What is the Difference Between Serger, Coverstitch, and Coverlock Machines

Exploring sewing equipment can be overwhelming, especially when distinguishing between a sewing machine, a serger, and a cover stitch machine. Each has a unique function in garment construction and provides specific advantages for different sewing projects. This article delves into the primary differences and uses of each type of machine, helping you make informed choices about which tools best meet your sewing requirements.

What is the difference between sergers, coverlocks, overlocks, and coverstitch machines?
A serger and an overlock machine are the same thing. It’s called a “serger” in the United States, but almost everywhere else, it’s called an “overlock machine” or “overlocker.”

We at SewingWithEase will lay it all out for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Sewing machines are essential for anyone wanting to sew, with basic models providing straight and zig-zag stitches for various fabrics.
    • Modern sewing machines are versatile and can handle different materials, but they may not always offer the easiest or neatest finish compared to specialized machines.
  • Using 3 to 8 threads, Sergers create overlock stitches that prevent fraying and can trim fabric edges for neat seams.
    • It is ideal for quick seam finishing and sewing knits due to the stretchy nature of serger stitches.
    • A serger is not essential but adds efficiency and professional quality to sewing projects.
  • Coverstitch machines, designed for knit hems and chain stitching, do not have a blade and offer stretchy seams with 1 to 3 threads.
    • They provide a professional finish to knit garments, similar to what is seen in ready-to-wear clothing.
  • While sergers and cover stitch machines enhance sewing projects with their specialized stitches, they are considered supplementary to the sewing machine, which is necessary for basic sewing tasks.
    • Each machine has a specific role, with sergers and cover stitch machines offering more advanced and specialized functions for finishing and working with knits.

Table of Content

What is a Serger?

A serger is an industrial sewing machine that makes seams in knitted fabrics, woven fabrics, leathers, plastics, and other materials.

Have you ever noticed how commercially made garments have sealed edges? How would you sew a perfectly flat seam on stretchy knit fabric? Are you interested in learning how to make decorative edgings? A serger can do a variety of things.

What is a Serger?

Other Names for a Serger

A device called an “overlocker,” an “overlock machine,” or an “overlock serger” can all be described the same way. If you like, here are some synonyms for serger.

What Does a Serger Do?

You can sew overlock or overcast stitches using a serger with multiple needles and threads.

An additional thread is wrapped around the raw seam edges to seal them after the needle or needles sew a straight row.

Below is an illustration of a three-thread overlock stitch. There are several different kinds of overlock stitches. The needle row makes the pink thread, while the upper and lower loopers make the blue and white thread. Most home overlockers can sew two, three, and four threads.

It is possible to find budget models that only sew with three or four threads and premium models that can sew with eight or more threads.

What People Do With Their Sergers

Aren’t regular sewing machines capable of making seams? You can do that, of course. The edges of fraying fabrics can even be reinforced with a mock overlock stitch on some sewing machines.

You may benefit from a serger if you make many garments or use mostly knit fabrics. Some of the things that can be done with a serger are listed below:


Construction is a serger’s primary responsibility. It’s easy to make substantial, flexible, professional-looking seams and edges with a serger, whether you make clothes, housewares, or accessories.

Serged seams are stress- and strain-resistant and look good. They protect fabric edges from fraying and prevent them from unraveling. In addition to invisible hems on garments, sergers can roll hem scarves and other accessories.


The specialty of a serger is edging. An edge is what a serger does best, whether creating different edgings on a single layer of fabric or wrapping seam edges for a stronger seam. Do you remember seeing delicate, wavy edges on blouse cuffs or scarves?

Sergers are used to make lettuce edges. You can make a lettuce edge with a narrow stitch width and increased differential feed (i.e., more stretch).

Light, ravel-prone fabrics are often finished with rolled edges. A rolled hem setting is built into some sergers. You may have to adjust your machine manually with others.

Knits and Stretchy Fabrics

It can be challenging to sew knits and stretchy fabrics. It is still possible for knits and stretchy fabrics to bunch and warp even when you match your thread to your fabric (as we discussed in our article on how to sew seams).

