Overlock machines are an important addition to any sewing enthusiast’s collection - especially if you want results with a professional finish.
If you’re new to overlockers, you might not know much about them, so here’s a helpful guide to overlockers, including what makes them great and how they differ from traditional sewing machines.
An overlock machine is a craft sewing machine that produces a professional knitted stitch that sews over the edge of the fabric. The stitches they produce are truly unique and can’t be replicated on traditional sewing machines.
Also known as a serger, the overlocker is a specialised piece of machinery that binds your fabric and reduces excess seam. Many of the big sewing brands produce their own overlockers, all with unique features to set them apart from each other – so there’s a wealth of options if you’re in the market for one!
Designed to stitch over the edge of one or several pieces of fabric, the overlock machine can produce a neat edge on your project and will prevent material from fraying.
In addition to producing neat, crisp edges on your fabric, the overlock machine can be used to stop edge stretching - or used to implement it, if desired. As a versatile design machine, the overlocker can gather or ruffle your material, or produce a ‘lettuce edge.’ In many cases, the overlock machine will also cut the edges of your cloth for precise, professional results.
The overlock machine is a piece of machinery designed to complement your sewing machine – not replace it. Despite being similar, there are several notable differences. When joining edges, an overlock machine is far superior in speed, and they contain a looper that loops threads on the fabric’s edge and prevents fraying. This gives a professional finish to your material that single-thread sewing machines can’t reproduce.
As many overlock machines also come with a blade, they are capable of trimming the edges as they sew. For more information, read our full blog on the difference between sewing machines and overlockers.
These two machines ideally complement each other. It’s advised to use an overlock machine if you’re looking for a professional edge finish, are sewing with a knitting project or need to get through a huge volume of edges in a short space of time.
If you want to do more complex stitches, such as topstitching, buttonholes or adding zippers to fabric, then a sewing machine would be a more suitable choice.
An overlock machine can be quite complicated to get accustomed to, so if you’re a beginner stitcher it’s recommended that you buy a sewing machine first and get comfortable with the various types of stitches before progressing.
Because overlockers use multiple lines of thread, they can be tricky to set up, despite many modern machines having helpful features like semi-automatic threading and air threading. They’re also not an essential piece of equipment for novices still learning to sew simple projects, so don’t feel rushed into using one!
When you do decide to invest in an overlock machine, there’s a range of options for any price point and skill level.
For beginners, a fantastic choice is the JAGUAR 099 OVERLOCKER. This has basic features that give users the perfect introduction to overlocking, with no distracting embellishments and an easy-to-use design.
For intermediate to pro users, an excellent overlocker is the Pfaff Admire Air 5000. This machine is sophistication to the highest degree, with terrific build quality and an array of features to take your overlocking experience further.
Finally, for the pro users that aren’t worried about a budget, you can’t do much better than the Bernina L890. This combination machine performs overlock stitches and coverstitches alike, with a futuristic design and modern features like a touchscreen design and one-step air threading system. This is the ultimate overlocking experience!
If you’ve got another question, Sewing Direct’s experts are here to help!
We stock a wide range of sewing and overlock machines from brands like Singer, Bernina and more. Our specialists can help you pick the perfect machine for your needs, or give you advice on getting the most from your sewing craft. Get in touch today to find out more.