Sewing Machines vs Sergers vs Cover Stitch Machines

First things first, you have to know that a sewing machine, a serger, and a cover stitch machine are all equipment which sewers of all levels use. Being aware of their similarities is not as important as their differences. There are many kinds of sewing which need specific machines to make it more convenient as well as save time for the sewer.

The Cover Stitch Machine: What Is It?

coverstitch machineLet’s get on to the cover stitch machine first. This is basically a machine that creates cover stitches for completing hems on shirts, skirts, and pants. A cover stitch is typically made of two rows of thread and a third one that loops around both rows. A serger may have a feature like this but sewers who are pressed for time usually prefer to use a machine wholly dedicated to creating cover stitches.

Cover stitch machines are capable of producing stitches that join knitwear seams as well as hems. On a garment’s outside that has a cover stitch you will see two stitched rows while there will be two rows on the inside connected with something called the overlock stitch. To create cover stitches, two needles are required. The stitch width varies and is dependent on what the user is sewing.

Some cover stitch machines are designed to create chain stitches, too, which use only one needle to produce the straight line stitching seen on a garment’s outside and a braided chain stitch on the garment’s inside. Similar to sergers in that they use three to four thread spools, cover stitch sewing machines have differential speed for adjusting how the bottom and top fabrics move while creating a ruffled, gathered or even hem.

Benefits of a Cover Stitch Sewing Machine

This machine is most suitable for the sewer who has large volumes of projects. It can also be ideal for the small garments business owner who already owns one since the user can switch machines without removing the serger’s knife or adjusting stitches. The sewer who doesn’t necessarily need a serger’s features but still wants a professional look to the clothing his/her business produces will benefit from a cover stitch machine.

Accessories are available for cover stitch sewing machines such as special presser feet for making gathered hems or pintucks and for sewing bias tape. A cording foot and a gathering foot are often used by a cover stitch machine. Most thread types are compatible for use in cover stitch machines. Make sure that all the spools of thread used simultaneously are of the same thickness and material to prevent fraying.

The Serger as a “Specialty” Sewing Machine

Brother sergerYes, a serger is fun to use, given that is has always been considered a “specialty” sewing machine that has limited and exclusive, albeit very important, functions. While a serger can also perform the same finishing stitches that cover stitch sewing machines do, the serger can create flatlocking and chain stitches, two things that cover stitch machines are unable to do.

The more expensive sergers are designed for cover stitching to easily handle knits and many delicate fabrics. Generally speaking, sergers perform a singular task to perfection: overlocking, then cutting, and finally finishing seams in just one step. Additionally, a serger may be considered a heavy duty performer because of its capability to use as many as eight different thread spools.

While the cover stitch machine is a wiz at finishing edges with fewer thread spools and is especially adept with attaching trims and lace to fabric, the serger is not capable of doing these options. On the other hand, cover stitch sewing machines doesn’t have the cutting feature of sergers. That said, sewers who have projects that have diversified requirements should invest in separate machines.

A serger is the next machine that a sewer buys, not a cover stitch which many consider a luxury. And while some sewing machines advertise “overlock” as one of their features, this is not the overlock that a serger creates. A sewing machine is neither a serger nor a cover stitch machine, albeit the word “sewing” typically goes into the description of a cover stitch.

You can finish wovens, sew knits, quilt, and embroider on a sewing machine but not on a serger or cover stitch “sewing” machine. In this area, sergers take the lead in giving the resulting product a professional finish superior to cover stitch and sewing machines. Sergers are also more expensive than sewing machines, with their price range closer to that of cover stitch sewing machines.

While some projects can be done 100% on a serger it is unable to replace the conventional sewing machine since, despite its powerful performance in other sewing aspects, it is ineffective for zippers, buttonholing, facings, top stitching and other functions that a sewing machine has been doing for its users for more than a hundred years regardless of brand.

The Sewing Machine: What It Does and Doesn’t Do

sewing machineWe all know what a sewing machine does, but with the influx of newer and newer sewing machine models as the result of the rapid advancement of technology, we can find ourselves in a dilemma when we need sewing equipment and are unable to decide between a sewing machine, a serger, and a cover stitch machine. Actually, it just boils down to the sewing machine versus either the serger or the cover stitch.

This is primarily because both the cover stitch and the serger are “specialty” machines while the sewing machine is not. It is like talking about apples and oranges that are different in appearance, functionalities, and even price tags. Sewing machines do stitches – the utility and decorative types, among others – embroidery, darning, mending, and quilting; they don’t do anything else.

Which machine should you buy? It really depends on your specific needs such as how much price your budget can sustain, the volume of the sewing that you do, the kind of sewing that you do, the fabrics that you use frequently, and what would be the features your sewing needs cannot do without. You should also be aware of how each of them is used to help you reconcile your needs to what any of those machines can do.