We have read about "cutting the corners," now let's know something about
Finishing the Corners & Edges.
You would have seen that some of the fabrics' thread keep coming from all open sides.
We get so stressed out - cutting and managing those threads, that we get small bits of thread all around us.
And again! The same saga of small threads keep coming...
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.
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
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 stitch is a kind of sewing stitch, which is used on a raw or unfinished seam or edge to prevent unraveling of fabric.
Overedge stitch also mean the same.
Serging is done on a serger with three to five threads. Overcast is done on a regular sewing machine with a one thread and a bobbin. They serve the same purpose, to make a finished edge.
- Some of the sewing machines may have overlock / interlock / overcast or overedge function but Sergers / Overlock machines are generally meant for one exclusive function of serging or overlocking.
- Usually an overlock sewing machine will cut the edges of the cloth as they are fed through (such machines being called "sergers" in North America), though some are made without cutters.
- Know the difference between sewing machine and a serger.
There is one more stitch, that is called Coverstitch. It is a professional looking hem that looks like two rows of stitching on the top and a serger like stitch on the back.
Generally, the easiest way to achieve a coverstitch is with a serger or a coverstitch combination serger. These are two features combined into one machine.
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.
Choose Sewing Machine with Overlocking Feature or 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 fast 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Overlockers / sergers can be expensive to buy.
- 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
Brother M1034D Overlocker
- 3 or 4 thread overlocker
- Added value - includes the Blind Stitch Foot, Gathering Foot and Piping Foot
- Free arm or Flat bed convertible
- F.A.S.T lower looper threading system
- Includes an instructional DVD
- 230 volts, 100 watts, mains powered.
If you like to sew, this machine is perfect. It is quick, efficient, easy to thread ( yes, that's right) will sew through 6 layers of denim easily and do all your trimming at the same time. I still have problems with the knife trimming my internal corners, but that's an issue with my sewing technique I think or the size of the corner!
It's easy to thread because you just have to remember to do it in order, you do have to rethread all four needles but it takes seconds per needle and there is online video help if the manual doesn't do it for you.
I love my overlocker, so fast, no messing about.
Singer Overlock 14SH754 Sewing Machine
- Optimise your sewing with a Singer 14SH754 overlock. An overlock makes all the difference to the final finish of your sewing project
- 4 thread overlock with differential feed.
- The differential feed can be adjusted for flat seam finishing a lettuce edge, or easy gathering.
- Stitch length and width adjustment, Easy threading with colour-coded threading paths and handy loops.
- Moveable upper knife, snap-on presser feet
Janome 9300DX Overlocker
- 3 Or 4 Thread Overlocking
- Easy Rolled Hem Conversion
- Differential Feed Ratio 0.5 - 2.2
- Lay In Thread Tension Dials
- Instructional DVD included
You should note I purchased this 7 years ago in December and it’s still going strong so as I was reviewing another purchase and noticed I had not reviewed this I thought it unfair when it’s been a very pleasing purchase.
It’s been able to handle all the fabrics I have tried, the threading is easy just push the thread into the guide and through the lower looper then follow the colour coded guides on the threading path, I find the built in rolled hem feature handy and it’s very stable and quiet unlike other overlockers I have used for a surprisingly light machine.
I love my new singer Overlock
I already have a dinner sewing machine. I only have it for a week. But it makes my sewing life so much easier. Only one thing to comment is,it doesn't have a container to collect the cut off bits. But I keep on looking for one. Definitely a good one too buy.
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.
And when you buy and try, do remember us and let us also make wiser by knowing your choice of a serger.