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What Is a Stitch Finger on a Sewing Machine?

Jennifer Loucks

A serger is a non-traditional sewing machine used for sewing difficult fabrics or creating seam finishes. The stitch finger is part of the stitch creation and works in conjunction with the needles, thread and pressure foot. The stitch finger is also called a stitch former on some machines, depending on the manufacturer.

Serger Definition

A serger uses a stitch finger to form specialty stitches.

A serger is a specialty sewing machine that uses two to five spools of thread at one time, instead of the standard one spool with one bobbin. Serger machines also go by the name of overlock machines because of the overlock stitch they create. A serger uses multiple threads to create professional finished edges that a standard sewing machine cannot create.


The stitch finger is found on the front edge of the serger pressure foot. The pressure foot sits just above the needle plate, holding the fabric smooth as it moves through the stitch. The stitch finger has a finger shape and sits close to the cutting blade on the right side of the pressure foot. The finger functions as a meeting point for the threads that move through the serger, guiding each to create the stitch on the edge of the fabric. The threads slide along the stitch finger during the sewing process and flow off the back of the pressure foot.


The serger is a versatile machine, creating a variety of stitches to speed along the sewing process and make clean seam finishes. Sergers sew knit fabric, without stretching the material or creating puckers. Adjusting the stitches allows you to create a clean rolled hem on slippery fabrics or items with many ruffles. The stitch finger organizes the threads for each specialty stitch, making them flow smoothly onto the fabric edge. Narrowing the stitch finger allows you to reduce the sewing width for sewing some of these specialty stitches. Follow the instructions in the user's manual for your specific machine to adjust the stitch finger properly.


The stitch finger is next to the cutting blade on the serger. This creates a dangerous area for fingers while you are sewing. Most stitch fingers use the cutting blade to make a clean edge while sewing the various serger stitches. Read the user's manual before changing the stitch finger setting or troubleshooting any stitch finger problems. This will save you problems or repair costs, especially if you are unable to put the machine back to the standard settings.