Can You Use Regular Spools Of Thread On a Serger?

Image of a serger but Can You Use Regular Spools Of Thread On A Serger?A serger thread is significantly different from a regular one. It is finer and smooth to ensure that your seams do not look thick, and has a consistent diameter to provide free movement through the serger’s guides. The thread also works well for sergers as it does not leave much lint that clogs the machine. However, you may be in an emergency, and only a regular thread is available. So, let’s answer the question Can You Use Regular Spools Of Thread On A Serger?

Yes. You can use standard or regular thread pools on a serger machine. The thread may make your stitching work appear thicker. But you will not experience major problems if you use the serger for everyday stitching and sewing projects. Also, regular threads on the machine will enable you to make the lead stitch easily during knit sewing. The practice makes the knits stronger and durable. Thus, a regular thread is useful on a serger device.

When using a regular thread spool for a serger machine, ensure that you use the spool caps over the thread spool. It helps you unwind correctly. Also, exercise caution when using the standard thread as serger threads are two-ply, while common threads are available in three or four-ply.

Find more details on sergers and regular threads in the following sections.

Is Serger Thread the Same as Regular Thread?

Serger thread is not the same as regular thread as they possess different features and perform varying functions. For instance, the serger thread is weaker than the standard thread. Also, whereas the serger thread is only two-ply, regular threads tend to be three-ply. Besides that, serger threads are finer to avoid bulky seams, and they have a consistent diameter.

Serger machines require multiple thread strands to form zigzag patterns at the fabric’s edge to avoid fraying. In addition, you need a thread that offers more professional and cleaner edges quickly. Therefore, a serger thread is unique as it comfortably serves these purposes.

A serger thread is different from a standard thread as it does not leave lint on the machine. Accumulated lint clogs the serger unit, and thus the thread comes in handy. In addition, the special thread accommodates the serger’s interlocking motions.

It glides easily and quickly through the unit and does not tangle on itself. So, you will work with minimum knots and on the fabric’s edges.

Other differences between the threads are evident in their prices and amounts. For example, a regular thread is available in small amounts and quite expensive, whereas a serger thread is cheaper and available in more amounts.

The regular thread can work for a serging unit. But, you should not mind spending more money as such threads cost more and run out quicker than the serging thread.

Additionally, a regular thread is T-34, while a serger thread for general sewing projects is T-27. Therefore, you cannot get mixed up if you carefully check the thread specifications and features.

Although a regular thread is not a perfect alternative for a serger, some stitches will work just fine. They are:

  • Two-Thread Overlock Stitch

This stitching technique will give you flawless finishes, especially on lightweight fabrics. You can get creative and work on simple projects such as handkerchiefs.

However, the stitch will not be as strong and may not be an ideal alternative for permanent seaming.

  • Four-Thread Overlock Stitch

This stitching method is only possible if you have a second needle. It stands out and prides itself as the strongest serging stitches. In addition, the four-thread stitching style is perfect for seaming projects.

It is standard and common for most garments and works well on knits and wovens. So, if you want to achieve durability and flexibility, this is your stitch!

Do You Need a Special Thread for a Serger?

Yes. You need a special thread for your serging unit_it requires a thinner and smoother sewing thread than the standard sewing machine. The thread helps to avoid lumpy seams and stitches on your work.

It also has less lint, and thus your machine does not clog up quickly. On top of that, a serger thread needs to travel through the serger at high speed. Hence, it needs to be smooth.

You also need a unique thread for the serger as the machine has interlocking motions. So, you can only work efficiently with a smooth thread that can glide through the machine effortlessly.

In addition, the sewing machine thread may appear durable and strong but is not economical because the serger needs lots and lots of thread. Therefore, if you don’t want to keep replacing the thread spools, get a serger thread.

One of the famous serger threads to consider in this section is the General-Purpose Thread or All-Purpose Thread. It is the parallel-wound thread spool that you always see at the craft shop.

The thread works well on both regular sewing machines and sergers. In addition, you can also use them for decorative construction, seams, and finishing fabric edges.

I have some tricks that will help you save time and avoid frustrations during sewing. So, how do you select the right quality serger thread?

