In recent years, sewing has become increasingly popular – for both women and men, especially for DIY projects. From fixing torn fabrics to making clothes from scratch, the trusty sewing machine is the ideal go-to tool for any home.
Sewing machines come in different shapes and abilities – computerised, embroidery, heavy dusty, etc. But today, we’re taking a look at a machine called an overlocker or Serger.
Using an overlocker, you’ll be able to securely “overlock” the raw edges and seams of your fabric. Plus, these machines use small sharp blades to trim edges, making clean finishes and stopping fabric from fraying. With 2, 3, 4, or sometimes even 5 threads, this machine chops off the excess cloth before sewing, and is more complex than a standard sewing machine, but is well worth the investment for perfectionist sewers.
The overlock sewing machine is, in a sense, the cherry on top of the home sewing equipment. Here are our top 3 overlockers (Serger) picks, and we’ll guide you through the fantastic features of these machines.
1 Janome AT2000
With the JANOME AirThread 2000D, overlocking is a walk in the park. This overlocker sews consistently on everything from a small rolled hem to multiple thick layers of fabric.
The air threading system is the standout feature of the JANOME AirThread 2000D. The thread is blown cleanly and quickly through the hook with just one lever movement. Threading an overlocker fills beginners with fear, but with this unique air threading technology, threading has never been so easy – it’s like magic.
For specific yarns, the machine also has a manual threader. In addition, the overlock is equipped with a needle threader for convenience.
It is simpler to stitch thick and uneven layers of fabric thanks to the presser foot’s unique form and indentations.
Even the finest materials are transported safely thanks to the 8-part transport system. The throat plate aperture has been reduced as well, so that no additional cloth may be pushed down. And most adjustment options are possible without opening the left flap.
It’s now possible to adjust both the differential and the stitch length with a single knob. Even switching from an overlock to a 2-thread rolled hem is quick and simple.
The converter, which serves as the looper thread’s cover, is already in place; all that is required is activation.
Improved thread guides make it simple and quick to place thread. Upper tension disc threading issues are resolved by sliding thread guides, reducing machine threading mistakes.
You may easily adjust the foot pressure to stitch a range of fabrics or accommodate different feet.
Simple access: The settings buttons are located in the same location, so there’s no need to open the side cover! Whether the fabric is bulky or thin, it is simple to adjust the cutting width to guarantee that the stitches land perfectly on the edge of the fabric, even on a curve. It is simple to disable the upper knife for ornamental flatlock and other moves.
Lower looper pre-tension adjustment: This conveniently located slider makes adjusting the lower looper tension simple. You may quickly switch from a conventional hem to a rolled hem by using the convenient chaining switch. The looper lid doesn’t need to be opened!
Looper selection lever: Place your thread in the desired location, then move the looper selection lever to the right or left depending on which looper you want to “thread.”
New standard foot: The new standard foot features a section that is serrated and has a smooth finish at the base. This will aid in improving grip on thick materials, many layers, and uneven surfaces, and will also aid in preventing needle damage and skipped stitches. Even the lightest fabrics can produce stunning results using the 8-part feed dogs.
For the Janome AirThread 2000D, the main shaft has been modified for speed, robustness, and stability. Low torque is produced by two ball bearings, which improves stability at faster serging speeds and increases durability.
2 Brother Overlocker 4234D
Brother, a Japanese manufacturer, is the one to turn to if you’re seeking a reliable overlock sewing machine. The company’s equipment is praised for being extremely powerful, high-quality, and user-friendly.
The Brother Overlock 4234D comes with a comprehensive bundle, as is customary for Japanese Serger machines in this price range. The style is straightforward, practical, and classic. The weight is surprisingly manageable at less than 7kg, and the craftsmanship is top-notch.
Though threading an overlock typically takes some skill and a sprinkle of patience. This is only partly true for the Brother 4234D since, in contrast to other models, this laborious preparation work is completed fast. Delivered to your house already threaded and ready to go, you can get sewing straight out of the box.
The Brother Overlock 4234D comes with a lower looper threading assist and the function required to reduce thread tension. A clear explanation of threading is provided by the machine’s internal graphic. And if you still require some assistance, you can refer to the informative handbook or the DVD that is included.
