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Tips to using your serger (Part 2)

Updated: Feb 16, 2020

This is a continuation of Part 1 of tips to using your serger, where we covered differential feeds, hiding thread tails and unpicking serged seams. Today, we will look at tension, stitch length, width, pressing your serged seams and cleaning the serger.


  • To attain the tension for the desired stitch, you must be able to identify each thread’s origin, and the easiest way to do so is to thread the machine with a different colour thread for each thread path. This will make it easier to identify each thread.

  • When checking the tension, move only one dial at a time in small increments.

  •  Generally, the higher the number, the tighter the tension.

  • In a perfectly balanced  4-thread overlock stitch, the upper and lower looper threads meet at the edge of the fabric, lying flat and looping around the needle thread. The needle threads lay in straight lines of stitching on the top of the fabric, with little-to-no needle threads showing on the back. (It’s the same for 3-thread stitch, just that there will only be one straight line of stitching.)

  • When it comes to adjusting serger tension, patience and practice is key!

  • You can check out the following sites on more detailed instruction to getting the right tension: Bernina – Stop Tension Headaches

  • Make it Handmade – Perfect Serger Tension