What is An Overlocker?
An overlocker is a type of sewing machine that provides a higher level of stitching than a conventional sewing machine. It uses two or more separate threads to stitch together two or more pieces of fabric; one for the seam and one for the overlock stitch. Overlockers are also known as sergers because they produce an overlock stitch, which is a type of stitch that looks like a ‘serged’ edge. Overlockers are commonly used in industry to finish the edges of garments but they can also be used for creative, sewing projects in the home.
Purpose of an Overlocker
The main purpose of an overlocker is to make sure that seams do not unravel and fabric edges do not fray. This means that an overlocker can be used to finish the raw edges of a finished garment, as well as to join two pieces of fabric together. An overlocker can also be used to add decorative details like ribbons and trim, as well as to create ruffles. Overlockers can be used to create a variety of different types of stitches; ranging from a standard overlock stitch, to a zigzag stitch, a chain stitch or a stretch stitch.
Why You Should Use an Overlocker Instead of a Sewing Machine
Using an overlocker instead of a standard sewing machine can be beneficial for several reasons. Firstly, an overlocker is faster and more efficient than a sewing machine and can save you time when completing sewing projects. Secondly, an overlocker produces a professional-looking edge finish. Thirdly, an overlocker is more versatile than a sewing machine as it can be used to join two pieces of fabric together, as well as to finish edges, add trim and create decorative details.
What Can an Overlocker Not Do?
Although an overlocker has many advantages over a standard sewing machine, there are some tasks that it cannot do. For example, an overlocker cannot be used for sewing in zips and buttons, or for making clothes with intricate details. These types of tasks are best completed using a standard sewing machine.
Overview of an Overlocker
In summary, an overlocker is a type of sewing machine that is used to finish the edges of fabric and join two pieces of fabric together. It is faster and more efficient than a standard sewing machine and can produce a more professional-looking stitch. However, it should not be used for intricate tasks such as sewing in zips and buttons.
Advantages and Disadvantages of an Overlocker
An overlocker has both advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage of an overlocker is that it is faster and more efficient than a standard sewing machine, as well as producing a professional-looking seam. However, it cannot be used to sew in zips and buttons, or for making clothes with intricate details.
Types of Overlockers
There are several different types of overlockers available on the market. The two most common types are the two-thread overlocker and the three-thread overlocker. A two-thread overlocker is suitable for light-duty sewing and finishing; whereas a three-thread overlocker is more suitable for heavier duty sewing and finishing. There are also other features to consider when purchasing an overlocker, such as whether you require a free arm or a straight stitch, and the type of stitch you need.
Choosing a Quality Overlocker
When choosing an overlocker it is important to ensure that you purchase a quality machine. Overlockers range in price from a few hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars. Look for features such as ease of use and good customer reviews, and consider trying out different models before making a purchase.
How to Use an Overlocker
Using an overlocker correctly is essential for getting quality results. Start by familiarising yourself with the different stitches and functions. Once you have done this, practice using the overlocker by following the instructions in the instruction manual. If you are completely new to using an overlocker it is recommended that you start with a simple stitch like a straight stitch or an overlock stitch.
Maintaining Your Overlocker
To keep your overlocker in top condition, regular cleaning and maintenance is recommended. After each project, clean and oil the machine to prevent dirt and debris build-up. This not only extends the life of the machine, but also ensures that it is running optimally. Additionally, regularly check and replace worn-out parts such as needles and cutting blades, in order to ensure that the machine is working correctly.
Preparing and Cutting Fabric for All Projects
Before you begin a project, you need to prepare and cut the fabric according to the instructions. For example, on a simple sewing project you may need to hem the fabric before you start, or press the fabric before putting it on the overlocker. Additionally, you need to make sure that the fabric is cut to the correct size and shape.
Safety Precautions for Working with an Overlocker
When using an overlocker, it is important to take safety precautions. Make sure that you are wearing the appropriate clothing whilst using the machine and that all areas of the overlocker are safe to work on. Additionally, be aware of the potential risks associated with using an overlocker; such as the risk of needles poking you, or the fabric becoming stuck.