- 1 Singer and the Singer 14T968DC
- 2 So You’re Looking for a Coverstitch Serger
- 3 Features and Benefits of the Singer Professional 5 14T968DC Coverstitch Serger
- 4 Alternatives to the Singer 14T968DC
- 5 Singer 14T968DC Review: Final Thoughts
The Singer Professional 5 14T968DC is a 2-3-4-5 coverstitch serger with three needles, three loopers, and a chain stitch. This machine also has a raft of features to make your sewing better and more convenient in general. If that’s not enough, the price may pleasantly surprise you. Want to know more? Carry on reading our Singer 14T968DC review to find out…
Singer and the Singer 14T968DC
The Singer Sewing Machine Company has been part of the — ahem — fabric of American sewing since 1851.
Isaac Merritt Singer didn’t invent the sewing machine as we know it. Rather, his design combined the best features of models that had come before. Singer’s real genius was creating a market and producing products for it.
Before Singer, American sewing machine companies produced equipment for factories alone. Singer not only identified a new market in home sewing, but also found ways to bring the costs of production down so that individuals could afford sewing machines. Then he made them even more affordable by pioneering payment on installment.
As a result, more than 170 years later, Singer is a household name in sewing machines the world over.
Singer’s first home serger was the Merritt 14U44, which came out in 1989.This was a 3-4 serger with a free arm but no differential feed.
Modern home sergers look very similar to these original models, but in function, home sergers have come a long way. Overlockers made by Singer have, as well.
About the Singer Professional 5 14T968DC
Is this a coverstitch machine or is it a serger?
The Singer Professional 5 14T968DC is a sleek, top-of-the-range coverstitch serger.
Like a coverstitch machine, the Singer 14T968DC has three needles and can do a chain stitch.
Like a serger, it has more than one looper (spoiler: it has three) and a trimming knife.
The result is a machine that can handle delicate two-thread edging on ultralight fabrics as well as making strong, flexible seams on heavy fabrics like denim. It can also sew simple seams with a chain stitch.
If that’s not enough, Singer has loaded this model with convenience features designed to make it easier to use. We’ll discuss these more in a bit.
- 2-3-4-5 thread sewing
- Auto thread tension
- Triple needle
- 4 built-in rolled hems
- 14 built-in stitches including a chain stitch
- Heavy duty frame
- Generous accessories pack
- Exceptional value for money
- May be a bit complicated for serger newbies
Who is the Singer Professional 5 14T968DC For?
You knew there had to be a catch, and it’s this: extra functionality means extra complexity. Sergers are notoriously difficult to thread, and can be ridiculously temperamental if you don’t set them up just right.
Adding an extra needle and looper means more chances for human error.
Some higher-end sergers get around added complexity with a self-threading mechanism. Unfortunately, those machines can cost two to three times what this model does. If you want the extra functionality without a significant rise in price, then you’ll have to settle for a color-coded threading diagram.
Color-coded threading isn’t a bad thing. Most sergers have it, and most serger users master it. But if you’re frustration prone, then threading three needles and three loopers may prove a headache.
Suffice it to say, I wouldn’t recommend this machine for a novice. Although there are plenty of more expensive machines on the market, this is still a significant lump of cash to drop on anything if you’re not certain that you’ll use it regularly. And in my own experience, if a piece of equipment is difficult to use, I’ll find excuses to avoid it.
If you’re thinking about buying your first serger, and you’re not sure how often you’ll be using it, then I’d recommend a bargain model like the Singer X5004HD. This is a well-made 2-3-4 serger that comes at a fraction of the price of the Singer 14T968DC. If you outgrow it, you can always upgrade. And if you don’t use it, at least you won’t have wasted a lot of money finding that out.
That said, if you’re an experienced serger user looking for a powerful, versatile machine that can do darn near anything, then this could be the model for you.
First, about that price? It’s a lot for a first serger. But for an advanced five-thread, three-needle, do-it-all machine, it’s a bargain. You can, and many people do, pay a lot more for similar equipment.
