Overlocking

A friend of a friend has an overlocker which is no longer used and has offered to give it to me! Whilst this is undoubtedly exciting news, after the first rush of enthusiasm, I was a bit worried that I might not make best use of it and won’t really know what to do with it.

I’ve seen on the internet lots of garments with beautifully neat overlocked seam finishes and I’ve heard they are perfect for use with knit fabrics, but is that all they do or is there more to them than that? How will I cope with sewing seams that look like they can’t be taken apart? As self-confessed Queen of the Unpicker how do I get confident enough go be able to know that when I sew a seam I won’t be pulling it apart ten minutes later because I’m not happy with the way it looks or because there’s a problem with the fit?

I had a look on Amazon and can see there are numerous “complete” guides to overlocking or serging but the problem with these books is knowing how useful they will be. I really don’t need a tutorial in making napkins as one book promised!

Do you have any advice that could help me? Have you found any books particularly useful? What do you use your overlocker for?

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11 thoughts on “Overlocking

  1. Go for it Jane, I have had an over locker for many years and wouldn’t be without it. As for the unpicking, you would use the over locker as a finishing tool mainly, overlooking each seam as you come to it, don’t overlock both seam allowances together as that would really make u picking a nightmare. To begin with leave yourself adequate allowance on the seam so that if it has to be let out you still have your 5/8″ seam to utilise. I went on an overlooking course when I bought my second machine which was money well spent as it showed how to add lace, make a frilled edge using fishing wire!! And also how to construct jersey garments using the overlocker, but as you say I never feel there is enough strength in this method of construction. Also the threading can be a bit daunting. I suggest that rather than unthreading each time you change colour, you tie on the new thread and let it run through the machine. This is not always possible with the needle thread, so when you see the knot approaching the needle eye, just snip the knot and thread the needle. Hope this helps

    Jenny

  2. I use my overlocker besides overedging especially for sewing elastic fabrics, because it produces an elastic seam 😉 I just love it. What scared me at first, that it cut and sew and the same time. If you ever have a prob, I might be able to help with, let me know;)

  3. Go for it! You might find that when you first get it you do use it on at a basic level but eventually you get more confidence and get used to having it around you will try more things, like rolled hems, great for sheer fabric edge finishing! I have an elasticator foot too, great for swim wear.

    As for the sewing a seam and then unpicking it for fit. Generally I sew my seams on my sewing machine first then 3-thread overlock after checking the fit. It is great for stretch fabrics too, I am making a second and third merino top and I know the fit is good so I use all 4 threads on my overlocker and sew the seams in one go, it’s so fast!

    This is great for unpicking overlock stitch if you have to, I’ve been there, it;s messy but not so bad, it sort of unpicks and clips at the same time: http://www.nancysnotions.com/product/seam+ripper+clipper.do

    And I go this book out from the library, it was really good for trying new things out after I got more confidence: http://www.amazon.com/Serge-Confidence-Nancy-Zieman/dp/0873498550

    I could gush a while longer but I better get back to work 😉 hehe, enjoy!

  4. How exciting!

    Sew U Home Stretch is the only book I’ve got that I found helpful. It has a short chapter on overlockers. Mind you it was enough because I never got round to having the free lesson that came with my machine.

    Unpicking’s not as bad as you think. If you cut the correct thread it pulls out easily.

    I use mine for seams on knits and finishing seam allowances on all sorts of things. Wouldn’t be without it; so much faster than the regular machine.

    Let us know how you get on!

  5. I too use mine all the time to finish the edges of wovens before sewing them up but mostly for rolled hems on, well, everything and for constructing knits. I love love love my overlocker and there is a lot of information on the internet, including youtube etc tutes on most things.

    I leant to use mine by making simple things like T-shirts and that helped me figure out how to work with knits and the new overlocker. Give it time and you’ll be threading/re-threading and serging away with gusto. New things are always daunting, especially when there are 4 threads to consider. LOL.

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