Changing Serger Thread Color – A Tutorial

Threading a serger can be super intimidating.  Sergers have really come down in price over the years so I assume the reason many sewers don’t have one is the fear factor of threading.  And it never fails, that whenever you need to serge a piece of fabric, the wrong color thread is in the machine so changing thread color is a frequent occurance in my sewing room.

Here I’ve got brown thread loaded into the machine and I need white.  Let me show you a cool trick.

On most sergers, you have up to 4 cones of thread.  I normally use three for the upper and lower loopers and the outside needle.  Leave the needle thread(s) alone for now – we’ll get to that later.

Clip the existing threads above the two cones used for the loopers.  It doesn’t really matter where, just so long as it’s on the outside of the tension disks.  I normally clip mine before the first thread guide.


Replace the looper thread cones with the right color and tie the two colors together in a square knot so they hold tight.  Remember the poem?

                Right over left
                Left over right
                Tie a square knot
                Tidy and tight!

Then clip the knot tails to about one-half inch.

Very important here – Dial the upper looper and lower looper tension dials down to zero.  (I use a sharpie to label my loopers with UL & LL because I can never remember which is which).  This opens up the tension dials enough to allow the knot through.

Holding the chain tail with light tension, press the foot pedal and run the serger until the new looper threads form up in the chain tail.  This new tail has 2 white looper threads and one brown needle thread.

Once your new thread has made a successful chain, reset your tension disks to a regular tension setting for your machine.

Then change out the needle thread by clipping close to the needle and running the new needle thread through the thread guides and the needle.

Again, holding the chain tail with a light tension, run the serger until the new needle thread works itself into the chain.  It will go loose for a couple of inches but keep serging and a new chain tail will form.

Now serge away!

Serging makes a world of difference to create a professional looking garment.  Here’s the inside of some new jammie pants for my grandson.

And the outside.  This is from the Basic Kids Pants from MADE.


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