The Difference Between Serger, Coverstitch, and Coverlock Machines
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What’s The Difference Between Serger, Coverstitch, and Coverlock Machines

Recently updated on October 30th, 2022

There are several types of sewing machines, but sergers are the most common. In addition to coverstitch sergers, you might also come across coverlock machines. Many people mistakenly use these terms interchangeably, which we’ll explain in this post.

TL;DR: 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.”

A coverstitch machine is a standalone piece of sewing equipment that sewists use to hem garments made with stretch fabrics professionally. Sergers and sewing machines are actually quite different even though they look similar. A blade isn’t present, and some will have more than two needles. A single looper is also used to operate it.

In essence, coverlock machines are hybrids of sergers and coverstitching machines. A coverstitch machine offers a space-saving, economical alternative to buying both a serger and a coverstitch machine, even though no device can do everything.

A coverstitch serger differs from a serger (or an overlocker, as these are two different types of machines). Even though they perform similar functions (both can hem garments, for instance), they differ in how they accomplish these tasks.

In addition, neither of them performs the same functions as a regular sewing machine – at least not in the same way. A coverstitch machine can make a wider variety of stitches than an overlocker. Likewise, the reverse is true. It may be hard for you to understand every term we use, so you can check our sewing glossary in this case.

Sergers are basically machines that stitch fabric together. What are they? Can you tell me what it does? What are the differences between coverstitch machines? How does a coverlock machine work?

The most important question is, do you really need any of them? Do you need to choose a good one if you decide you do?

We at SewingWithEase will lay it all out for you.

What is a Serger?

A serger is an industrial sewing machine used for making 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? There are a variety of things you can do with a serger.

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 serger synonyms.

What Does a Serger Do?

Using a serger, you can sew overlock or overcast stitches using 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.

A three-thread overlock stitch is illustrated below. 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. Two, three, and four threads can be sewn with most home overlockers.

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 if you use mostly knit fabrics. Some of the things that can be done with a serger are listed below:


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

Besides being stress- and strain-resistant, serged seams also look good. As well as protecting your fabric edges from fraying, they also prevent them from unraveling. As well as invisible hems on garments, sergers can be used to hem scarves and other accessories with rolled hems.


The specialty of a serger is edging. An edge is what a serger does best, whether it’s creating different kinds of 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. With a narrow stitch width and increased differential feed (i.e., more stretch), you can make a lettuce edge

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 warps 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 as well as bunching, gathering, and warping your fabric edge.

Serger Special Effects

Despite its functionality, sergers can be fun as well as functional. There are a number of 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 a variety of 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

Compared to a regular sewing machine, what makes a serger different? There are quite a few things to consider. Let’s take a look at it.

Multiple Threads

Typically, a sewing machine sews using a spool of top thread and a bobbin of bottom thread. There is no bobbin on a serger. Sewing is done with either needle threads or loopers that guide the threads. In a moment, we’ll discuss loopers in more detail.

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


One needle is used by your regular sewing machine. There are usually two needles on most modern sergers. It is possible to adjust the stitch width using the two needles. A wide stitch is only created when sewing with the left needle. The stitch is narrower when sewn only with the correct needle.

Parallel rows of straight stitches are created by using both needles, while loopers are used to cast thread around the edges of the fabric. Are you unsure which one to use for what? For a simple explanation of all the different types of sewing machine needles, read our article on how to identify sewing machine needles.


There is a lot of talk about loopers. In the first place, what are they? Now let’s circle back to that. Most sergers have two loopers for sealing fabric edges. Using the upper looper, the thread is looped around the fabric edge. Around the bottom edge, the lower looper loops thread.

Loopers are threaded the same way as needles. It is possible to use both loopers in some stitches. One is the only method used by others.

Cutting Blade

A serger’s cutting blade is one of its best features. During sewing, sergers have blades that trim the fabric 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 provide the option of retracting 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.

There are two sets of feed dogs on a serger, and each can move at a different speed. You can adjust the speed of each set of feed dogs using the differential feed mechanism.

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

High Speed

Around 850 stitches per minute are the average speed of a domestic sewing machine. Sergers are usually capable of producing 1,300 stitches per minute on average. Seams and edges are made more accessible by this increased speed.

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.


Overcasting is done by an overlocker, end of the story. An edge sealer and decorative edge tool are specialized tools.

Topstitching and sewing down the fabric’s middle are impossible with a serger. Stitching only in straight lines? Not at all. As for decorative embroidery stitches, sergers don’t offer them. Neither buttons nor zippers can be attached with a serger.

Last but not least, serged seams are weaker for woven fabrics than lockstitched seams made by your regular sewing machine, even if you can use a serger for them. For these reasons, a serger should complement your standard sewing machine rather than replace it.


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

There is a specific order in which the various threads must be threaded. There are thread guides on your sewing machine that guides each thread along its path. It can be challenging to access some of those guides. Furthermore, your machine may become unthreaded at an inconvenient time.

