An overlocker is an incredibly useful tool for any sewing or craft enthusiast. These machines let anyone create completely professional sewn items at home, with features like built in cutters, hemmers, and many styles and sizes of stitch. It is fair to say though that the range of options on offer can be confusing to a new buyer, as these machines can be quite complex. We have assembled a collection of reviews of popular overlockers, taking a look at their features in detail so you can make a decision about the model you need.
The most common reason people purchase overlockers for personal use is for making clothing. Their ability to finish edges with sturdy overlock stitches allows for more durable garments than the straight stitches achieved with a regular sewing machine – and the fact that they cut the fabric as it is finished makes life a lot easier. With an overlocker it is possible to whip up anything from comfortable gym wear in minutes, to more intricate evening wear with gathered hemlines and decorative trim. Adjusting hems on trousers with a professional finish is fast and simple, and sewing projects like flannel pyjamas for the kids are a breeze.
Overlockers have the ability to give a finished edge, using a blade to cut the fabric as it is sewn, as well as join knits. They have the ability to join together fabrics ranging from heavier knits to the lightest silks and organzas, with a wide range of stitch styles. Overlockers have a stitch range from 2-4 thread with 4 thread being for stretchier knit materials and 2 thread being ideal for the sheer fabrics. The term ‘Serger’ is commonly used to mean ‘Overlocker’ and for all intents and purposes they are the same. In fact, in the U.S. the term “Overlocker” is rarely used, and the machines we know as overlockers are called “Sergers”. Technically though the serger has a fifth stitch which allows chain stitching denim seams, and some of the more expensive models have the ability to cover stitch (which is basically a double row of stitches which can easily be achieved with a twin needle on your regular sewing machine)
Overlockers are also brilliant for home improvement projects where you want a professional finish, such as curtains, cushions and bedding. With an overlocker you can make the stitching a decorative part of the finished product rather than a purely functional necessity to be tucked away and hidden. They range widely in price starting from around £150 and upwards into the thousands depending on the brand and the features available. There is no need to break the bank and go for the top of the range unless you are a professional that will use the machine heavily though as a good, middle of the range brand can easily achieve similar result and usually have the almost same abilities. Some models will do things that others won’t though, such as coverstitch, and so it is worth checking that the model you are investing in has the features you will want to use often. One of the differences between models to keep in mind though is that some are able to use regular sewing machine needles while others require specialized needles. This can be an extra cost (and inconvenience) if you are upgrading your machine and expect to use your existing needles.