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Should I get an overlocker or a better sewing machine?

(4 Posts)
dustyanswer Fri 16-Jan-15 10:25:03

I have a very small business making cushions and fabric-based gifts & homeware. I also make clothes for myself, and for friends if they ask me. I don't sew every day as that business is part-time and I do other non-sewing things. I currently use a (discontinued) mid-range John Lewis machine that cost me about 200 quid a few years ago. The buttonholes are 4 step and it only has a few stitches. It's fine though.
What I now need, especially for a professional finish on the cushions, is a way of finishing off seams nicely (I sometimes bind them now which looks lovely but takes forever). I looked at overlockers but they seem really complicated and it freaks me out a bit that they cut as they sew. Also with cushion covers you cut off the corners after sewing the seam which surely would unravel the overcasting?
So, I found a lovely Janome machine in John Lewis which does overcasting, and one step buttonholes. The assistant sang its praises but also said that lots of people prefer to have a more basic machine plus an overlocker rather than a fancier machine.

I think I'd rather have a better machine with more stitches, but I don't want to make a mistake and in a few months time wish I'd bought an overlocker.

Any thoughts or advice very much appreciated, or if you'd like to recommend a good sewing machine around the £300, 350 mark that'd be great.

MinniesMate Fri 16-Jan-15 12:55:55

I'd go for an overlocker. I've got a Janome sewing machine, quite a good one, but the overlocking stitch is no where near as good as a proper overlocker.

I bought my daughter an overlocker last year- she has a small dressmaking business and she loves it.

lavendersun Fri 16-Jan-15 16:32:34

I have both an overlocker and a decent machine.

If your machine does what you want it to then I would go for an overlocker, if you think you would use the extra functions on a more complicated machine then go for that.

I knew that I wouldn't so I have a fairly basic machine (Bernina 1008S which only has 16 stitches) and an overlocker. I wanted a robust mechanical machine with a fairly precise stitch rather than a whole range of stitches I probably would never use.

A machine overlocking stitch, even with a foot, is nowhere near the finish of an overlocker.

You will love the finish on the inside of your cushions with an overlocker. You would probably overlock the corners off the cushions. You do have to secure the ends or they do unravel. I use a needle with a big eye, put it down the overlocking which is at a 90 degree angle and then thread a couple of inches the end of the other side of overlocking through the needle and pull it so that one set of loose ends is secured by the next side of overlocking.

That probably doesn't make the slightest bit of sense but it does work!

My overlocker is very simple to thread and hasn't given me any bother at all. If you can thread a sewing machine you can thread an overlocker. You can do lovely things like rolled hems and picot hems very quickly and easily with the right overlocker which could save you time.

Sewing machine wise I have no idea. I bought my overlocker from Sewing Machines Direct. I phoned them for advice and the person I spoke to recommended a cheaper one than the one I had intended to buy. I would recommend them and they never seem to get anything but good reviews on here. You could give them a call, their opinion is free and you can choose to ignore it and/or not buy from there.

dustyanswer Mon 19-Jan-15 15:54:05

Thanks for the advice - sorry to have disappeared!

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