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Overlocker, yay or nay?

(39 Posts)
CardiCorgi Sun 14-Apr-13 10:04:15

For the owners of overlockers, is it worth it? I've found some nice children's fabrics and made a couple of t-shirts for dd. I just used one of the overlock stitches on my normal sewing machine, but now have a very big hankering for a overlocker. Did anyone buy one and regret it or was it a good buy? What features do you look for apart from ease of threading?

IDontDoIroning Sun 14-Apr-13 10:12:02

You can get ones that convert to a coverstitch which us the overseen stitch you see on t shirt hems etc. However these are £000.
I've got a Bernina which I love as I sew lycra a lot. It wasn't cheap though.
It is fairly straight forward to thread which is great. It's also good for sewing / finishing fabric that frays.
You might be able to get on second hand if you look on eBay or gum tree.
I got mine from Jaycotts.
Have a look on YouTube for tutorials and craftsy have some online tutorials but these aren't free but regularly come up on sale.

UniqueAndAmazing Sun 14-Apr-13 21:07:35

yes yes yes.

mine was £365.
I wanted something a bit heavier and more substantial, but it was middle of the range.

I would advise getting one from a shop where you can try it out before choosing.

UniqueAndAmazing Sun 14-Apr-13 21:08:46

mine's a janome mylock.
very easy to use and thread and the I struction book makes sense (lots of pictures!)

SelfconfessedSpoonyFucker Sun 14-Apr-13 22:46:51

yes, mine probably has thousands of hours on it and was a cheapy one. If you sew garments you will enjoy having it. It has a steep learning curve though, especially to thread them at first. Sewing is quite different on them. I made a lot of facecloths from old towels to get plenty of practise with curves.

CardiCorgi Mon 15-Apr-13 07:20:59

Thanks for the responses. I am going to try and have a go on one before I commit. I was tempted by a Benina as that is what m sewing machine is and my local dealer said that they could match any Internet offers.

I see that some offer more threads than others, what would you need those for? I think I'm fine without a cover stitch but would like to be able to flat lock seams for sports clothing.

UniqueAndAmazing Mon 15-Apr-13 10:01:11

oh yes, it's really different sewing on them!

I used overlockers at college, so was used to how I thought they should feel and act when I went to get my own.

I would recommend one thatcan do 4 threads and rolled hem
I wish i'd gone for a cover stitch, too, but I don't think it's a deal breaker. I thought flatlock was the same thing? confused. ask your dealer that one!
my 4 thread csn do 4,3 or 2 thread which means it's dead versatile.

PurpleFrog Mon 15-Apr-13 12:26:08

My first overlocker was a basic 3/4 thread Babylock. After a while I had tension problems - I couldn't get the threads that go over the edge tight enough and even after getting it serviced was unhappy. I then splashed out on a posh Pfaff that you can convert to a cover stitch. To be honest, I haven't used it much yet as I have got back into knitting and crochet more over the past couple of years. But now that I am sorting out my fabric stash properly and storing it in large plastic crates I intend to get back into sewing again.

Overlockers can take a while to get used to. If you tend to unpick things and redo them until you are happy, they will drive you mad! You have to be very careful about not catching anything into the seam that you don't want irreversibly sheared off! But you can achieve a shop-bought finish very easily. The coverstitch facility is good, but it is a real faff converting back and forwards.

On my sewing machine I often use a wide twin-needle with overlocking woolly nylon in the bobbin to get a sort of coverstitch effect on the necks and hems of garments.

ParsleyTheLioness Mon 15-Apr-13 12:28:52

I have got one which I bought second hand. I used to make soft hats so essential for that, now not so much for what I do, where zig zag mainly covers it. I have a Brother. Not easy to thread IMO...I would consider selling mine tbh for how much I use it, and the room it occupies...

Molehillmountain Mon 15-Apr-13 21:32:10

I have one that I use for some projects. I love it and the lovely neat seams. Mine is a baby lock and a very basic models think. My one piece of advice is to buy it from a local shop that will patiently show you how to thread it again and again! I took mine in three times before I got the hang of it and they were lovely about it. It seems threading over lockers is a bit like learning the off side rule-yes I've got it now, I'll never forget again...oh dear, off to the shop...

ParsleyTheLioness Mon 15-Apr-13 23:21:25

Ha, glad its not just me that struggles with the threading Mole

NotMostPeople Mon 15-Apr-13 23:23:02


That is all.

Startail Mon 15-Apr-13 23:56:00

DH threads mine blush

SelfconfessedSpoonyFucker Tue 16-Apr-13 03:46:55

I have owned a number of servers and cover stitchers. I don't like the combo machines. It is a pain in the neck converting even the ones that help with threading and I don't like having to sew things in a particular order in order to only have to convert it once per garment, especially when you start coverstitching collars etc.

I like having a free arm on mine, it isn't necessary but makes children's clothes a lot easier.

Flatlock... don't expect it to look like an industrial flatlock on shop bought clothes. I don't like the faux flatlock on a home serger, you end up with funny stitches on the back. I prefer to serge it with a 4 thread and then topstitch it down. All but ??1?? of the combo machines only does a flatlock on the reverse of the sewing which makes it next to useless for a decorative stitch IMO.

I did not like the Bernina servers. My cover hem is Bernina (because it was cheap). I do not like the Viking ones either. Many of the more expensive ones have a longer foot which makes for difficulty making tighter curves. The babylock are good and are the royalty of the home market. They were too pricey for me though. I did own an Evolve (the top of the line at the time) and while it was all singing and dancing it was more machine than my friend or I desired. We were underwhelmed by the jet threading. We thought it would be a WHIZZ BANG WHOOSH and it was a put put. My friend has a Janome which is a nice machine. Mine is a cheapy Brother (US $175) and is over 10 years old and has sewn through really heavy stuff and probably thousand of hours with not a single professional service.

This is mine

loud, not very elegant but has been brilliant.

SelfconfessedSpoonyFucker Tue 16-Apr-13 03:47:30

Oh and I didn't have lessons, the Brother comes with a DVD and there are lots of people online who have one.

SelfconfessedSpoonyFucker Tue 16-Apr-13 03:49:16

US Amazon has way more reviews

ParsleyTheLioness Tue 16-Apr-13 07:58:43

Spoony I have a dvd for my Brother, but I have to keep playing it back when a thread breaks!

SelfconfessedSpoonyFucker Tue 16-Apr-13 08:11:00

keep at it, it will become second nature after a while smile

ParsleyTheLioness Tue 16-Apr-13 09:48:25

I think I just don't use it often enough for it to become a habit. In your opinion tho, is Brother no more difficult to thread than any other ? She asks hopefully...

Soupa Tue 16-Apr-13 09:54:16

I like my brother ... it was hard to thread initially but easy now. You just get used to it. I find it great funsmile

UniqueAndAmazing Tue 16-Apr-13 15:12:09

ha! the best thing about mine is that the threads are all colour-coded.
there's one bit on the green lower looper that's a git to get in, but at least I know where it goes.

SelfconfessedSpoonyFucker Tue 16-Apr-13 15:25:44

No it is no harder (and easier than one) and I've used maybe? Ten different ones. I've personally owned four different kinds. I can thread the whole thing including needles in less than a minute now.

ParsleyTheLioness Tue 16-Apr-13 16:48:06

Impresses Spoony!

CardiCorgi Wed 17-Apr-13 09:47:41

My local dealer has a few brands and give lessons, so I think I'll buy through them. They also had some second hand machines which might be the way to go. Thanks for all of the useful comments.

ParsleyTheLioness Wed 17-Apr-13 16:47:59

Impressed, I meant..

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