machine. Some manufacturers offer the option of an integrated automatic thread tensioning machine for overlock sewing machines. This means that the machine adjusts the thread tension to the selected program and thus avoids the problems mentioned.
The waste container: There are sergers with and without a collecting container. Since you’re a beginner, you are going to be generating more waste in threads and fabrics. So a container for these can be helpful. The cut-off material residues can be collected in the waste container so that the work surface remains clean. No substance falls through the container on the floor but collects in the container that you should empty from time to time. Therefore, when buying, make sure that your machine has this small plus point.
The automatic bobbin winder: Your overlock machine should have this feature because it will make your experience easier, so to speak. With this automatic system, the machine automatically winds the bobbin thread. You don’t need to worry about anything.
The presser foot: A height-adjustable presser foot is not to be regarded as standard equipment of a serger sewing machine. However, it is useful if you want to sew different fabrics. With thicker fabrics, you can adjust the height of the foot so that the work is easier by hand.
The accessories: When you buy an overlock machine, the equipment is very different – depending on the model or manufacturer selected. As a rule, every machine has a foot pedal that you use to regulate the sewing speed. Some manufacturers supply various presser feet and needles, as well as various tools, DVDs with the operating instructions or special oil. As a rule, the manufacturers of the overlock machines must list the accessories in the product description.
The warranty coverage of sewing equipment is a very important criterion to consider. Choose a product with a declared warranty covering the parts, mechanical parts, as well as labor.
If you compare the prices of sewing machines and overlock machines, you will quickly find out that the overlock machines are usually a lot more expensive than sewing machines. But those who sew a lot and expect perfect results like to invest the money.
A relatively good overlock sewing machine costs between $200 and 350. Of course, some models are a few dollars cheaper and several hundreds of dollars costlier. The inexpensive overlocks usually have a threading aid, while the more expensive ones have an automatic threading system. In terms of price, there is hardly any upper limit for overlock machines – as is the case with many other goods.
How do I maintain a serger?
The maintenance of the machine is, so to speak, the alpha and omega of success and long service life. If the serger is rarely used, it will gather dust and malfunction. To prevent this from happening, you should regularly maintain and clean your machine. It makes sense if you cover the machine or stow it in a transport case. Then it doesn’t get too dusty.
However, if this is not possible, you should clean them regularly. To do this, remove the components such as the spool holder, presser foot, thread, bobbin, and needle and also disassemble the hook system. Remove any dirt that may have accumulated on the parts.
Before cleaning the overlock machine, disconnect the machine from the power.
Several dust particles can collect in the machine’s cracks. You can remove fluff and thread residues either with a small, fine brush or with a vacuum cleaner. Make sure, however, that there are no loose parts on the machine. Wipe the hook race and the bobbin area with a soft, lint-free cloth. Cotton swabs can also be used as an aid.
Under no circumstances should you oil the overlocking machine. It is also important that no moisture gets into the machine.
Once you have cleaned the machine, reinsert all parts accordingly. You can also use the vacuum cleaner to clean the exterior, but you can also use a soft, lint-free cloth.
Not many manufacturers indicate the decibel level of their machines, but sergers are known to be relatively quiet, thanks to their compact and close design. However, the models selected in the review have motors that run fast but quietly, as has been commented by users. However, you should note that irregular and improper maintenance, high sewing speed, and other reasons can cause it to be noisier. Better still, if your machine is too noisy, you can buy anti-vibration and antinoise pads.
For example, with a serger, you can work on denim, jersey, cotton, or other fabrics. And stretchy fabrics are also a piece of cake for overlocks such as the Brother Serger DZ1234 and the Janome MOD-8933. Thanks to the differential feed, the machine guides the fabric smoothly across the work surface and the overlock stitch ensures that the fabric retains the necessary flexibility. However, note that you cannot sew any buttonholes, sew in the middle of the fabric, sew pockets, sew in any zippers when using a serger.
Our overall best model and the Editor’s Choice is the SINGER Stylist 14SH764. The overlock machine is a 4-thread serger with four cone holders with a telescopic thread guide and two loopers. It also has two needles and is equipped with four easily identifiable thread tension blocks thanks to numbering and color codes.
The Singer Finishing Touch 14SH654 has the Best Value. With this machine, you can overcast edges, cut excess fabric and hems effortlessly and like a pro.
If you want the best serger for beginners, why not go for our Budget Pick, the Janome MOD-8933? This 3-4 thread machine is easy to use for everyone. It allows you to perform several operations at once with stretch fabrics, seam stitches, and even more advanced work thanks to its various settings.