Differential feed is a feature of sergers that allows you to stretch or compress the fabric as you sew. This technique can make flat, smooth seams and edges even on stretchy knit fabrics. You can do that by bunching, gathering, and warping your fabric edge.

Serger Special Effects

Despite its functionality, sergers can be fun as well as functional. There are several dazzling serger special effects you can create using overlock stitches.

You can also use a serger to create. We have already discussed decorative edging, but you can also use it for:

  • Ruffles
  • Gathers
  • Pleats
  • Pintucks

Heavy vs. Light Fabrics

You can use your serger to work with various fabrics and thicknesses, including stretchy fabrics and knits.

Ultralight fabrics require sergers that can sew with two threads if you want to work with them. Four threads are recommended for sewing heavier-than-average fabrics.

A Serger’s Distinguishing Features

What makes a serger different from a regular sewing machine? There are quite a few things to consider. Let’s take a look.

Multiple Threads

Typically, a sewing machine uses a spool of top thread and a bobbin of bottom thread. A serger does not have a bobbin. Sewing is done with either needle threads or loopers that guide the threads. We’ll discuss loopers in more detail in a moment.

Sergers can be used with spool thread. Overlocking, however, consumes a lot of thread. Since cone thread is more cost-effective than thread on small cones, many serger users prefer it. If you’re wondering whether you can use your regular sewing machine with those enormous thread cones, the answer is yes.


Your regular sewing machine uses one needle, but most modern sergers have two needles. Using the two needles allows you to adjust the stitch width. A wide stitch is only created when sewing with the left needle, and the stitch is narrower when sewn only with the correct needle.

Both needles create parallel rows of straight stitches, while loopers cast thread around the edges of the fabric. Are you unsure which one to use for what? Our article on how to identify sewing machine needles provides a simple explanation of all the different types of sewing machine needles.


There is a lot of talk about loopers. What are they? Now, let’s come back to that. Most sergers have two loopers for sealing fabric edges. The upper loops thread around the fabric edge, and the lower loops thread around the bottom edge.

Loopers are threaded the same way as needles. While both loopers can be used in some stitches, some use only one method.

Cutting Blade

One of a serger’s best features is its cutting blade. During sewing, sergers have blades that trim the fabric’s edge. Multiple blades are sometimes found on sergers, and they work together.

However, you don’t want to cut your edges when stitching some types of stitching, such as rolled hems. Thus, many models allow you to retract the blade for easy access.

Differential Feed

There is only one set of feed dogs on a regular sewing machine. Fabric is moved through the machine by the feed dogs, which sit below it.

Two sets of feed dogs are on a serger, and each can move at a different speed. The differential feed mechanism allows you to adjust the speed of each set of feed dogs.

Regular sewing requires constant speed for the feed dogs. The fabric might need to be stretched, compressed, or prevented from stretching while you sew. You can adjust the differential feed to achieve this.

High Speed

The average speed of a domestic sewing machine is around 850 stitches per minute. Sergers are usually capable of producing 1,300 stitches per minute on average. This increased speed makes seams and edges more accessible.

Serger Drawbacks

It is a specialized machine called an overlocker. The things it can do have been shown to you, but it cannot do everything.


At the end of the story, an overlocker does the overcasting. An edge sealer and decorative edge tool are specialized tools.

A serger makes topstitching and sewing down the middle of the fabric impossible. Sergers stitch only in straight lines, not at all. They don’t offer decorative embroidery stitches, and neither buttons nor zippers can be attached to them.

Last, serged seams are weaker for woven fabrics than lockstitched seams made by your regular sewing machine, even if you can use a serger. For these reasons, a serger should complement your standard sewing machine rather than replace it.


Using an overlocker is a complicated piece of equipment. Setup can be complex with sergers, and they can be temperamental as well. There is a great deal of complexity involved in threading.

The various threads must be threaded in a specific order. Thread guides on your sewing machine guide each thread along its path. Accessing some of those guides can be challenging. Furthermore, your machine may become unthreaded at an inconvenient time.

Some higher-end serger models offer self-threading, while midrange and lower-end models often have color-coded thread guides. After your machine is threaded and working, this quick threading trick will save time and aggravation.


