Serger Threading – It’s Easier Than You Think!

Serger threading terrifies some sewers. Looking inside of the looper covers may even make some break out in a cold sweat. I remember the first time that I opened the cover on my serger in preparation for serger threading and my brain froze up, I just couldn’t imagine how I was going to get the beast threaded! However, today I thread my serger manually, from scratch, whenever I need to change the thread and it couldn’t be easier, it just looks daunting. Anyone can learn to thread a serger.

How the overlocker is threaded is just as important as how a conventional sewing machine is threaded; however, admittedly, there are more steps to threading a serger properly and even one misstep can cause you to have to start all over again. The machine has to be threaded in sequence. Fortunately, there are threading diagrams inside of the looper cover on the machine.

For an example of what the diagrams look like inside of the looper case, click here on the serger threading diagram courtesy of The New Sewing with a Serger from the Singer Sewing Reference Library. I use Singer as an example, because, Singer sergers are what I own, but most sergers are threaded the same way with only minor variations, so you must consult your manual for the number of threads, brand and model of serger for the fine tuned details.

There are colored coded diagrams, but many sergers also come with threading DVDs or videos as a visual aide to threading.

I think that learning to thread a serger properly is a combination of seeing a visual such as a DVD or video and following the threading diagrams. There are some very nice videos on threading the serger,

click here on for videos on how to thread the upper looper and lower looper and the right needle and left needle (called here, the upper threads) The serger threading sequence on a basic four thread machine is generally to thread the upper looper, lower looper, right needle, and then left needle, but this may vary slightly based upon manufacturer. The videos should therefore be viewed in the sequence of upper looper, lower looper, then the upper threads. Each of these individual little videos presents the entire threading sequence for a basic four thread serger. These videos along with your owner’s manual, owner’s DVD or video and the diagrams inside of the looper cover can help you to accomplish what might seem to be a daunting task, but really isn’t.

What kind of thread should be used on a serger?

Before you can thread the machine, you have to have the right thread, otherwise the machine will not sew properly, even if you have threaded it correctly, selecting the right thread is especially important when using decorative threads in the machine, because not all decorative threads will work in the overlocker.

Serger threads are generally lighter in weight than all purpose threads. Light weight threads are recommended for serger use, since there are more threads in a serged seam. The lighter weight threads reduce bulk.

When it comes to decorative threads, metallic thread, top stitching thread, texturized nylon, lightweight ribbons and even yarns may be used. But, since not all decorative threads can be used in all machines, each sewer must test the thread first to see if the thread can be used in their individual machine.

Threads that are 100% cotton, 100% synthetic or cotton and synthetic blends can be used. Threads for an overlocking machine should be the best quality that the sewer can afford, in order to produce a quality stitch.

In addition, quality threads should be used because sergers sew at a faster speed, producing more stress on threads; therefore, thread must be both strong and durable. Because a lot of threads are used in a seam, threads come in larger sizes, such as cones, tubes, and compact tubes.

By purchasing and using the correct threads and threading the machine correctly, the experience of using an overlocker can be an excellent one and can help to create that professional finish that is characteristic of ready to wear.

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