Also, check out some of these features:
- 14 built-in stitches including chain stitch
- 4 built-in rolled hems
- Heavy-duty metal frame
- Trim trap included
- Auto thread tension
- Extra-high presser foot lifter
We’ll discuss these in-depth later in this Singer 14T968DC review. However, if you know your way around a serger, you already know that it’s difficult to find these premium extras in more affordably-priced machines.
What’s in the box?
Accessories that come with the Singer 14T968DC, include:
- General purpose foot
- Elastic foot
- Blind hem foot
- Shirring foot
- Beading foot
- Cording foot
- Taping foot
- Trim trap
- Extra knife
- Spool caps
- Thread nets
- Serger tweezers
- Cone adapters
- Two-thread adapter
- Soft dust cover
|3||COLOR CODED THREADING||Yes|
|4||NUMBER OF NEEDLES||3|
|5||MAX SEWING SPEED||1,300|
|6||STITCH LENGTH (mm)||1~4 mm (standard: rolled hemming 1-2, ordinary overedge N=2.5)|
|7||STITCH WIDTH (mm)||Rolled hemming 1.5 mm, ordinary overedge 3.0 ~ 9.8 mm (Standard 4 mm)|
|9||RETRACTABLE CUTTING KNIFE||Yes|
|11||DIMENSIONS (inches)||13.5 x 10.5 x 11.5|
|14||WARRANTY||90 day / 2yr / 25yr|
So You’re Looking for a Coverstitch Serger
For an experienced sewist specifically looking for a 2-3-4-5 coverstitch serger, the Singer 14T968DC could be a great choice. Not only is it powerful and fit for a wide variety of purposes, but if you choose your retailer wisely, you could also land a real bargain.
But what should you look for in a five-thread serger? Here are a few of our must-have features.
A regular sewing machine has one set of feed dogs that move fabric through your machine. A serger has two.
For a lot of sewing, you want the two feed dog sets to move the fabric at the same speed. But sometimes, for example sewing knit fabrics, it works better if they move independently and at slightly different speeds.
A differential feed mechanism allows you to adjust the speed of the feed dog sets relative to one another. As you’ll see from our other serger reviews, most modern appliances have them, but some do not.
Most sergers have a differential feed range of 0.7 to 2.0. Some have an extended range of 0.5 to 2.5.
If you anticipate working with different types of fabric, especially stretchy fabrics or elastic, then a differential feed is a must.
Built-In Rolled Hem
A rolled hem adds an elegant edge to fabric. It’s an especially popular way to edge scarves and light fabrics.
With some sergers, you have to adjust parts of your machine in order to make a rolled hem. Other machines, however, allow you to select a rolled hem using a dial or lever. These machines then make the adjustments for you.
Stitch Width Adjustment
Both regular sewing machines and sergers have a dial that allows you to adjust the stitch length. However, adjusting the stitch width can be a bit more complicated.
With some sergers, adjusting stitch width requires a screwdriver. You may need to move, switch out, or even remove different stitch fingers. Also, you may have to move or remove the cutting blade.
Other sergers, however, allow you to adjust stitch width using a selection knob. This convenience is well worth it, in our opinion.
A serger has a blade that trims the seam edge as you sew. This can generate quite a bit of waste. Some sergers come with a built-in tray that collects these trimmings and keeps them off of your lap and sewing table. It’s an extra that’s definitely worth having.
Features and Benefits of the Singer Professional 5 14T968DC Coverstitch Serger
The Singer 14T968DC has all of the above must-have features. But it also has a few more that you won’t find on every machine. For many people, these extras may make all the difference.
Generous Stitch Selection
A serger, like a regular sewing machine, comes with a selection of built-in stitches. Almost every serger can do three and four-thread overlock stitches. However, the number and type of additional stitches can vary widely from machine to machine.
