What's an Overlocker? Article



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Find out more about overlocking tuition and classes - click here

About Overlockers
Overlockers - originally used in industrial sewing venues - are a valuable asset to home sewers.  Not long ago, overlockers were only available for commercial use. The machines were huge, heavy and impractical for home sewers. Fortunately, the market has changed and there are wonderful assortments of industrial-quality overlockers, at a variety of price points, designed specifically for home sewers.

Different from a conventional sewing machine that forms a stitch with a bobbin and top thread, an overlocker works with loopers and needle threads that form an overlocking stitch.

When selecting an overlocker, keep in mind that as the number of threads and loopers increase, so does the price of the machine. So, choose the configuration that best fits your needs.

What is an Overlocker?
An overlocker (also known as a serger) is a special-purpose machine that produces professionally finished seams, like those found on ready-to-wear garments. It uses between two and nearly a dozen threads to encase the raw edge of the fabric with an overcast stitch, while trimming away the seam allowance - all at speeds of up to 1,700 stitches per minute.  Instead of a bobbin and single needle, the overlocker has a cutting blade, “loopers” and multiple needles.

Overlockers are used to clean-finish the seam allowances although today’s models can do far more than that, and they have become increasingly easy to operate, creatively diverse in their stitch capability and more economical than ever.

What Does an Overlocker Do?
An overlocker does not replace a sewing machine. Its primary function is to clean finish a raw edge, giving the project a professional appearance. Many overlocking stitches have built-in stretch, making them the perfect tool for seaming knit fabrics. Additionally, the eyes of the loopers are larger than the eyes of sewing needles and can therefore accommodate thicker decorative threads.

About Overlocker Stitches
As the number of needles and loopers increases, so does the diversity of the stitches; and as the stitch diversity increases, so does the price. Once you understand the stitches, you can ask an overlocker dealer which machine best suits your needs.

Features to Look For
Everyone has different overlocking needs; however, most agree that the following key features are worth investigating.

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At Sew In Brighton sewing school, based in Hove, East Sussex we can show you how to thread up, adjust tension, sew jersey and other fabrics and answer any of your questions you may have about overlockers, how they work and which overlocker is suitable for your needs.  You can bring your own overlocker machine or learn on ours. 

We have these options to help you get to know your overlocker: 

Love Your Overlocker Workshop

Learn to use an overlocker (use ours or bring your own) or get help with ANY sewing project you have in mind to our Click here for details

Level 2 Overlocker Workshop

Love Your Overlocker workshop - Sew In Brighton

Learn advanced overlocking techniques including decorative stitching, more on rolled hems, cover stitching, blind hemming, dealing with corners, other hems and sewing with lycra... 
Click here for details

1-2-1 overlocker lessons

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Private tuition covering either Love Your Overlocker or both that and Level 2 workshop content with our Overlocker expert Carrie at our classroom in Hove - or we may be able to hold the class at your house
Click here for 1-2-1 class details and prices


Learn to sew first

Learn To Use A Sewing Machine
If you are an absolute Beginner to sewing and want to learn to sew with a sewing machine before starting to learn overlocking please click here