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Sergers are the second most common household textile power tool. They make overlock seams with three or four threads using one or two needles and two lower threads that are put through “loopers.”  These are the seams you will have seen in tee shirts and other knitwear. They are used for stretchy fabrics and for fabrics that are prone to fraying, because they lock the edges of the fabric in place, making it more difficult for them to fray and unravel.

Sergers are not essential for sewing knit garments; there are tricks to get good seams using regular sewing machines. They do, however, make it much easier to create professional looking seams.

CAUTION:  Sergers have knives. They use them to cut off the edge of the fabric as they sew to make sure the seams are smooth. These knives are hooked and extremely sharp. It would be difficult to get a finger in the way of the knife during operation, but it’s not hard to find it unpleasantly while threading or cleaning the machine. Be very careful.

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