  • Ensure that you look at the thread properties as a whole such as quality, smoothness, color, and fiber type. You need a special yarn because a serger machine may go at some high-speed sewing. Also, you may want to go after high-speed sewing functions in the serger. Therefore, you need a thread that accommodates such a motion.
  • If you are in doubt on which thread to pick, prioritize smoothness. You want to avoid awkward situations such as bumpy and bulky seam, and a smooth serger thread does the trick. Also, avoid hairy threads as they may cause issues with your serger’s tension disks.
  • Consider a thread with consistent volume levels and thickness. It will help you avoid problems such as skipped seams, breakages, and fraying edges.
  • Quality as a thread attribute should be part of your sewing commandments. I am not referring to expensive threads, as you can comfortably get affordable, high-quality threads. Also, a quality thread assures you of strong seams. It also ultimately add up to your serger’s longevity as you don’t struggle with accumulated lint.

Also, when you are using a serger thread, please consider the following guidelines.

  • Rotate and switch between the thread spools to even out.

Since a serger uses more thread than a regular machine, you need to be alert during the sewing process. Also, bear in mind that the overlocker’s instruments do not use the same thread amount simultaneously. Therefore, please remember to rotate between them.

For instance, the loopers are famous for swallowing the most thread. Luckily, you can manage them by rotating the needle cones with the looper ones.

  • Mind the pins.

It is okay to use pins as they are an essential accessory that holds the fabric together. However, ensure that you leave sufficient space between them and your seam lines.

Your machine may jam if it constantly runs over the pins. Therefore, although you may not see the damage of mishandling pins instantly, the ultimate effects on your serger may be devastating.

Can You Use Any Thread On an Overlocker?

You are at liberty to use any thread on an overlocker as long as it is smooth and even. Such a thread is strong and will accommodate your seaming and hemming needs. More specifically, polyester 120’s and 180s are among the best high-quality threads for an overlocker. The thread is also lint-free, making it ideal for use on an overlocker.

We also have decorative serger threads that come in handy if you have decorative projects. However, it would help if you had a few tricks to help you navigate such projects. So, follow the tips below for more insight.

  • Check whether the fabric weight and type are compatible with the thread weight.
  • One-sided projects require you to use the thread on the upper looper. This thread is usually on the fabric’s right side. On the flip side, if you have a two-sided project, you can use both loopers.
  • Ensure that you read the thread label to verify if it is machine washable, able to be pressed, or dryable.
  • Examine the thread tension and use a test scrap before sewing. Generally, you want to work with a slightly lower tension.
  • Choose a suitable needle and ensure that the thread can pass through the eye comfortably. This exercise helps you save time as you can now quickly thread the serger.
  • Finally, consider getting a thread net to help manage slippery decorative threads that may fall off the spool. Such threads include metal, decorative threads, and rayon threads.

What Thread Should I Use for an Overlocker?

By now, we know that overlockers need a smooth, lint-free, and fine thread. And fortunately, we have special threads in the market that meet this criterion. They include:

  • American & Efird Maxi-Lock Cone Royal Blue Polyester Serger Thread

We cannot ignore this Serger thread whenever we mention good quality. It is 100% polyester and exceptionally soft. In addition, the thread provides a stylish color for all your projects.

American & Efird Maxi-Lock line is mildew resistant and UV-light tolerant: thus offers superior durability attributes. Also, if you need different colors for your projects, then pick a serger thread that contains multiple beautiful colors.

Additionally, a large cone has 3,000 yards and is ready to use.

  • Mandala Crafts Polyester Sewing All Purpose Thread Polyester for Serger and Overlock Machine

This multipack thread is also 100% polyester and features four large spools of not less than 6,000 yards each. It handles hemming, sewing, and seaming upholstery and is available in 21 color shades.

  • Mettler Seracor Polyester Serger Thread 2743 Yard Cone

This thread makes it to the top_it offers exceptional strength and traits that contribute to a beautiful finish on your project. In addition, Mettler is 100% polyester and does not shrink after washing.

It also has excellent tensile strength and matches your serger needs. Besides that, you will enjoy working with the incredible Island green color that the manufacturer provides.

  • American & Efird Maxi-Lock All Purpose Thread Large Spool Pack

This thread pack has the potential to become your favorite. It is a 100% polyester option and accommodates light to medium-heavy weight materials. Also, the all-purpose thread is UV-light and mildew resistant and thus a go-to product for stitching and hemming projects.

