It could easily be argued that there’s no bigger name in sewing than Singer. Older machines of theirs have gained iconic status, and the company still churns out winners to this day. When it comes to sergers, though, are they still regarded as pack leaders or mere also-rans? We’ll examine one of their contenders in this Singer 14HD854 review today.
About Singer and the Singer 14HD854 Serger
Since 1851, Singer has been America’s sewing machine company. Their success was built not so much on design innovations as on Isaac Merritt Singer’s revolutionary approach to production, marketing, and distribution (which we cover fully in our post, Who Invented the Sewing Machine?).
The Singer Corporation was the first, for example, to adopt the mass production model. They were also among the first to create machines with interchangeable parts. This brought down the cost of production considerably.
The company passed these savings on to consumers. For the first time, sewing machines became widely affordable to home sewists. And it was this new market of domestic sewing, rather than industry, where Singer focussed its efforts.
On top of that, Singer pioneered the system of payment on installment. This made sewing machines affordable to more people than ever.
And in a particular moment of inspiration, the Singer Corporation, which by this point had a factory in Glasgow, took advantage of the dressmaking component of Britain’s 1944 Education Act to expand its reach into schools, as well. [1, 2]
Today, Singer machines are renowned for their quality build and ease of use. Many of them are also affordable, offering those who buy them excellent value for money.
The Singer 14HD854 Serger
What’s in a name? You might have noticed that many sewing machine model names are a combination of numbers and letters. You might also have guessed that some of these strings of characters have meanings. Well, the “HD” is Singer’s model name stands for “heavy duty.”
So, the Singer 14HD854 is a heavy duty serger, but what does that mean, exactly? We’ll find out in just a sec.
Singer’s serger lineup is small. They have a few budget models, a handful of mid-range sergers, and two premium models.
The Singer HD14854 is part of the mid-range selection, which includes the Singer X5004HD, the ProFinish 14CG754, the Finishing Touch 14SH654 and the Stylist 14SH764. Of these, the Singer X5004HD and the Singer HD14854 are also part of Singer’s Heavy Duty line of machines.
What does that mean?
The Heavy Duty line is specially made to handle heavy work like canvas, denim, and multiple layers of other thick fabrics. The line includes regular mechanical sewing machines, sergers, one quilting machine, and one very basic computerized sewing machine. What unites them is a group of special heavy duty features, such as:
- A heavy metal frame
- 50 percent more powerful motor
- High speed stitching
And, in the case of their HD sergers, a 60 percent larger cutting knife.
These are powerful machines aimed at a specific market: sewists who perform primarily heavy work.
At the same time, every last one of Singer’s HD machines is easy to set up, easy to use, and will have you stitching right out of the box. It’s a winning formula for Singer, which builds on their reputation for user-friendliness and durability.
The Singer 14HD854, a straightforward, heavy duty 2-3-4 serger, is a solid part of the HD lineup.
- Two, three, and four-thread serging
- Four built-in rolled hems
- Retractable upper knife
- Light and portable
- Heavy-duty frame
- Free arm
- High-speed 1,300 stitches per minute sewing
- 50 percent more powerful motor
- 60 percent larger cutting knife
- Very decent accessories pack
- Good value for money
- Somewhat stingy selection of built-in stitches
How is the Singer 14HD854 Different from the Singer X5004HD?
You might have noticed that two of Singer’s HD sergers are very, very similar. At first glance, the Singer 14HD854 and the Singer X5004HD have a lot of features in common. They even look a lot alike. However, there are a few differences.
First, the Singer 14HD854 has four built-in rolled hems.
A rolled hem can add an elegant finish to scarves and other light fabric edges. With some models, creating a rolled hem requires moving, removing, switching out, or disabling different parts of your serger. Machines with a built-in rolled hem allow you to make all of the necessary adjustments with the flick of a switch.
The Singer X5004HD does not have a built-in rolled hem.
The Singer 14HD854 also has adjustable presser foot pressure. This can improve handling for different types of fabrics that are lighter or heavier than average.
The Singer 14HD854 is also lighter and more portable than the X5004HD. While both are technically lightweight, weighing in at 13.5 and 15.5 pounds respectively, the 14HD854 is just a bit lighter. Also, it has a convenient carry handle, which the X5004HD lacks.
