Different serger stitches and how to create them

Serging Infographic: Different serger stitches and how to make them, with sergerpepper.com on sewmccool.com

Today we have a real treat – MammaNene (Irene) of SergerPepper brings us another fabulous lesson in using our sergers to their maximum potential! I’ve already learned a lot from her fantastic infographic, and the rest of her post on learning different serger stitches is just as mind-blowing.


Take it away, MammaNene!

Hi there!

I’m MammaNene @ SergerPepper, coming back after last month’s guest post about serger tensions, that I hope you appreciated (can I thank you for the truck load of visits I had from there? You’re amazing!)

Just to complete the serger scenery, today I’d like to describe you all the other fun stitches I have on my serger (and chances are that you have the same stitches on yours), just because you can use your serger for finishing seams (and it’s ok) but: a serger can do a lot of other fun things, other than a 4-threads or a 3-threads overlock.

When I was approaching my serger, I’ve searched the web for an infographic collecting all those fancy stitches in one place, but I wasn’t able to find it! What could I do? Create one all by myself!

I hope you’ll enjoy my Cheat Sheet on different serger stitches. You can (and should) pin it and bookmark it for future reference!

I’m giving you some guidelines for using your serger’s stitches; for each one I’m listing:

  • needles and loopers tension numbers;
  • if a stitch finger is required, and which one;
  • if a two-thread convertor is needed;
  • if you have to engage/disengage your knife;
  • your overedge cutting width and stitch length.

Consider that numbers I give are the settings I use for different serger stitchs; maybe you need to adjust them. Then keep them just for reference.

Like last time, I’ve threaded my serger using the same color code I have on my machine:

green (left needle)

yellow (right needle)

blue (upper looper)

violet (lower looper)

I hope this will help you identify which thread goes where, in every stitch!

I use a Necchi Lock 181, you are probably using a different brand/model: refer to your serger’s manual to see if your knobs/tools are different from mine and mark down any eventual difference.

Take your manual now, and search for:


In my serger it’s placed on the left side of the machine and goes from 4 to 7 mm.

Tip: if fabric’s edge curls while sewing, you need to make it smaller; if you see loops hanging off the edge, make it wider!

PHOTO 1 - Serger Pepper - Stitches 101 - 1overedge width cut



In my serger is placed on the opposite side of the machine, on the right, and goes from 1 to 5 (plus 2 special positions: P and R: we’ll see later when we can use them).

The higher the number (normally) the longer the stitch!

My thread tension dials goes from 0 (no tension) to 9 (stronger tension).

Check my latest guest post if you need help to locate which thread needs a change in tension.

PHOTO 2 - Serger Pepper - Stitches 101 - stitch length




PHOTO 3 - Serger Pepper - Stitches 101 - stitch finger

Your serger should have a thicker stitch finger on (A, below) but in most models you can change it to a smaller one (or none at all), depending on the stitch you’re planning to use and the material thickness.

As a rule of thumb, for georgette, chiffon and lightweight fabrics in general you could experience loops hanging off the edge while using a 2-thread or 3-thread (right needle) and using a medium-low cutting width. Change to the narrower stitch finger and your stitch will certainly be better (mine is B).

PHOTO 4 - Serger Pepper - Stitches 101 - stitch fingers A B

For a narrow hem, a rolled hem (2 or 3 threads) or a picot hem you can sew without any stitch finger on (or use the narrower – B).

Put away the stitch finger you’re not using in its case (mine goes side by side with the 2-thread converter), so you won’t lose it!


PHOTO 5 - Serger Pepper - Stitches 101 - stitch finger case


In my serger I have a little gadget to add if I want to by-pass the upper looper.

This is useful for 2-threads overlock, 2-threads narrow hem and also for 3-thread super stretch stitch, because it is the only stitch that requires 2 needles plus 1 looper (the lower one).

