Book Review: Successful Serging: From Setup to Simple and Specialty Stitches

Successful Serging: From Setup to Simple and Specialty StitchesToo afraid to try serging? Join the crowd. But let’s face it: serging makes your projects look more professional. Beth Ann Baumgartel’s book Successful Serging turns fearful seamstresses into confident masters of the serging machine.

There’s a lot covered in this book, and it’s a valuable tool for anyone who works on garments and home décor items.

Quick Facts about Successful Serging

  • Author: Beth Ann Baumgartel
  • Pages: 128
  • Publisher: Creative Publishing Int’l
  • Spiral-bound

What You’ll Learn from This Book

Spanning 128 pages, Beth Ann covers a lot of material in her handy reference guide. I love that it’s spiral-bound, so the book stays open while you work.

Each page contains useful information on how to get started with serging, which makes this a great tool for newbies. If you already have some experience with serging, you may not get as much out of this book as you would have hoped.

Beth Ann educates readers on how serger machines work, and she also covers the different styles that are available. Of course, she also goes over all of the wonderful stitches – both functional and decorative – that you can use.

One unique thing about her book – and this is something that we all can appreciate – is the charts. These easy-to-follow and easy-to-find charts are quick guides on thread choices, the best stitches for different fabrics and the best accessories to have.

Let’s take a closer look at each section, so you can get a better idea of what you’ll learn from this book.

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About Serging Machines

The first section is fittingly called “About Serging Machines,” and it’s broken down into subsections.

What is a Serger?

Beth Ann covers the basics about these machines, including its capabilities, anatomy, knives, needles and presser feet. This part is a bit technical in nature, but still good information to learn. The more you know about a machine, the easier it is to use.

Serger Thread

In this section, you’ll learn all about buying thread for your machine, choosing colors and weights, and working with decorative stitches. She includes helpful information on decorative threads and how to use them properly.

Threading Made Easy

No one likes threading, but it’s a necessary evil when serging. In this section, you’ll learn different threading techniques, including how to thread from scratch and thread by tying. You’ll also learn how to rethread looper threads.

Serger Stitches

The Serger Stitches chapter is broken down into three main sections:

  • The Perfect Stitch: Covers stitch width and length adjustments as well as differential feed and pressor foot pressure.
  • Balancing Thread Tension: A primer on using tension controls, finding the right tension level, and adjusting the overlock stitch.
  • Basic Serger Stitches: Learn about different stitch types and how to use them, including seaming, combination, cover, edge-finishing and rolled-edge.

Starting to Serge

The “meat” of the book, where you learn all about the serging process. Beth Ann covers everything, from preparation to techniques.

This chapter is broken down into a few main sections:


In this section, you’ll learn about safety and how to do test samples. She also covers:

  • Starting
  • Finishing
  • Trimming fabric
  • Stitching
  • Securing thread tails by hand and by machine
  • Removing stitches

Stitching Techniques

In the stitching techniques chapter, you’ll really start to master serging. Beth Ann talks about:

  • Edge-finishing seams
  • How to do the basic serger seam
  • Basting
  • Working on corners, curves and circular edges
  • How to prevent stretched or puckered fabric

Construction Techniques

In the final section of this main chapter, you’ll learn all about:

  • Hemming
  • Gathering
  • Specialty seams
  • Flatlock techniques
  • Applying elastic
  • Cover stitch and rolled-edge techniques
  • Inserting a zipper

Along with these chapters, the author also has a troubleshooting section and a chapter on specialty fabrics and embellishments

As you can see, this is a complete reference that any beginner will appreciate. It’s a big book that covers a lot of information and includes beautiful full-color photos.

If you’ve always wanted to use a serging machine but have been too afraid to take the dive, Beth Ann’s book Successful Serging: From Setup to Simple and Specialty Stitches can be your guide. The author’s writing style is easy to follow, and she covers just about every aspect of getting started.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to get started with serging. Visit here if you would like to see other sewing books we recommend.

Click here to purchase Successful Serging from Amazon

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