Overlockers are expensive. A budget serger is generally the same price as a mid-range sewing machine, and it’s impossible to put an upper limit on high-end models. Is a serger necessary? Let us help you decide right now!

Do You Need a Serger?

Are you in need of an overlocker? Do you need one, or can you live without it? What are the best serger sewing machines for your needs and your budget if you’re ready to leap?

The excitement of buying new equipment can be easily misconstrued as a necessity. Would you benefit from a serger? Take a moment to ask yourself a few questions.

  • What type of fabrics do you generally work with?
  • Are you having trouble using the mock overlock stitch on your sewing machine?
  • Do you need a lot of seams to be made quickly and securely?
  • How much decorative edging are you planning to do?
  • Are you interested in learning new technologies?
  • Can you tolerate frustration well?

A serger may be in your future if you answer yes to any of these questions.

What Is The Best Serger for Your Needs?

Knowing how to choose a good serger if you’ve decided to add a serger to your sewing tools is essential. It would be best if you looked for the following features:

Number of Threads

Many seam types of home sewers use their sergers to require only three or four threads. Using a 3-4 serger when making most garments is ideal. A serger handling 3-4 threads is often less expensive than one handling more threads.

If you plan to work with ultralight fabrics, you need a serger that can sew with two threads. You’ll want a serger with four threads or more if you expect to sew heavier fabrics than average.

Built-in Stitches

Sergers come with built-in stitches, just like regular sewing machines. The built-in stitches on these devices can vary, just like those on a regular sewing machine.

Overcast stitches can be done on most sergers using three or four threads. Additionally, you might also want to consider:

  • Two-thread overcast
  • Two and three-thread rolled hem
  • Two, three, and four-thread flatlock
  • Decorative edgings, such as picot edge
  • Blind hem
  • Safety stitch and mock safety stitch.

Built-in Rolled Hem

A rolled hem can finish one layer of fabric for a fancy look. This pattern is used in many scarves. Some sergers can make a rolled hem by removing or switching parts. The adjustment is usually made for you by a switch on some models.

Stitch Width Selection

You can select the width of your stitches with the knob or buttons on your sewing machine. It typically comes down to three types of adjustment when it comes to stitching width with sergers:

  • The stitch finger can be moved, removed, or switched out
  • The width of the cutting blade can be adjusted
  • Choosing between the right and left needles

There are, however, some sergers that come with a convenient knob for adjusting the tension.

Free Arm

Is a free arm necessary on a serger? Some people use it, and others don’t. This feature may be helpful if you use your serger to add collars and cuffs.

Convenience Features

Fiddly and temperamental sergers can be challenging. To make them easier to use, manufacturers have developed various features. A few of our favorites are listed below.


Budget sergers don’t have self-threading, although this is a premium feature. A self-threading serger makes threading as simple as pressing a button with a clever combination of air jets and tubes. However, the threading guide on most sergers is also color-coded, making it easier to thread.

Needle threader

Most regular sewing machines have an automatic needle threader. Some sergers do have one, but they are less common. It’s a nice feature, especially when serger needles are sometimes inconveniently placed.

Auto tension

Tension is one of the most challenging parts of using a serger after threading. Certain stitches, such as flatlock, require tightening looper and needle thread tension.

After selecting a stitch design, some sergers’ tension may be automatically adjusted. I like how convenient it is.

Built-in thread cutter

Most sergers don’t have a built-in thread cutter, so you must use snips to cut the thread. However, some models have a nifty little blade that can trim the ends of your thread.

Retractable cutting blade

Trimming the edges of some serger sewing types, such as rolled hems, is not necessary. The cutting blade on many models can be easily retracted. The blade may, however, have to be removed with some models.

Trim trap

When using a serger, the seam edges are cut according to size. This feature is essential, but it also determines the stitch width, which can create quite a mess.

Some sergers have a trim trap that prevents the trim from falling into your lap, on your table, or the ground. However, you can make your own. Many people’s first serger project is this one! It’s easy and fun!