3 Singer 14SH754 – Best on a Budget
The Singer 14SH754 combines three tasks into one action: sewing, cutting, and fabric overcasting. The sewing machine’s simple handling, lovely seam and stitch patterns, and variety of configuration possibilities – and built by one of the biggest sewing brands – make this a superb budget overlocker.
Powered by a robust 1,300rpm motor, it can produce over 1,000 stitches per minute. Your multi-thread stitching allows for a variety of seam styles, giving finished fabrics a high-quality appearance.
The stitch length and width can also be easily controlled from the outside. Without a cutting edge, the upper knife is simply folded away for sewing. The coloured threading pattern and eyelets make it simple to thread the Singer Overlock 14SH754.
- choose from six sewing stitches
- Built by Singer, the most trusted brand in sewing
- Speedy 1,100 stitches every minute
- 4, 3, 2, thread overlock function
- Adjustable differential feed
- Fold-away upper knife
- Coloured threading aid
- Adjustable stitch length and width
- 2 thread overlock for lightweight seams
- Light and free-arm features
Complete Overlocker Buying Guide
Whether you are an overlocker beginner or a seasoned sewer, these machines will take your sewing to the next level. Complementary to the sewing machine, the overlocker (also called Serger) will allow you to improve the quality of your creations by achieving professional finishes that do not fray, quickly and easily.
To help you choose the right overlocker sewing machine that best suits your needs, we’ll answer some of the most pressing questions surrounding these machines.
- What exactly is it for?
- What are its advantages and also its disadvantages?
- What are the differences with a sewing machine?
- What criteria should be taken into account?
- What are the best serger models?
What is an Overlocker Used for?
The overlocker (serger) is a machine that cuts, sews and overcasts the edges of fabrics in a single pass and allows you to achieve perfect finishes while saving time.
The overlocker is best used with flexible and lightweight materials like voile, silk, jersey, mesh, fleece, lycra, etc. Typically, the most common overlockers use 2, 3, or 4 threads threaded separately on the needles and loopers.
Differences Between an Overlocker and a Sewing Machine?
Before delving into the differences between a sewing machine and an overlocker, it’s important to understand what each of these machines is capable of. The sewing machine’s function is to sew fabrics together. It has a wider range of stitches, particularly decorative ones, and you won’t be able to do without it for buttonholes or zips.
The overlocker, on the other hand, is designed to quickly assemble pieces of fabric and create neat finishes. In other words, you can sew, cut excess fabric, and finish the edges all in one operation. Although some sewing machines have an overlock stitch, they do not provide the same level of finish, solidity, and speed of execution as an overlocker.
Furthermore, the overlocker will work much more easily with delicate materials such as fine or stretchy fabrics. The serger, despite its more specific function, does not replace the sewing machine. On the contrary, they are two different machines.
How an Overlocker Works
While overlockers and sewing machines serve similar purposes, overlockers are operated somewhat differently. Features including differential feed, knives, and loopers are unique to this model. Let’s investigate this device in greater depth.
Read More: What is an Overlocker – Aka, Serger?
The differential governs how fast the feed dogs feed the fabric. Unlike a sewing machine, which has only one row of feed dogs, an overlocker has two. There is a first row in front and the second row in the back.
Because these two rows of feed teeth are independent, you can adjust the differential to prevent stretch fabrics from stretching (one feed feeds slower than the other) or light fabrics from gathering (one feeds faster than the other). At the time of the bite, the other)
When the differential is not activated (1 or N), the two rows of feed dogs advance at the same speed, for example, when sewing cotton fabrics. Differential feed is essential for total mastery of your sewing work. It is commonly found on the majority of overlocker models.
The threads are guided under the needle plate by two loopers on an overlocker. They are the ones who make the stitches by interlacing the different threads one above the other using needles. They can make threading threads more difficult, but they are necessary for the machine to function properly.
Two cutting knives are found on an overlocker sewing machine. These knives allow the overlocker to cleanly cut the fabric’s edge before overcasting it (sewing the edge of the fabric in an “overlocking fashion”).