Self-threading is available on some higher-end serger models. Machines with color-coded thread guides are often found in midrange and lower-end models. Using this quick threading trick after your machine is threaded and working will save a lot of time and aggravation.


There is a high cost associated with overlockers. It is generally the same price to buy a budget serger as it is to buy a mid-range sewing machine. It’s impossible to put an upper limit on high-end models. Is a serger really necessary? Let us help you make a decision 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 make the 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 regular sewing machine?
  • Are you in need of 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. You should look for the following features:

Number of Threads

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

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

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

One layer of fabric can be finished off with a rolled hem for a fancy look. There are a lot of scarves with this pattern. A rolled hem can be made with some sergers by removing parts or switching them around. 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

On a serger, is a free arm really necessary? There are people who use it and those who 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, it’s still worth mentioning. 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

On most regular sewing machines, there is an automatic needle threader. Some sergers do have one, but they are less common. It’s a nice feature to have, 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, the tension may be automatically adjusted on some sergers. I really like how convenient it is.

Built-in thread cutter

You have to use your snips to cut the thread on most sergers since they don’t have a built-in thread cutter. The ends of your thread can be trimmed using a nifty little blade on some models.

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 the size. The stitch width is determined by this feature, which is essential. As a result, quite a mess is created.

The trim trap on some sergers prevents the trim from falling into your lap, on your table, or on the ground. It is, however, possible to 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 cost 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 on the basis of price. Models vary widely in features, so you should choose one that meets all of 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 been making sewing machines in America for more than a century. Known for their budget-friendly, well-made machines, they have a good reputation. The Singer X5004HD is a budget serger model that’s 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 serger that is straightforward and easy to use.

Singer Professional 14T968DC

There will be a slight price difference between the base model and the Singer Professional 14T968DC. In spite of 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 thinking about advanced projects.

What Is a Coverstitch Machine?

What Is a Coverstitch Machine?

A coverstitch machine is used to sew together two pieces of fabric that have been 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 coverstitch machines are sometimes called the same thing. Sergers are not coverstitch machines, as they are not a type of machine that stitches. Although the two machines have some similarities, they are different machines for different sewing tasks.

How Does a Coverstitch Machine Work?

There are two sides to a coverstitch. There is a double row of straight stitches 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 coverstitch. It is possible to use a coverstitch machine’s chain stitch alone, much like a regular sewing machine’s straight stitch.

How People Use Coverstitch Machine?

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

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

Also, coverstitch machines are capable of some things that sergers are not – and vice versa. Coverstitch machines are commonly used for the following purposes:

  1. Topstitching – Topstitching cannot be done with a serger, as we mentioned earlier. 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. The reverse side of the fabric is also sealed off by a coverstitch machine. The result is a professional-looking finish that is secure.
  2. Hemming – In addition to using a serger, you can also sew a hem using a regular sewing machine. Hemming is the primary function of a coverstitch machine.

What Makes a Coverstitched Hem Different?

The fabric is folded over on itself 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 with a coverstitch machine.

  1. Knits and Stretchy Fabrics – Coverstitch machines have differential feeds, just like sergers. In the same way, knits and stretchy fabrics can be worked with it.
  2. Decorative Stitching – Decorative effects can also be achieved with a coverstitch machine. However, coverstitch machines can create different special effects. A serger sews along the edges of the fabric. Fabric is sewn on top with a coverstitch machine. With a coverstitch 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 coverstitch machine the same way as a sewing machine is a bit of a stretch. In some cases, you would use your sewing machine for tasks that you can accomplish with a two-thread chain stitch. Among them are:
  • Basting
  • Seaming
  • Decorative stitching

Coverstitch Machine Distinguishing Features

There are a number of similarities between sergers and coverstitch machines, which is why it’s easy to confuse them. The differences are pretty obvious, however, if you look closely.

Multiple Needles

There is only one needle on a regular sewing machine. Two sergers are generally used. However, some budget models only have two needles on a coverstitch machine.

Multiple Threads

Similar to a serger, a coverstitch machine uses multiple threads to sew. Two, three, or four threads can be sewed on most coverstitch machines. Five or more needles can be used by some sewers.

Chain Stitch

Chain stitching is a significant difference between coverstitch 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 come equipped with a chain stitch, but it’s not common.

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 side of the fabric at a time. As a result, only one looper is required.

No Cutting Blade

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

Differential Feed

Coverstitch machines have two sets of feed dogs, just like sergers. Coverstitch machines, like sergers, have differential feed mechanisms that allow you to vary the speed of each set individually.

High-Speed Sewing

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

Extended Workspace

A serger’s workspace is another way in which it differs from a coverstitch machine. The serger only sews on fabric edges, and it trims those edges at the same time. Putting anything else between the cutting blade and the right needle is impossible. It’s not necessary.

As opposed to regular sewing machines, most coverstitch machines are built more like them. No blades are used, and the edges of the fabric are not trimmed.

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

Coverstitch Machine Drawbacks

There’s nothing like a coverstitch machine for hemming and topstitching. It’s not the best tool for every job, however. It won’t serge off your seam edges for you with a coverstitch machine. On the other hand, the serger can create rolled hems, decorative edges, and lace.