What is the cost of a serger? Asking how much a car costs is like asking how much a house costs. Premium models can cost as much as a used car, while budget models may cost as much as a mid-range sewing machine.

Sergers shouldn’t be chosen solely based on price. Models vary widely in features, so you should choose one that meets your needs and worry about prices later.

Here Are Two Of Our Favorite Serger Models

To get you started, here are some of our favorite models.

Singer X5004HD

The Singer has made sewing machines in America for over a century. Known for their budget-friendly, well-made machines, they have a good reputation. The Singer X5004HD is a budget serger model worth considering if you’re on a tight budget.

This model offers the following features for the price of a low-end regular sewing machine:

  • The frame is made of heavy-duty metal
  • Serging using 2-3-4 threads
  • A stitch rate of 1300 per minute
  • Built-in rolled hem
  • Stitches built-in with a decent variety
  • It is an affordable, user-friendly, and easy-to-use serger.

Singer Professional 14T968DC

The base model and the Singer Professional 14T968DC will have a slight price difference. Despite that, it offers excellent value for the money spent. The following features are included:

  • There are threads for 2, 3, 4, and 5 threads
  • Tension can be adjusted on the fly
  • A total of four rolled hems are built-in
  • Stitching speed of 1300 stitches per minute.

This sewing machine might be your new favorite if you’re already considering advanced projects.

What Is a Coverstitch Machine?

What Is a Coverstitch Machine?

A cover stitch machine is used to sew together two pieces of fabric cut out to make a new piece of clothing. This sewing machine has an automatic needle threader that feeds the needle into the fabric.

Sergers and cover stitch machines are sometimes called the same thing. Sergers are not cover stitch machines, as they are not a type of machine that stitches. Although the two machines are similar, they are different for different sewing tasks.

How Does a Coverstitch Machine Work?

There are two sides to a cover stitch. A double row of straight stitches is on the right side of the fabric. Chain stitches connect them on the underside.

In the image below, you can see both the right and wrong sides of a cover switch. Using a cover stitch machine’s chain stitch alone is possible, like a regular sewing machine’s straight stitch.

How People Use Coverstitch Machine?

It is possible to use a cover stitch machine and a serger to perform the following tasks:

  • Sewing a blind hem
  • The process of sealing the raw edges of the fabric
  • Decorations of certain types
  • These tasks are done differently by them, and the results differ slightly.

Also, cover stitch machines can do some things that sergers cannot – and vice versa. Coverstitch machines are commonly used for the following purposes:

  1. Topstitching – As mentioned earlier, topstitching cannot be done with a serger. Coverstitch machines are designed for this purpose. In addition to being functional, topstitching is also decorative. This technique can be used for collars, cuffs, hems, and bindings to secure facings and create a sharp edge. A regular sewing machine can also be used for topstitching. A cover stitch machine also seals off the reverse side of the fabric. The result is a professional-looking finish that is secure.
  2. Hemming—Besides using a serger, you can sew a hem using a regular sewing machine. Hemming is the primary function of a cover stitch machine.

What Makes a Coverstitched Hem Different?

The fabric is folded over and topstitched instead of sewn along the edge. A neat, parallel row of straight stitches will appear on the right side of the garment. The fabric edge is bound off with a chain stitch on the back. Trims can also be attached to a cover stitch machine.

  1. Knits and Stretchy Fabrics—Coverstitch machines have differential feeds like sergers, so they can work with knits and stretchy fabrics.
  2. Decorative Stitching – A cover stitch machine can also achieve decorative effects. However, cover stitch machines can create different special effects. A serger sews along the edges of the fabric. Fabric is sewn on top with a cover stitch machine. With a cover stitch machine’s multiple needles, you can make two or three parallel straight stitches, like those found on blue jeans’ pockets and waistbands. The stitch can also be used decoratively if the fabric is sewn face down. Coverstitch machines can create pleats and embellishments because they have differential feeds like sergers. Take a look at it.
  3. “Regular” Sewing – To say you can use a cover stitch machine the same way as a sewing machine is a bit of a stretch. Sometimes, you would use your sewing machine for tasks you can accomplish with a two-thread chain stitch. Among them are:
  • Basting
  • Seaming
  • Decorative stitching

Coverstitch Machine Distinguishing Features

Sergers and cover stitch machines have several similarities, which is why they can be easily confused. However, the differences are pretty obvious if you look closely.