Finally, the Singer 14HD854 has a free arm, which the Singer X5004 is also without.
So, while both are excellent, heavy-duty overlockers, there are a few key differences.
The question is, “Will they make a difference to you?”
At this point, I’d like to take a moment to address some confusing terminology you might encounter through different retailers.
You might see, for example, a claim of ten “stitch programs” for the 14HD854.
Some manufacturers talk about “stitch programs,” “stitch options” or “stitch functions.” This is not the same as built-in stitches. Rather, the term refers to ways that you can alter a smaller number of built-in stitches in order to create new stitches (for example using a super-short length zigzag stitch to make a satin stitch).
The Singer 14HD854 has six built-in stitches (the X5004HD has eight). I suspect that its ten “stitch programs” include the four rolled hems.
You might also see a claim of digital speed control. Sergers are high-speed sewing machines, and the ones that come with a speed control mechanism are few and far between. In general, you will rarely find speed control on any mechanical sewing machine.
The Singer 14HD854 does not have a speed control knob, lever, slider, or switch. It has no digital controls of any kind. Perhaps what the retailer in question meant was that it’s possible to control the speed with the foot pedal. Another mystery. 
Some retailers have also claimed that this machine has auto-tension. As with almost every serger at this price point, tension adjustments are made individually, for each thread, using manual tension dials. Auto-tension does exist, but generally you’ll only find it on premium machines.
These aren’t faults of the Singer 14HD854. In fact, these qualities make this serger exactly the same as just about every other serger in its category.
But it’s important to be aware of potentially confusing claims.
What’s in the box?
Accessories that come with the SINGER 14HD854 heavy duty serger, include:
- All-purpose foot
- Serger tweezers
- Thread spreader
- Four thread spools
- Spare lower knife
- Scrap Bag
- Lint brush
|3||COLOR CODED THREADING||Yes|
|4||NUMBER OF NEEDLES||2|
|5||MAX SEWING SPEED||1300|
|6||STITCH LENGTH (mm)||NoInfoAvailable|
|7||STITCH WIDTH (mm)||Enter the stitch width|
|9||RETRACTABLE CUTTING KNIFE||Yes|
|11||DIMENSIONS (inches)||14" x 11" x 11.5"|
What Makes a Great Mid-Range Serger?
If you’re looking at budget equipment, it’s a given that you’ll have to sacrifice features. But the middle range offers a variety of full-featured machines with all of the features that sewists want most. Here are some of our favorites:
Number of Threads
The most commonly used serger stitches are made with three and four threads. And a 3-4 serger will allow you to do most of the things you’ll want to do with your serger.
However, if you’re working with ultralight fabrics, you’ll need the more delicate touch of two-thread sewing. Likewise, for heavier-than-average work, four threads should be the starting point. Some premium sergers go up to eight.
Stitch Width Control
A regular sewing machine allows you to set your stitch width using a dial, knob, or buttons with computerized presets. But a serger sewing machine does this task differently. Some ways your serger may allow you to adjust your stitch width include:
- Using either the left or right needle
- Moving the stitch finger
- Taking the stitch finger out
- Switching stitch fingers
- Moving the cutting blade
It can be complicated, and often involves using your screwdriver or hex wrench. Some sergers, however, have a stitch width control knob. And that makes things a lot easier.
Excellent Built-In Stitch Selection
Your regular sewing machine has a selection of built-in stitches. So does a serger. Almost every serger can make three- and four-thread overlock stitches.
In addition, depending on your machine, you might find some of the following built-ins:
- Two-thread overlock
- Two, three, and four-thread flatlock (narrow and wide)
- Mock safety stitch
- Rolled hem (narrow and wide)
- Proprietary decorative stitches
Naturally, the more built-in stitches, the more powerful and versatile your sewing experience will be.
Threading your serger can be a pain in the neck. This is because, in addition to one or more needle threads, you also have to thread your loopers. Loopers “loop” thread around the seam edges to seal them. Most sergers have two loopers.
