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please can you tell me what an overlocker is and do I want one?

(14 Posts)
LowLevelWhinging Fri 26-Oct-12 22:24:51

Wikipedia isn't helping me much.

So it's for hems? Or edges? and it cuts?

I've head terrible trouble with some fine fabric today. Would I be better off with an overlocker, or a sewing machine with overlocking capabilities??

TIA as ever.

VIX1980 Sat 27-Oct-12 10:25:07

An overlocker is for neatening up the edges on fabric seams etc, some do roll hem so say if you have jersey fabric which can be a pain to roll over and get the hem straight i use a roll hem on it so it looks neat and is minimal fuss.

for fine fabrics like youve said you use such as chiffon or silk which can be slippy to keep hold of and sew straight, my tip is to either use stitch and tear underneath to give it some grip against the feed bed or i sometimes use bias binding to cover the seams instead of overlocking and also give it some grip to cling onto, i find it easier to overlock than sew the edges on thses fabrics for some reason.

if your doing quite a bit of sewing for yourself or professional sewing id say get an overlocker as they can be pricey, otherwise there are settings on your machine which act like a seam strengthner, they just take a while longer to do than the overlocker.

if your thinking of getting 1 anyway pop to john lewis to see if you can have a go of some, i got an elna from there for around £450, i love it but im a dressmaker so its more than paid for itself. they do have cheaper ones which i started out with they start from aound £200 or try ebay, good luck

VIX1980 Sat 27-Oct-12 10:26:50

sorry just re-read your msg again, yes its for all hems, edges to stop the fabric fraying, most cut the fabric to chop off and already frayed bits along the edge.
the blades can be turned off though so you dont always have to use them

nickeldaisical Thu 01-Nov-12 13:13:30

if you look inside your teeshirt at the seams - that's done by overlocker
same with your skirts and most clothes that are shop-bought, actually.

it's fab for finishing, trimming and hemming.

have you got a stretchy skirt that's got a tiny tiny hem? that's overlocked too.

it makes this kind of shape:


and yes, cuts the edge off too.

and yes, you do want one!

nickeldaisical Thu 01-Nov-12 13:15:13

most of these pictures show overlocked edges
(it's called serging in the US and in some trade quarters)

nickeldaisical Thu 01-Nov-12 13:17:28

trimmed with overlocker
skirt is hemmed with a rolled hem - done on an overlocker
and seams of stretchy jumper

I got one from Lidl a couple of years ago for €150 - I love it!
I do a lot of quilting and crafts and it's great for finishing.

I think Lidl have a Singer one in stock at the moment, for about the price I paid, it's very good value

LowLevelWhinging Thu 01-Nov-12 23:35:02

ooooh, thank you both!

When I tried to do zigzag stitch edging on my sewing machine, the edge of the fabric got all tangled up in the teeth. does that mean it can handle fabric edges?

I'm not an amazing seamstress, but when I do something, I do enjoy having the right tool for the job.

nickeldaisical Fri 02-Nov-12 11:10:18

it's designed for fabric edges.
it sews and chops at the same time. smile

rockinhippy Mon 05-Nov-12 10:03:20

& to add, they can be great for adding contrast design detail too - ie use the overlocking in a contrast colour to finish hems & even seams on the outside of the garment - mine also is good for adding edging elastic too smile

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Mon 05-Nov-12 10:35:39

ooh, yes.
And you can usually disable the knife edge to do contrast in the middle smile
(haven't worked that one out yet though)

DeWe Mon 05-Nov-12 12:47:12

I want one too but we haven't got space sad

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Mon 05-Nov-12 14:36:11

it doesn't take up any more space than a box of shoes - they're portable these days and put-away-able.
and light, so you can use it on your dining table.

dizzyday07 Mon 05-Nov-12 18:49:25

I have a little overlocker that I got cheap off Ebay. Mine doesn't cut but just sews and overlocks the eges which is all I need for duvet covers/pillowcases etc

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