Multiple Needles

A regular sewing machine has only one needle, while two sergers are generally used. However, some budget models only have two needles on a cover stitch machine.

Multiple Threads

Similar to a serger, a cover stitch machine uses multiple threads to sew. Most cover stitch machines can sew two, three, or four threads, but some sewers can use five or more needles.

Chain Stitch

Chain stitching is a significant difference between cover stitch machines and sergers. Chain stitches are similar to straight stitches in construction. Basting your seams can also be done with it. It is also possible to use chain stitches decoratively. A few modern sergers have a chain stitch, but it’s uncommon.

Just One Looper

Coverstitch machines use looper threads instead of bobbin threads like sergers. A serger, however, usually has two loopers that loop thread around the top and bottom edges of the fabric—coverstitch machines loop thread on only one fabric side at a time. As a result, only one looper is required.

No Cutting Blade

Fabric edges are not trimmed as a cover stitch machine sews. There is no cutting blade on it.

Differential Feed

Like sergers, coverstitch machines have two sets of feed dogs and differential feed mechanisms that allow you to vary the speed of each set individually.

High-Speed Sewing

A cover stitch machine is a high-speed sewing machine With an average speed of 1,300-1,500 stitches per minute.

Extended Workspace

Another way a serger differs from a cover stitch machine is its workspace. The serger only sews on fabric edges and trims those edges simultaneously. Putting anything else between the cutting blade and the right needle is impossible and unnecessary.

Unlike regular sewing machines, most cover stitch machines are built more like them. No blades are used, and the fabric edges are not trimmed.

You may need additional room to accommodate fabric to the right of the needles since a cover stitch machine does not only sew fabric edges. This can be achieved with a cover stitch machine.

Coverstitch Machine Drawbacks

There’s nothing like a cover stitch machine for hemming and topstitching. However, it’s not the best tool for every job. A cover stitch machine won’t serge off your seam edges, but the serger can create rolled hems, decorative edges, and lace.

Chain stitches can be used decoratively. In contrast to regular sewing machines, cover stitch machines do not perform decorative embroidery stitches. Although they are easier to thread than a serger, threading a cover stitch machine still requires some learning.

Lastly, cover stitch machines are generally expensive. If you are considering purchasing one, consider your need and whether you will use it.

Do You Need a Coverstitch Machine?

Your regular sewing machine can do a lot of what a coverstitch machine can, for example, topstitching and blind hems. A cover stitch machine might be a good investment, however, if:

  • Make garments and housewares as part of your small business
  • The majority of your work involves hemming and finishing garments
  • Knits and stretchy fabrics are your primary materials.

It’s impossible to beat a cover stitch machine for professional garment finishing. A cover stitch machine could be a worthwhile investment if you sew a lot for your family or amateur drama group.

A Guide to Choosing the Best Coverstitch Machine

In many ways, cover stitch machines are similar to sergers. Other factors to consider, however, include:

Stitch Selection

Those handy chain stitches are what make cover stitch machines so useful. Other than that, however, you’ll have to consider other kinds of stitches. These are some of the stitches that are commonly used on cover stitch machines:

  • Narrow three-thread cover stitch
  • Wide three-thread cover stitch
  • Four-thread cover stitch
  • Throat Space.

Secondly, a cover stitch machine’s throat space differs significantly from an overlocker’s. To the right of the needle, how much space is needed?

A regular sewing machine usually has a space of seven to nine inches to the right of a needle, almost none on a serger, and the maximum size of a cover stitch machine is about five inches.

Convenience Features

Several of a serger’s convenience features make coverstitch sewing more accessible. However, there are a few things to watch out for regarding cover stitching.

Auto tension release

Many users complain about the difficulty of removing work from cover stitch machines once they’ve completed a row. The key is the thread tension.

Using an auto tension release, you can easily remove your work when the tension slackens when you raise the presser foot.