Looper threads travel through a series of thread guides. Sometimes these thread guides can be hard to reach and difficult to thread. To make threading simpler, many manufacturers include one or more of the following simplification measures:
- Color-coded thread guides
- Color-coded thread map
- Loopers that you can position as needed
- Included serger threading tweezers
- A self-threading mechanism
Self-threading sergers tend to be expensive. But if you don’t want to mess around with threading your machine, this feature can be well worth it.
Features and Benefits Review of the Singer 14HD854
In our opinion, the Singer 14HD854 is a really decent mid-range serger. What makes it so? Let’s have a look.
Two, Three, and Four-Thread Stitching
The Singer 14HD854 is a 2-3-4 serger. That means that it has the two-thread stitches you need for delicate edging and light work. It also means that you can make the strong, flexible seams that sergers are known for. Finally, four-thread stitching, combined with this model’s heavy duty features, means that you’ll be able to accomplish some heavier-than-average work as well.
Earlier, we called this machine’s selection of built-in stitches stingy. And it’s true. Many other machines have more built-in designs than this one.
At the same time, the Singer 14HD854 has all of the stitches serger users choose most, including:
- Two-thread overlock
- Two-thread wrapped hem
- Three-thread overlock
- Three-thread flatlock
- Four-thread mock safety stitch
And don’t forget the four built-in rolled hems.
Although a serger is built for sewing long, fast, straight seams, there may come a time when you’ll want to use it for small circular or tubular work. When that time comes, the Singer 14HD854’s free arm will be a big help.
Heavy Duty Features
This model, like the others in the HD line, comes with some features that equip it specially for heavy work. These include a heavy-duty metal frame, a motor with above average power, and a 60 percent larger cutting knife. If there are heavy materials or projects in your future, these features can help you to power through them.
Sewing classes and meetups are increasingly popular. And many require you to provide your own machine. If you’re intending to bring your serger with you to classes, meetups, etc., then you’ll want a lightweight machine with a stout handle — like the Singer 14HD854.
Alternatives to the Singer 14HD854
There are a lot of sergers on the market. Although we really like the Singer 14HD854, a different model may fit your needs better. Here are some that we consider worthwhile competition to the Singer 14HD854.
Singer ProFinish 14CG754
The Singer ProFinish 14CG754 isn’t part of the HD line, but it is a very similar machine. This is a 2-3-4 serger with six built-in stitches and four rolled hems. It sews at the same speed and, although it lacks some of the HD features, it does have a heavy duty metal frame.
The price is about the same as that of the 14HD854.
Juki MO 654-DE
Juki made some of the first sergers for the home market. In fact, home serging was the reason that the Juki Corporation was founded. Their machines tend to be well-built, easy-to-use, and have a cool, industrial sensibility.
The Juki MO 654-DE is a straightforward 2-3-4 serger. Depending on your retailer, it will probably cost a bit more than the Singer 14HD854.
Some of this model’s features include:
- “Flip and roll” automatic rolled hemming
- A movable upper looper to make threading easier
- Adjustable cutting width
It’s a lot of machine at a very reasonable price.
Baby Lock Celebrate
Baby Lock machines tend to be the when-money-is-no-object option. At the same time, the company’s signature is premium convenience features, and plenty of them.
The Baby Lock Celebrate is a self-threading 2-3-4 serger. Using a clever arrangement of tubes and pressurized air, Baby Lock’s patented air-threading system reduces threading to the push of a button. It also has a needle threader, which is de rigueur for sewing machines, but rare in sergers.
Under the hood, you’ll find separate drivers for the cutting blades and loopers, along with a one-way clutch system. This is a Lamborghini amongst Volvos. You’ll pay for those extras, but for the right user, they’re well worth it.
Find out more by reading the full BabyLock Celebrate review.
The Singer 14HD854 is a well-made, easy-to-use, straightforward 2-3-4 serger. It’s lightweight, portable, and has some really decent convenience features, too.
It’s also good value for money. If you’re looking for a first serger, or a stalwart addition to your sewing room, this one should definitely be on your radar.
- legislation.gov.uk | Education Act 1944 | https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo6/7-8/31/contents/enacted
- People Pill | Issac Singer | https://peoplepill.com/people/isaac-singer
- SINGER Technical Writers | Singer 14HD854 Instruction Manual | https://www.manualslib.com/manual/562108/Singer-14hd854.html#manual