Overlockers

The sewing depot presents

a GUIDE TO OVERLOCKERS

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.

FINISHING SEAMS
Use your 3-thread overlocking stitch to finish the raw edges of seams that have been sewn on your sewing machine.

FINISHING HEMS
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.


MUST-HAVE FEATURES

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.

DIFFERENTIAL FEED
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.


nice-to-have features

Having these features listed below would certainly make your overlocking experience a pleasure, but they are not essential to have.

ROLLED HEM
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.

2-THREAD OVERLOCKING
A very lightweight edge finish suited to bridal wear. We find very few people actually use this feature.


popular overlocker models

Here is a comparison of our most popular models and their main features. For a more detailed breakdown of each model please click on the model you would like to view and you will be taken to its product page. 

MERCURY 720D OVERLOCKER 

  3-Thread Overlocking
  4-Thread Overlocking
  Differential Feed
  Width Adjustment
  Rolled Hem
  Easy Looper Threading
  2-Thread Overlocking
  Needle Threader

SINGER 14HD854 OVERLOCKER 

  3-Thread Overlocking
  4-Thread Overlocking
  Differential Feed
  Width Adjustment
  Rolled Hem
  Easy Looper Threading
  2-Thread Overlocking
  Needle Threader

BROTHER 3034D OVERLOCKER 

  3-Thread Overlocking
  4-Thread Overlocking
  Differential Feed
  Width Adjustment
  Rolled Hem
  Easy Looper Threading
  2-Thread Overlocking
  Needle Threader

 

BROTHER 4234D OVERLOCKER 

  3-Thread Overlocking
  4-Thread Overlocking
  Differential Feed
  Width Adjustment
  Rolled Hem
  Easy Looper Threading
  2-Thread Overlocking
  Needle Threader

ALTERNATIVES
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.

BROTHER 2340CV COVERSTITCHER
If you already have a sewing machine and an overlocker then a coverstitcher will be next on your list. This machine sews and neatens hems on stretchy knit fabrics in the same step. This machine truely takes your knit garment sewing to another level. An optional binding attachment allows you to finish necklines with a stretchy knit binding.


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. 

OVERLOCKING THREAD
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!

NEEDLES
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. 

EXTENSION TABLE
Expand your sewing space with an extension table!
xtension table also has storage space inside for extra threads, needles and tools that you want to keep on hand when overlocking.

CARRY BAG
A dust cover is enough to protect your machine if it's sitting on a table in your sewing room but if you are going to store it away or need to transport it to your sewing class, retreat or the bach, then a padded overlocker carry bag will work well for you.


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.

PRIVATE OVERLOCKING LESSON
Let our sewing instructor Laura spend an hour familiarising you with your new overlocker as you learn what all the parts of the machine are, how to thread it, and how to adjust the setting for a perfect stitch. You'll leave this lesson feeling confident with your new overlocker.

Online Sewing Class

ONLINE OVERLOCKING CLASS
If you can't make it into store or just prefer to learn at home, you may like to try an online class from Craftsy. We recommend Beginner Serging with Amy Alan
(please note that this is an affiliate link, we don't run these classes ourselves).

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.