Here’s where I have to place the gadget:

PHOTO 6 - Serger Pepper - Stitches 101 - convert to 2 threads 1

Here’s the gadget in place:

PHOTO 7 - Serger Pepper - Stitches 101 - convert to 2 threads 2

And this is the label, reminding how to place it, right inside the serger.

PHOTO 8 - Serger Pepper - Stitches 101 - convert to 2 threads 3

Check on your manual if you have something like this and how to convert your serger for sewing with only the lower looper.


Blade engaged:

PHOTO 9 - Serger Pepper - Stitches 101 - blade engaged

In some situations you’ll need to disengage the blade (i.e. when you need to sew a flatlock decorative stitch right in the middle of a garment): check your manual because I was pretty sure mine was hard to do and tricky, but I discovered that I only need to push the stud toward the blade and turn it to put it out of the way and sew without cutting edges.

Push and turn:

PHOTO 10 - Serger Pepper - Stitches 101 - push and turn

Blade disengaged:

PHOTO 11 - Serger Pepper - Stitches 101 - blade disengaged

Tip: When your blade is disengaged, pay attention to your seam allowances so they’re not wider than the overedge width you’ve selected (see point 1), or you can damage your needle and/or the upper looper!



– Different fabrics and threads can need tension adjustments.

– When you need to adjust tensions/overedge cutting dial and stitch length, usually a little fine tuning will give huge improvement to your stitch.

Thicker thread needs less tension.

– If you experience skipping stitches, adjust tensions first.

– Always make sure your needle is inserted through and through.

– Always reposition everything as if you’re going to sew a 4-thread stitch at the end of the day, before closing your serger (needle, tensions, width and length), it’s easy to forget something!

I’ve sewn without my finger stitch for a while, before I noticed it!

– On serger stitches with one only needle, choose which one you’re going to use considering your thread’s and fabric’s thickness: use the left one with thicker and the right one for lighter ones.


  1. when you are sewing without using one of the needles, remove it and completely close the screw, to be sure it’s not falling down inside the serger;
  2. in the same way, completely un-thread the unused thread and wind it on its spool;
  3. LAST, BUT NOT LEAST: tweezers are your best friends!

Now, let’s master all those funny stitches.

Please pin this infographic, share it if you like it <3


Different serger stitches and how to make them, with sergerpepper.com on sewmccool.com

Now that you know everything about your serger stitches, you have no more excuses:

take it out from its box and use it… can’t wait to see your creations!

See you next time, then!

I’ll be back with a tutorial that will use some of those fun stitches we’ve discovered today!

Hugs from Italy,

MammaNene @ SergerPepper


To make sure you don’t miss any great posts, please follow SewMcCool by e-mail (the link is at the top of the right-hand column) or join me on BlogLovin’ – the button is just below the e-mail feed box! :)




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  1. says

    Thanks for the tutorial! It is so easy to follow the different stitches with the pictures.

    I love my serger, but I used to have a love-hate relationship with her for years! Funny story: I got a $1,300 valued Pfaff for $100 just because the original owner did not know how to use it. I could not believe my luck that day! :) – I am glad she did not know about you guys LOL
    Daniela Gutierrez-Diaz recently posted…What’s newMy Profile

  2. Anut says

    Greetings form Prague, Czech Rep!
    Thanks for this tutorial. I´m very helpless, face to face my new serger :-) Your tutorials about sewing knits are wonderful, with good visual pics. Please, continue with sharing! I intercede for downloadable version in pdf format, like your “Inserting elastic”.
    So, now I finally have the courage to invade my ottobre 😉


    • Deanna McCool says

      Thank you, Anut! So happy to help with knits – yes, invade that Ottobre and have FUN with your serger!

  3. jan west says

    I’ve been sewing for many many years and thought I knew all there was to know about my sergers – but thanks to your helpful and simple advice I’ve discovered some tips that’ll only help me get even more from them! Thank you for being so generous.


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