Adjustable presser foot pressure

The feature is on some sergers, cover stitchers, and regular sewing machines. Your machine feeds fabric through the feed dogs held by the presser foot. Adjusting the pressure on a presser foot gives you greater control over fabrics of different weights and thicknesses.


Your cover stitch machine can be made more efficient and fun by adding the following accessories:

  1. Extension table – Some people use cover stitch machines for quilting and decorative stitching since they can be used for regular sewing tasks. By extending your work table, you can see your stitching in a more extensive section.
  2. Knee lifter – Sewing and cover stitch machines that include knee lifters can be a boon to quilters. Metal levers inserted into particular ports are called knee lifters. This port is available on some machines but not all. Your knees will lift and lower the presser foot while your hands remain on your work with a knee lifter.
  3. Presser feet – Here are some presser feet that you might find helpful in cover stitching:
  • Beading foot
  • Blind hem foot
  • Cording foot
  • Cover chain stitch foot
  • Elastic foot.


Cover stitch machines can be expensive because they are specialized equipment. When choosing a serger, consider your needs before considering the price since each model has different features. You can only pay more than you planned if you buy a cheaper machine that doesn’t meet your needs.

A Few of Our Favorite Coverstitch Machines Models

Are you interested in buying? The following are some of our favorite models of cover stitch machines.

Brother 2340CV

This Brother 2340CV could be a good choice if you’re looking for your first cover stitch machine without spending a month’s salary.

It is a three-needle serger that does 2-3-4 cover stitching. Switching fabrics of different weights and thicknesses have color-coded threading and adjustable presser foot pressure.

Brother equipment is well-made and budget-friendly. The 2340CV might be a good option for those on a budget.

Baby Lock Coverstitch

The Baby Lock Cover Stitch is at the other end of the price spectrum. The following features are included in this premium cover stitch machine:

  • 2-3-4 thread stitching
  • Self-threading looper
  • Thread cutter
  • Knob tensioning
  • Auto tension release.

With this model, you don’t have to worry about tedious adjustments, leaving you free to create.

What is a Coverlock Machine?

what is coverlock machines

A coverlock machine is an automatic sewing machine that can sew multiple layers of fabric together. This type of machine has been used for decades in the garment industry.

What Are The Benefits Of Coverlock Machines?

There are many types of sewing machines…regular sewing machines, coverlockers, coverstitchers, etc.

  • We don’t always have enough space to store all of our new equipment, no matter how much fun it is to buy new things. Those with bottomless funds are even fewer.
  • As a result, a cover lock machine might provide a good compromise.
  • A cover lock machine combines the features of a serger and a cover stitch machine.
  • A coverlock machine can be a good compromise since no machine can do everything. In addition, you can save money and space by using it.

Other Names For Coverlock Machines

A Coverlock machine may be referred to by several different names, including “Coverlock serger,” “Coverlocker,” “Coverstitch/Serger Combination,” “Hybrid,” or “Combo.” Hybrids and combos refer to sewing machines with embroidery functions.

How Do Coverlock Machines Work?

It is possible to do many of the same things with a coverlock machine as a serger. Additionally, it can perform some cover stitching. Each model may have a different combination of features. The majority of coverlock machines can, however, do the following:

  • Make a chain stitch
  • Sew overlock stitches
  • Topstitch seams
  • Serge off edges
  • Hem garments
  • Create an edging with decorative details, such as rolled edges
  • Create ruffles and pleats for special effects
  • Even though no machine can do everything, a coverlocker certainly comes close.

How Do People Use Coverlock Machines?

Anyone who wants the most functionality from a single machine can benefit from a coverlock machine. Some of the things people do with their coverlockers are listed below.

Chain stitching

An important and distinctive feature of cover stitch machines is the chain stitch. All coverlockers do this. As with a regular sewing machine, chain stitch can be used for basting, seam sewing, or decorative stitching.


Coverlockers have a mode for overlocking, allowing them to make solid and stretchy seams. It’s easy to assemble clothing and housewares.


Using a coverlocker is like using a serger or a cover stitch machine to hem garments. Coverlockers in the serger model can seal or roll hems, such as lettuce edges or rolled hems. You can, however, create professional, topstitched hems using a coverlocker in cover stitch mode.


