To Serge or to ZigZag?


To serge or to zigzag – that is the question;
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slips and issues of outrageous thread nests,
Or to take needle against a sea of jersey
And, by zigzagging, attach.*

Having made a couple of knit tops recently, I’ve been thinking about how I sew them.  Some styles just seem to lend themselves to being sewn on a serger, and others I do on the regular machine, with a zigzag stitch.  What’s my criteria for this?  What’s your criteria for this?  What causes you to change up your sewing method?

On some patterns, it’s the seam allowance that seems to guide me (pun intended) – there’s no reason to have 5/8 inch seams on a t-shirt so I use the serger to lop off the excess.   On other patterns with small seam allowances (Kwik Sew, Jalie), I”ll sometimes just stitch.  The recent Kwik Sew 3790 was sewn with a zigzag stitch.

Other times, it’s the number of pieces and the intricacy of the pattern.  Are there lots of bits to be inserted oddly?  Sewing Workshop Teagarden T comes to mind.

The fabric is a consideration.  Does it tend to slide all over the place?  Does it need the extra weight provided by a serged seam, or the stability of a zigzagged one?  Is more, or less control required when attaching sections together?

I have, in the past, completely abandoned one sewing method for another.  That hasn’t happened so much lately, so I guess I’ve learned, but I still can’t identify what the criteria is that says Zig versus Serge.  Knits don’t ravel, so really, why serge at all?

But we do.

*apologies to Ol’ Will

2 responses »

  1. what is in a name? that which we call a serge by any other would be a zig zag… hee, hee! Sometimes I serge for the trimming as you mention. Complicated/convoluted…yes, I sew. Recently using the Jalie patterns I decided to use a 3-thread serge. I can make it narrow – I like the seam finished and stretchy. I did go back and sew some areas for stability.

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