Chain stitches can be used decoratively. In contrast to regular sewing machines, coverstitch machines do not perform decorative embroidery stitches. Despite being easier to thread than a serger, threading a coverstitch machine still requires some learning.

Lastly, coverstitch machines are generally expensive. Consider your need and whether you will actually use it if you are thinking of purchasing one.

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 coverstitch machine might be a good investment, however, if:

  • Make garments and/or 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 coverstitch machine when it comes to professional garment finishing. For example, it could be a worthwhile investment if you do a lot of sewing for your family or amateur drama group.

A Guide to Choosing the Best Coverstitch Machine

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

Stitch Selection

Those handy chain stitches are what make coverstitch 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 coverstitch machines:

  • Narrow three-thread coverstitch
  • Wide three-thread coverstitch
  • Four-thread coverstitch
  • Throat Space.

Secondly, the throat space of a coverstitch machine differs significantly from that of an overlocker. To the right of the needle, how much space is needed?

There is usually a space of seven to nine inches to the right of a needle on a regular sewing machine. There are almost none on a serger. The maximum size of a coverstitch machine is about five inches.

Convenience Features

Coverstitch sewing is made easier by several of the convenience features of a serger. However, there are a few things to watch out for when it comes to coverstitching.

Auto tension release

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

By 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 found on some sergers and coverstitchers and on many regular sewing machines. Your machine feeds fabric through the feed dogs held in place by the presser foot. Being able to adjust the pressure on a presser foot gives you greater control over fabrics of different weights and thicknesses.


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

  1. Extension table – Some people use coverstitch machines for quilting and decorative stitching since they can be used for some regular sewing tasks. By extending your work table, you can see your stitching more clearly in the context of a more extensive section.
  2. Knee lifter – Sewing and coverstitch 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 coverstitching:
  • Beading foot
  • Blind hem foot
  • Cording foot
  • Cover chain stitch foot
  • Elastic foot.


The cost of coverstitch machines can be high since they are specialized pieces of 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

Interested in buying? The following are some of our favorite models of coverstitch machines.

Brother 2340CV

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

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

Equipment made by Brother is well-made and budget-friendly. For those on a budget, the 2340CV might be a good option.

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 coverstitch 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?

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

What Are The Benefits Of Coverlock Machines?

There are so many types of sewing machines…regular sewing machines, overlockers, 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 coverlock machine might provide a good compromise.
  • Basically, a coverlock machine combines the features of a serger and a coverstitch 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.” You should be aware that hybrids and combos also 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 with a serger. Additionally, it can perform some coverstitching. 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
  • Despite the fact that 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.


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


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


Using a coverlocker is like using a serger or a coverstitch 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 coverstitch 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 own lace trim, ruffles, pintucks, and other serger special effects? You can do that with a coverlocker.

Perhaps three-needle decorative stitching or decorative chainstitching 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 coverstitch machine, a coverlocker incorporates both features of a serger and a coverstitch machine. A combo machine might include the following features:

Two Modes

A coverstitch is a separate, mutually exclusive process from overlocking. There is a difference in how they use the machine and how they use the workspace. In most cases, a hybrid coverstitch/serger machine allows you to choose between sewing or 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/coverstitch 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/coverstitch 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 coverstitch machine.

High-Speed Sewing

An average coverlocker can stitch 1,300 stitches per minute, which is the same speed as a serger or coverstitch 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. Learning curves are steep in this situation. There are two loopers on a coverlocker, as we’ve already discussed. It is also necessary for users to learn how to use two separate pieces of equipment. Does the additional functionality justify the cost? There are many people who believe this. A piece of equipment like this is not for those who are easily frustrated.
  2. Price – Coverlockers with sergers and coverstitch 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, a wide range of features can be available from one machine to another. You should ensure that the coverlocker you want has everything you need before buying it. Check specs carefully before making a purchase 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 coverstitch 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 coverstitch machines. In addition, keep an eye out for the following:

  • Stitch Selection – Most coverlockers include three- and four-thread overlock stitches as well as 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 coverstitch machine. On most coverlockers, three or four threads are standard. It’s possible to use two threads when working with lightweight materials and five or even more when working with heavier materials.

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 coverstitch and coverlock models do. When stitching tricky bits, it definitely comes in handy.

Here Are A Few Of Our Favorite Coverlockers Models

Here are some of the best coverlockers available:

Juki MO-735

Among the first home overlock machines, Juki is a well-respected brand of sewing equipment for both domestic and industrial use.

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

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

Coverlock machines come in a wide variety of 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. Almost everything except washing and folding clothes can be done with the Baby Lock Ovation serger/coverstitch combo. Your thrills will definitely cost you, but what thrills they are. 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’re looking for a machine that can do it all.


What is the difference between sergers, coverstitch machines, and coverlock machines? This is what you need to know!

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. There is nothing 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 coverstitch machines.
  • There are features of both in coverlock machines, but they vary from model to model.

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