Coverlockers and sergers both perform the function of topstitching. Coverlockers can be used to topstitch collars, hems, and cuffs.

Special Effects And Decoration

Do you want to create your lace trim, ruffles, pintucks, and unique special effects? You can do that with a coverlocker.

Perhaps three-needle decorative stitching or decorative chain stitching would be more appealing to you. You’ll be covered with a coverlocker. Overlocker/serger combos can combine all the best parts of both machines.

Coverlock Machine Distinguishing Features

Unlike a cover stitch machine, an overlocker incorporates both features of a serger and a cover stitch machine. A combo machine might include the following features:

Two Modes

A cover stitch is a separate, mutually exclusive process from overlocking. They use the machine and workspace differently. A hybrid cover stitch/serger machine usually lets you choose between sewing and serging modes.

Three Needles

A coverlocker usually has three needles, like a coverstitch machine.

Multiple Threads

Two, three, four, or five threads can be sewn on most hybrid serger/cover stitch machines.

Two Loopers

Coverlockers have two loopers for looping thread around seam edges, similar to sergers.

Differential Feed

Coverstitch and serger machines both have differential feed mechanisms. Each coverlocker combo comes with one.

Cutting Blade

Hybrid overlockers/cover stitch machines have blades that can trim seam edges while in serger mode.

Extended Workspace

With a hybrid, fabric on the right side of the needle will have a larger workspace than on a cover stitch machine.

High-Speed Sewing

An average coverlocker can stitch 1,300 stitches per minute, the same speed as a serger or cover stitch machine.

The Drawbacks Of Using A Coverlock Machine

However, owning a coverlock machine does have some drawbacks:

  1. Complexity—An apparatus with more functions is more complex, and learning curves are steep in this situation. As we’ve already discussed, a coverlocker has two loopers, so users must also learn how to use two separate pieces of equipment. Many people believe the additional functionality justifies the cost. Equipment like this is not for the easily frustrated.
  2. Price – Coverlockers with sergers and cover stitch functions are not inexpensive, though you can find some at the budget level. How much does it cost? Generally speaking, a budget model with a few crossover functions will cost about the same as a mid-level regular sewing machine. Is there a premium model as well? You could spend as much as you would on a used car on that.
    Further, many features can be available from one machine to another. Before buying, you should ensure that the coverlocker you want has everything you need. Check specs carefully before purchasing if you’re serious about buying one.

Coverlock Machines: Do You Need One?

Coverlock machines are a necessity for everyone, right? There might be a coverlock machine on your horizon if any of the following are true for you:

  • In addition to a serger, you also need a cover stitch machine
  • The majority of your work involves knits and stretch fabrics
  • Budget constraints limit your equipment purchases
  • The number of separate machines you have should be minimized.

What to Look For When Buying a Coverlock Machine

Coverstitch/serger combos have many advantages: versatility, value for money, and space savings.

However, there is one significant disadvantage. It depends on the model of the coverlock machine and what features are available. There can be a lot of variation between them.

Be sure to have a list of your dealbreakers before you start shopping, and double-check the specifications of any models you’re considering.

Coverlockers have many of the same features as sergers or cover stitch machines. In addition, keep an eye out for the following:

  • Stitch Selection – Most coverlockers include three- and four-thread coverlock stitches and cover stitches, chain stitches, and chain stitches. You should, however, check the specifications beyond that.

Here are some other stitches you might like:

  • Flatlock
  • Rolled hem
  • Overlocks with two and more than four stitches.

Number of Threads

Consider how many threads you’ll need when choosing a serger or cover stitch machine. On most coverlockers, three or four threads are standard. Using two threads when working with lightweight materials and five or even more when working with heavier materials is possible.

Speed Control

Coverlockers are multipurpose machines. Several models of sewing machines overlap quite a bit with regular sewing machines.

Most sergers do not have sliders to control stitch speed, but some cover stitch and coverlock models do. This feature is handy when stitching tricky bits.

