Curious about overlockers or sergers? This page will give you all the info you need to know when looking to buy an overlocker, what accessories you might need or want, and info on how to expand your knowledge and keep your machine in great working order.
WHAT IS AN OVERLOCKER FOR?
An overlocker performs some very special and specific types of stitches and is used alongside your sewing machine to create lovely professional looking garments. An overlocker is not a substitute for a sewing machine though, so if you don't have a sewing machine yet, first go and have a look at our range of sewing machines. An overlocker has a small knife that cuts the fabric before enveloping the edge of the fabric in loops of thread. This creates a clean finish and protects the edge from fraying.
Use your 3-thread overlocking stitch to finish the raw edges of seams that have been sewn on your sewing machine.
Overlock the raw edge before hemming with your sewing machine, or use your rolled hem feature to hem delicate fabrics.
SEWING KNIT FABRICS
Use your 4-thread mock safety stitch to seam stretchy knit fabrics with ease. These seams will stretch with the fabric.
Just like sewing machines, the features available vary between brand and model of overlocker. Below you will find the most important features to look out for when shopping for an overlocker.
3-THREAD & 4-THREAD OVERLOCKING
These are the 2 stitches you will use the most so are a must-have. Some older models will only have 3-thread overlocking.
This feature allows you to adjust the feed of the fabric to prevent your stretchy fabrics from becoming wavy as you sew.
STITCH/CUTTING WIDTH ADJUSTMENT
A stitch width or cutting width adjustment dial will allow you to control the quality of your stitch with a variety of fabric types.
Having these features listed below would certainly make your overlocking experience a pleasure, but they are not essential to have.
Handy for finishing raw edges of delicate garments and scarves, this stitch creates an exposed thread-covered edge.
EASY LOOPER THREADING
Some models have a lever that allows you to thread the lower looper with ease, rather than fighting with your tweezers.
A very lightweight edge finish suited to bridal wear. We find very few people actually use this feature.
It is likely that your sewing machine has an overcasting stitch (or at least a zigzag stitch) which you can use to finish raw edges and prevent fraying, however this doesn't have the clean professional finish created by an overlocker. Side cutter attachments are also available for your sewing machine but are not suitable for thicker fabrics.
OTHER THINGS YOU'LL NEED FOR OVERLOCKING
A machine alone will get you started, but here are some other bits and pieces that you will need or that will simply make using your overlocker easier.
1000m cobs or 5000m cones are most popular for overlocking as they are more economical to buy and your overlocker will use a lot of thread. Where possible invest in good quality thread such as Coats Astra 120 to ensure to best results from your overlocker.
SNIPS & TWEEZERS
After sewing each seam you'll need to cut the thread chain attaching your garment to the overlocker and it can be annoying to pick up your heavy shears for this, but snips are perfect. Tweezers are invaluable for helping you thread your overlocker, fingers just don't fit!
Most models come with universal point size 14/90 needles already installed. However you will want to change the needle type and size to suit each project. Remember that needles are consumable parts, they do get blunt or damaged and should be replaced frequently.
USEFUL ACCESSORIES FOR YOUR OVERLOCKER
Some models have some great accessories available which can make certain overlocking tasks go more smoothly.
SPECIALIST PRESSER FEET
Special feet are available for applying elastic, tape, sequins, for blind hemming, for gathering/shirring, or for applying piping. Some models come with these included, others you can buy separately, but beware they are not an option with some models.
Expand your sewing space with an extension table! The extension table also has storage space inside for extra threads, needles and tools that you want to keep on hand when overlocking.
NEED SOME HELP?
If you have questions about which overlocker might suit your needs or about any details or features of the models we sell please send us an email or give us a call on 04 589 6933, otherwise read on for info about overlocking lessons and machine servicing.
Overlockers are a reasonably complicated piece of machinery and we recommend getting them serviced regularly to keep them in top condition for years to come. Our affordable basic service includes cleaning, oiling, checking and resetting tensions. We can also do basic repairs.
See our full range of overlockers in the Overlocker category above.