There is a huge confusion when you plan to buy your first Overlock, Interlock or Serger. First dilemma is to find out what exactly these monsters do? Ok, you found that out by checking out their definitions. Now comes the bigger question - which one is best suitable for your work? Should you buy an over-locking machine, interlock machine or simply a serger?
Wait! There is one more daunting and haunting question - Do you really need a serger or interlock / overlock machine or rather you manage interlocking with your sewing machine? Because that is also possible! Which is the Best Machine for your kind of work?
You know about "cutting the corners" let's know something about finishing the corners and edges.
You would have seen that some of the fabrics' thread keep coming from all open sides. You get so stressed out - cutting and managing those threads, that you get small bits of thread all around you. And again! The same saga of small threads keep coming...To finish these threads coming out from the sides of your clothe, you use serging, overlocking or interlocking! Right?
Who invented a Serger?
Ahhh! How much I love the inventor of overlock stitching machines "Mr.J.Makens Merrow."
Mr. Merrow and his son Joseph had a Machine Company in Connecticut in 1881 and they worked hard to ease our overlocking nightmares.
Know more about the man who invented overlocking machines.What is Overlock & what Other Names it got?
Overlock is a kind of stitch that is used to sew over the edge of one or two pieces of fabric for edging, hemming, or seaming.
Difference between Overlock,Interlock, Overcast & Serger Machines.
- · OVERLOCK / INTERLOCK
- · OVERCAST / OVEREDGE
- · SERGER
- · COVERSTITCH
An overlock is a kind of stitch that sews over the edge of one or two pieces of cloth for edging, hemming, or seaming.
The term Overlock and Interlock are used interchangeably.
Overcast or overedge stitch is used for enclosing raw or unfinished seam or edges. Name differs but purpose is same - to prevent unraveling of fabric.
Serger is one of the most common terms used for a specialized sewing machine to finish the edges.
Though, modern sewing machines are loaded with serging feature but still a serger can give you a far more professional and durable seam than a standard sewing machine, especially for stretchable fabrics. Three or four threads lock around the seam to prevent fraying and extra seam allowances is also trimmed off as the machine sews.
A serger foot is used to get a professional looking hem that looks like two rows of stitching on the top and a serger like stitch on the back.
This stitch is generally used to give decorative look to hem. Coverstitch covers the raw edge beautifully and professionally.
What Does An Overlock Machine Do?
an overlocker is a sewing machine that stitches with either 3, 4 or 5 threads at the same time. They are mainly used to join seams, trim off the excess fabric and stop the cut edges from fraying all in one simple operation.
I loved how detailed information is given on We'r in Stitches, you can also have a look.
Should You Choose a Sewing Machine with Overlocking Feature or a Serger?
Now, you would have known the difference and similarity between this edge sewing stitch known by different names by different sewing machine manufactures.
Overlock feature may be added in your sewing machine but an overlock machine / serger gives you exclusive specialization of this stitch.
Overlocking for Domestic Sewing Projects
You can use an Overlocking , Overlock Stitch Sewing Machine Foot Snap if you have any of the following sewing machines - Brother, Janome, Toyota, New Singer Domestic Sewing Machines or
For domestic or home sewing projects you can have a sewing machine having overlock feature.
Serging for Professional Work Setup
But for professional set up, it's beneficial to use an exclusive serger to speed up your work.
There are many simple function models as well as advanced models in sergers / overlock machine category.
You can choose the serger as per your needs and requirement. Based on your daily work needs, the feature of the serger should vary.
The Simplest Plug-N-Start Serger / Overlocker for Professional Work Set up
(I loved it in my Fashion Boutique)
When the volume of work is high and we need our serger / overlocker to do work faster then we need to buy a specialized machine for the serging with a cutter.
I used a simple serger with a cutter. Initially, i was skeptical if I would ever be able to operate it as it looked complicated. But in fact, there was nothing simpler that that serger.
§ It is a high speed monster, ideal for fashion boutique and I love it.
§ Easy to operate and extension table gives support while sewing.
§ Very economic.
§ Does only one task of overlocking but does it so fast and nice that it's a boon for a fashion boutique where you have to produce volumn.
§ This machine consumes space.
§ Threading needs a little practice.
§ Can do only one task. You can't do multiple designer kind of stitches.
§ You can buy a multi stitch sewing machine and enjoy a variety, just by adding some more money.
In my view, this machine is good when you have a huge volumn of overlocking work and you want to specialize on overlocking a monotonous kind of thing.
For home sewing projects, where we need variety in our designs, this overlocking machine may not be upto the mark.
What to Consider while Buying a Serger / Overlock Machine?
§ A good serger / overlocker should have at least three or four threads. Mine had three threads but more the merrier.
§ It makes sense to have adjustable pressure foot as per your sitting position.
§ For thicker fabrics, two step pressure foot lifter is a good consideration, otherwise you may get inconvenience while pulling the fabric out.
§ Adjustable bite width and stitch length would allow you to make designer eye catchy beautiful hem on kids' dresses and similar projects. You can also adjust the width and length as per the fabric thickness.
§ Another feature that you need is Adjustable Differential feed (for lettuce edge – wavy hems, or easy gathering).
§ A cutter or Retractable upper knife is generally given in a serger but you can check with your sewing machine because they generally don't have this feature.
§ Though most of the sergers / overlocking machines come with a Free arm (for sewing tubular items) it's not an essential.
Pros and Cons of Buying a Serger / Overlocking Machine
§ You'll be surprised how it reduces the amount of work involved in producing your finished project.
§ Your sewing projects get a professional and clean finish.
§ I make my handkerchief in a jiffy and it's also excellent for attaching elastic.
§ We can get a variety of fancy edges or hems in very less time.
§ I love the time a serger / overlocker saves me by finishing the hem so fast.
§ Overlockers / sergers can be expensive to buy.
§ Initially, I spoiled so many fabrics while I made the mistake of not paying attention - where my fabric was going. An attached cutter needs attention while working on a serger / overlocker.
§ Learning to thread an overlocker and set the correct tensions can prove to be interestingly mind boggling.
My View on Buying a Serger / Overlocker
It's not a rule on a rock that you must have all the features. Depending on your budget and requirement, choose a serger / overlock or interlock machine which can serge well with a clean finish.
Best Serger / Top Overlock Machines
Summary In a Nutshell
Through my experience, I can say that a serger or overlock machine is the best sewing companion that you can have. Or at least have an added feature of overlocking in your existing sewing machine ( I already explained the over locking snap on foot earlier in this post)
I have shown you many ways how you can get the best in serging / overlocking. You can compliment your existing sewing machine with a snap on overlock footer or buy a sewing machine with overlocking features.
Or for the sewing lovers, buy an exclusive serger. But before that check your budget and the features you want and based on that, choose the one that suits you.
A serger is not something you buy everyday, so make a wise decision and buy it considering a long time investment.
Join the community to excel in your work