Additionally, the large cones deliver a luxurious shiny finish, and every spool has 3,000 yards.

  • Coats & Clark Thread & Zippers Surelock Overlock Thread in Oxford Grey

Coats & Clark thread is perfect for high-speed sewing. It does not leave uneven stitches or bulky seams on your project. The thread is also very strong and offers 3,000 yards of beautiful, smooth strings.

How Many Spools of Thread Do I Need for a Serger?

You need four spools for a serger. New serger owners get shocked when they realize that they cannot work on four-thread overlock construction seams without four spools. However, you do no0t need to use the same kind of threads for the four spools.

Also, please note that the spools on the loopers go fastest. Therefore, it would be best if you go for a bigger spool. In addition, if you have invisible stitches on the project, you can get different thread color shades.

Can You Use Embroidery Thread in a Serger?

The decision to use embroidery thread in a serger depends on the machine. You may risk not getting your desired results if you use the thread. However, sergers such as the Brother 1034D work well with embroidery thread.

Also, embroidery threads are suitable for rolled hems and related projects. So, please ensure that you use it for the right job.

Experts have experimented with the Viking 936. It showed that the thread was weak_it kept breaking, and when stitches formed, they were a little off. Therefore, experts do not recommend this thread on your serger.

Fortunately, you can use multiple threads with various styles and thicknesses on your serger. Therefore, if you want to add an embroidery touch, you can get a suitable machine and complete your work.

NB: An embroidery thread and serger thread are not the same things. They perform different functions and possess varying attributes. Therefore, choose the thread based on your project requirements and deliverables.

How Do You Stretch the Serger Thread?

A serger is the best unit for sewing knits. Three thread or four thread stitches will secure a perfect seam and deliver a good stretch. Also, you can consider a wooly nylon thread, standard serger thread, or any other stretch thread available.

So, how do you go about the job?

  • First, stretch the thread in the bobbin during topstitching or hemming garments that are form-fitting. The exercise will add an amazing stretch amount to your sewing device.
  • Then, use the serger and coverstitch device loopers. Some garments such as leggings and swimwear will have negative ease. In addition, they may pop stitches occasionally if you use cotton or polyester threads. Therefore, you need to use a stretch thread in your loopers to ensure that the stitches stay intact.

Also, if you feel that the stretch thread does not give sufficient stability, feel free to use it in the lower looper.

NB: When using a serger, increase the tension to keep the thread from unraveling as it glides through the looper. Increased tension will also keep the seams from being too loose and thus provide excellent stability.

On the other hand, if you use a coverstitch machine, decrease the tension to keep the top stitches from tunneling. Also, ensure that you test on scrap material to perfect the tension before working on your apparel projects.

How Long Does Serger Thread Last?

The serger thread’s life span is dependent on a few factors. It can go up to ten, thirty, or even fifty years. Therefore, you can enhance the thread’s longevity by knowing these factors and doing whatever it takes to preserve it.

We have environmental and storage-related factors that may ruin your thread. For example, if you expose the thread to moisture, it will rot easily and become weak. Also, if it is not UV and mildew resistant, the thread will slowly fade and not be suitable for any sewing projects.

Let me highlight some storage issues that you should consider for your serger thread.

  • If you toss your thread spools anyhow, you will end up complaining about open spots on your spools and tangles. Therefore, you need to store the accessory in an organized and well-maintained manner.
  • Please refrain from storing the thread lo in drawers, pouches, bags, and containers. Also, ensure that you keep it separate from other spools. This exercise will help avoid lost, tangled, and loose threads.
  • Consider thread racks to store the thread. These racks are user-friendly and offer a super-easy way to store your thread safely. Also, they offer you rows of spool-holders where you hang your thread accessories. In addition, the racks can hang on a wall or sit on a flat surface. So, you can determine where to place them in the workstation.
  • Ensure that you dust the thread racks regularly as they collect dust easily. Dust makes your thread age faster: thus, you want to up your cleaning up game.
  • You can get thread boxes to give you some coverage. They come with small compartments and a lid, which help you arrange your threads and keep them from exposure. Also, they feature spool holders that keep the threads well-organized.

Thread boxes save the thread from dust and light and are an excellent storage option.

  • Simple boxes and drawers will serve the purpose if you ensure that spools are separated from each other. Also, they will preserve the thread as they keep dust away.