The Singer 14T968DC comes with 14 built-in stitches. This is a decent number, and is comparable with other higher-end sergers. It also comes with a built-in chain stitch, which many sergers do not.
Four Built-in Rolled Hems
We’ve already discussed why a built-in rolled hem is a nice thing to have. The Singer 14T968DC has four. This is unusual and generous.
Auto Tension Adjustment
Different stitches require you to set the tension of your threads. All of the threads. It’s not difficult, but it can be time consuming to keep flipping back and forth between your manual and your machine to find the right combination for any given stitch.
The Singer Professional 5 14T968DC adjusts your thread tension automatically. You simply select your stitch, and it’s done correctly every time. You don’t ever need to think about it. Hooray!
Handy Stitch Map
And speaking of convenience, Singer has put a colorful, easy-to-read stitch map right on the machine. For every stitch, you can see clearly which needles and loopers you’ll need, and what part they play in the construction of the stitch.
This machine has a maximum stitch speed of 1,300 stitches per minute. Unlike many sergers, however, the Singer 14T968DC allows you to set the machine’s max speed below that if you so desire.
This is a feature one doesn’t see on a lot of sergers, and we appreciate it here.
Heavy-Duty Metal Frame
A lot of Singer models come with a heavy-duty metal frame. Although it can make a machine heavier, this type of frame adds stability and increases a machine’s ability to handle thick and heavy fabrics.
This is especially important for a 2-3-4-5 serger, as those four and five thread stitches are designed for heavy work.
Alternatives to the Singer 14T968DC
We like this machine. We like it a lot. And one of the reasons we like it so much is that anyone would be hard pressed to find all of this machine’s features together on a machine at this price point. Inexpensive 2-3-4-5 machines can be particularly hard to come by.
However, there are a lot of sergers and coverstitch machines on the market. And the available features can vary by quite a lot. Bearing this in mind, perhaps one of these other worthy competitors would suit your needs better…
Brother 2340CV Coverstitch Serger
An area where Brother excels is producing feature-rich machinery at an affordable price. The Brother 2340CV definitely fits in this category. It’s a bit less expensive than the Singer 14T968DC. Depending on your retailer, it may be as little as half the price.
At the same time, there are a few differences:
- The Brother 2340CV is a 2-3-4 machine
- It’s a bit slower, with a stitching speed of 1,100 stitches per minute
However, it does have a heavy duty metal frame like the Singer machine. And it does have that all-important chain stitch.
If you like the sound of a coverstitch serger, but aren’t ready to make a large investment, this model could do nicely.
Bernette B42 Funlock Coverstitch Machine
The Bernette B42 is a coverstitch only machine. It doesn’t have as many stitch options as the Singer 14T968DC, but it does have a chain stitch, as well as everything else you might want on a coverstitch only machine.
Bernette is a division of Bernina, and they make stylish, expensive machines. The B42 is attractive and feature-rich. However, it’s also quite reasonably priced.
For people who are interested in a lower-cost strictly coverstitch option, this could be your machine.
As we mentioned earlier, the Singer 14T968DC isn’t a learner’s machine. But Singer does make high-quality sewing machines for beginners and casual sewists. The Singer X5004HD serger is one of them.
This isn’t a coverstitch machine. It has two needles, two loopers, and no chain stitch.
What it is, though, is a high quality serger at an exceptionally fair price.
If you’ve read through this Singer 14T968DC review and have come to the conclusion that it might be more machine than you’re willing to deal with at this time, then this simple, well-made 2-3-4 serger might fit your bill.
Singer 14T968DC Review: Final Thoughts
The Singer Professional 5 14T968DC is a unique combination of fabulous features, including five-thread stitching, auto tension, a generous stitch selection, and heavy duty construction. On top of that, if you do your research, you can find it for a lot less than you might expect.
It’s a complicated piece of equipment with a steep learning curve, though, so it might not be for everyone. But if you think it might be for you, then it could end up being your sewing room’s new best friend.