Sergers are an amazing asset. They finish seams, cut off excess fabric and do it all quickly (much quicker than my sewing machine anyway). A serger upped my sewing game, and I had no idea how much I would love having this machine.

I only sewed for my immediate family so I kept convincing myself a serger wasn’t worth the money for me since my seams didn’t need to look perfect. For Christmas my husband was bugging me to tell him what I wanted.

I’m usually a very practical person but honestly couldn’t think of a single practical thing that I wanted. I happened to be on Amazon and saw the Brother 1034d on sale one day and spontaneously sent it to him. He got it and I have not looked back or regretted the purchase. Once I learned the machine, the biggest problem I was finding was the serger seams pulled apart and were visible on the right side of the fabric.

Have you ever put on a garment and the seams pull apart and threads are showing on the right side of the fabric? Have you been told the ONLY fix to this is to have All your serger thread match all of your fabrics? Let’s talk about both woven and knit fabrics and how to fix this problem and much more cost effectively than buying 4 spools of every thread color you could ever need.

Serger Troubleshooting -  Why do Serger (Overlocker) Seams pull Apart?
Serger Troubleshooting

Knit fabric seams

There are a few reasons why knit fabric seams pull apart. First you want to have ballpoint or stretch needles in your serger. You need the correct needle for the type of fabric you are working with. If you are serging knit fabric you most likely want to be able to stretch somewhat. First and foremost, you need to make sure what you are doing to fix the problem with your seam is NOT affecting the stretch of that seam.

Check your tension

For starters, check the tension. When I say tension I mean left needle tension only! The problem is you have to balance increasing the tension while still allowing the fabric to stretch. For example, double brushed polyester fabric for me with a tension of 3 gives a good stretch. However, a left needle tension of 4 does not allow my hem to stretch and it stretched too far will break.

The problem is a tension of 4 is too high, but a tension of 3 is causing the serger seams to pull apart and show on the right side of the fabric.

I have heard many people say you just have to match your thread colors to your fabric to prevent those seams from being visible. I have a trick that keeps you from having to buy any other serger thread using only one spool of matching thread. And I use general all purpose sewing machine thread so I don’t have to spend $10 or more on serger thread.

Change thread color

You want to replace only the left needle thread with your all purpose thread to match your fabric. So much more cost effective because I already had this color at home. It saved me from having to change out all 4 thread colors! Which as we all know with the serger can be the most time-consuming part!

Now when you serge your fabric you will see that the left needle here is navy blue (bottom seam in the photo below). The (top seam in the photo below) shown is all beige, which is what was showing through on the right side of the fabric shown above.

You wouldn’t think changing the color of only one of four threads would make a big difference. It does and makes a huge difference in the seam visibility!

The final product is much more appealing. Honestly and a big plus is changing only one thread color is SO cost effective and time saving!

Woven fabric seams

This is a much simpler fix over knit fabric seams. For a woven garment this is as simple as increasing your left needle tension. It depends on your fabric type, but I know for me it can be the difference in a left needle tension on 3 and 4.5. You wouldn’t think that little adjustment could make a difference, but it does! Try a tension closer to 4.5 for your cotton fabric to see if you notice a different.

A serger isn’t only great for making beautiful seams, but it works SO EASILY to gather fabric WITHOUT the need to buy a gathering foot. Gather the fabric to the EXACT length you need everytime. Learn more about the easiest way to gather fabric with a serger check it out here.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial! I hope it helped you to make your serged seams less visible.

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