NB: Avoid using plastic bags to store your thread. The dust particles and humidity present in the bag are a threat to the thread’s lifespan. Also, the bag’s chemicals will seep into your thread as time goes by and ultimately damage the thread.

Remember that the threads need to breathe. So, a plastic bag is a no-go zone!

In addition, when it comes to shelf life, a good quality thread will last for approximately 50 years. The technological advancements in thread making and preservation make them almost immortal. Just consider the spinning, twisting, and drying technologies and the improvement and evolution of cotton plants’ genetic engineering.

Cotton is a natural fiber and naturally deteriorates with time; therefore, you need to examine whether the cotton threads are good to go. Consider the simple test below:

  • Hold a one-foot thread with your hands. Then quickly pull your hands apart. The thread snaps and breaks crisply; you can use it. On the flip side, if it pulls apart easily and slowly, please throw it away_it is poor quality.

It is essential to conduct these tests because you don’t want to stop your project mid-way. After all, the thread is not working as expected. Also, you don’t want to discover a foreign color hiding in the first layer.

Working with a breaking thread can be very frustrating and time-consuming. Therefore, commit to getting a high-quality thread and store it well.

  • Just a reminder: The primary symptoms of a bad thread are brittleness, bleaching, faded coloring, weakness, and disintegration. Whenever you spot these attributes in a thread, toss it away as it will stress you.

Is There a Thread that Stretches?

Yes. You will interact with stretchy threads in the course of your sewing career. You may not use them as you begin, but you can be sure they will come in handy as you progress.

These threads include textured nylon or textured polyester threads and are ideal for stretchy fabrics. They are also perfect for coverstitch and overedge seams as they give seam elasticity and coverage.

Which is Stronger Nylon or Polyester Thread?

Nylon thread is stronger than polyester and will resist abrasion more than any other fibers available. It also has the best sewability and works well on projects such as bags, footballs, furniture, sandals, shoes, and boots. Therefore, for projects subject to abrasion, get a nylon thread.

However, although polyester fibers are weaker than nylon threads, they have better resistance to UltraViolet rays. Also, note that the strength difference is nominal, and polyester will deliver satisfactorily on projects that require heavy-duty or weight-bearing stitches.

In addition, polyester threads are suitable for outdoor applications such as awnings—boat tarps, tents, and other products that get extended outdoor exposure.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I Use Old Threads?

Yes. You can use old threads, but not for permanent stitches and seams. They come in handy during temporary basting, thread tracing, and other jobs such as tailor’s tacks. Also, you can use old threads for creative DIY projects. For example, you may consider stuffing your pillow or dog’s bed with old threads.

Therefore, do not just throw away your old threads; they are useful in areas other than sewing.

  • Can A Serger Sew Without Cutting?

Sergers usually trim, but if you don’t allow them to trim at least ½ a whisker, they may mess up your work.

In addition, it is always wise to serge next to the fabric edge. This practice is useful for elastics since you don’t want to risk cutting even a little portion of the edge.

  • Which Is Better? Cotton Or Polyester Thread?

Whichever thread you use depends on the fabric in question. For instance, if you are working on cotton fabric, then it is evident that you need a cotton thread. On the flip side, if your material is of artificial fiber or polyester, then please use a polyester thread.

However, you will observe that the polyester fiber is stronger than the natural thread. So, if you interchange the thread and fabric, the stronger polyester thread will break the weaker cotton fiber of the garment.

  • Do Sergers use bobbins?

Sergers do not use bobbins. Instead, they have looper threads, which help to lock the needle thread in its correct position.


Regular sewing threads and serger threads are among the most common threading accessories. They may seem similar, but they have varying features that allow them to serve different purposes. However, some specific scenarios may tempt you to use one in place of the other. Thus, the question.

Can You Use Regular Spools Of Thread On A Serger?

Regular threads can come to your rescue if your serger thread runs out. However, you need to consider the risks involved. The threads are more expensive and will run out faster than serger threads. They are also thicker and have more lint, which is not good for your serger machine. Therefore, if you must use a regular thread on a Serger, let it be one of those midnight emergencies.

Additionally, an easy way out of the thread quagmire is learning how to match the thread specifications with the fabric requirements. So, get the right thread and get started!

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