Here Are A Few Of Our Favorite Coverlockers Models

Here are some of the best coverlockers available:

Juki MO-735

Juki was among the first home overlock machines. It is a well-respected brand of sewing equipment for domestic and industrial use.

Among the features of the Juki MO-735 is its combination overlock and cover stitch capability:

  • 2-3-4-5 thread stitching
  • Cover stitching with two and three needles
  • Chain stitch
  • 5-thread safety stitch
  • The threading of chain loopers has been simplified
  • Knife with a retractable upper blade
  • Built-in rolled hem.

Coverlock machines come in various prices, and this model falls somewhere in the middle. It might be a decent, cost-effective option if you’re looking for this combination of features.

Baby Lock Ovation

When money is no object, Baby Lock machines are the best choice. The Baby Lock Ovation serger/cover stitch combo can do almost everything except wash and fold clothes. Your thrills will cost you, but what thrills are they? Take a look:

  • Self-threading
  • Tension automatically
  • 2-3-4-5-6-7-8 thread stitching
  • There are two proprietary decorative stitches available
  • Throat space of five inches
  • Knee lifter
  • Speed control.

The Baby Lock Ovation could become your new best friend if you want a machine to do it all.

Sergers vs. Cover Stitch vs. Cover Lock Machines FAQs

What is the main difference between a sewing machine, a serger, and a cover stitch machine?

A sewing machine is designed for basic sewing tasks, including straight and zig-zag stitches, and is suitable for various fabrics and projects. Conversely, a serger uses multiple threads to create overlock stitches for seam finishing, edging, and hemming, providing professional-looking results and preventing fabric fraying. Coverstitch machines specialize in hemming and topstitching with stretchable stitches, which are ideal for knit fabrics without cutting the fabric edge.

Do I need all three types of machines for my sewing projects?

While a primary sewing machine is essential for most sewing tasks, whether you need a serger or a cover stitch machine depends on your specific sewing needs and projects. Sergers are great for seam finishing and working with knits, whereas cover stitch machines are ideal for professional-looking hems and topstitching. All three can significantly expand your sewing capabilities but are not mandatory for beginners.

Can a serger replace a sewing machine?

No, a serger cannot replace a sewing machine because it is designed for specific tasks like edging, hemming, and seam finishing. While sergers offer advanced features for handling knits and finishing seams quickly, a sewing machine is necessary for fundamental sewing tasks, including installing zippers, buttonholes, and detailed fabric work that a serger cannot perform.

What advantages does a cover stitch machine offer over a serger?

A cover stitch machine provides distinct advantages in hemming and topstitching, especially on stretch fabrics, with its ability to create stretchable stitches that look similar on both sides of the fabric. Unlike sergers, cover stitch machines do not have a blade to cut the fabric, allowing for more precise control over the stitching. They’re handy for achieving a professional finish on hems and decorative stitching on knitwear.

Is it possible to perform cover stitching with a serger?

While some advanced sergers offer a cover stitch option, sergers and cover stitch machines are typically separate because of their distinct functions. Cover stitching requires a specific set-up that not all sergers can accommodate. If you frequently need overlocking and cover stitching capabilities, you might consider a combination machine or purchasing separate machines for each specific task for the best results and convenience.

How do I choose between a mechanical and a computerized sewing machine?

The choice between a mechanical and a computerized sewing machine depends on your sewing preferences, budget, and the complexity of the projects you plan to undertake. Mechanical machines are straightforward, durable, and often less expensive, making them suitable for beginners or those who prefer a hands-on approach. Computerized machines offer advanced features like various stitches, automatic settings, and sometimes embroidery capabilities, catering to more experienced sewers or those undertaking complex projects.


What is the difference between sergers, cover stitch, and coverlock machines? You need to know this!

The market is crowded even when it comes to more specialized sewing machines. Distinguishing between different types of products can sometimes be difficult due to labeling and marketing conventions. Nothing is worse than spending a lot of money on a machine that doesn’t meet your needs.

Keep this in mind:

  • Sergers are used for edging, internal seams, and certain types of decoration.
  • Hemming is the primary job of cover stitch machines.
  • Both features are in coverlock machines but vary from model to model.

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