The lower knife is fixed, whereas the upper knife is movable. The upper knife is the one that moves up and down to cut the fabric on the lower blade. On most machines, the upper knife can be deactivated at any time to achieve specific sewing points, such as the rolled hem.
The overlocker is different from a regular sewing machine because it has two needles that can work together or separately. You’ll need to match your needles to the type of fabric and thread you’ll be using, just like you would with a sewing machine.
Some overlocks can use standard needles, which can also be used with a sewing machine, but others can only use special sergers and overlock needles that work better with the speed of these machines.
Important Criteria for Choosing the Best Serger
Here are the main criteria to consider when selecting your serger overlocker machine based on your needs as well as your budget.
The Number of Thread Spools
Overlocker machines make use of several thread spools (or cones). Overlockers with 2, 3, 4, or 5 spools are the most common options. This is an important criterion because it will primarily determine the type of stitches that the machine can perform and that you will be able to use for your sewing projects.
It is ideal for those who simply want to overcast. It promises a neat finish only in the 3-thread overlock stitch but does not allow you to work on stretch fabrics or make decorative stitches. Because they lack features such as differential feed, these are typically the least expensive sergers. They also only use one needle.
3 and 4-thread Overlocker
These are typically entry-level sergers. They make it possible to sew, cut, and overcast fabrics all in one pass. This serger is ideal for stretchy, resistant fabrics. They have the basic features of a serger but are noisier and less stable (lighter) than other models.
2, 3 and 4 threads
The main thing that sets it apart from earlier models is how flexible it is and how many creative options it gives. In fact, the 2, 3, and 4-thread overlock machines are especially good for making stitches with only 2 threads (2-thread overlock, 2-thread flatlock or 2-thread rolled hem). It is the perfect model to let your creativity run wild and try out different finishes.
It usually has more advanced features that make it easier and more comfortable to use than 3 and 4-thread models. This type of overlocker is the one that seamstresses of all levels use the most.
Number of Stitches
This is of course an important criterion depending on your future desires. The number of stitches will mainly depend on the type of serger you have previously selected.
Your future overlocker should allow you to make the main stitches that can be expected from this type of machine: 4-thread overlock, 2 or 3-thread overlock, rolled hem and flatlock. A good overlocker machine must offer all of these points, but remember to check this criterion.
Main Serger Stitches
Your needs and the type of serger you select will have the biggest impact on the number of stitches available.
The 4 Thread Overlock Stitch (or Overlock)
This is the classic overlocker main stitch, and it is almost certainly the one you will use the most. At the same time, the machine will sew and overcast the edge of the fabrics. This saves time and ensures perfect results.
Overlock Stitch (2 or 3 Threads)
It enables you to overcast the edges without having to join the fabrics. Its purpose is to achieve clean finishes to prevent fraying of the edges over time.
Rolled Hem (2 or 3 Threads)
With a rolled hem, the edge of the fabric is folded over itself very slightly to make a very narrow hem. It is great for finishing the edges of fabrics that aren’t very thick, and it doesn’t take much fabric.
The Flat Lock
It is a purely decorative stitch that enables the flat joining of two pieces of fabric. Only versions that have a deactivated knife can be flat-locked.
A Disabled Knife
Most overlockers are equipped with a removable knife but check this point carefully because to carry out certain tasks, you will need to deactivate the knife so as not to cut the fabric.
Threading the threads is a tedious, time-consuming, but necessary step before beginning to sew or when changing threads in the middle of a seam.
Threading entails threading the various threads one by one through the needles and loopers, paying close attention to the order in which each thread is passed.
Two threads pass through the loopers inside the machine, while the other two pass through the needles outside. Most overlockers come with coloured markers to help with threading.
The instructions for the various steps are also located inside the machine’s front cover, so you can always find them. Threading usually follows the same pattern from machine to machine.
The threads are usually threaded through the upper looper (red), then the lower looper (yellow), and finally through the right needle (green), then the left needle (blue).
Some overlocker include an automatic air threading system to make your job easier. A jet of pressurised air propels the yarn through the machine, threading the loopers (upper and lower) in seconds.
Thread Tension Adjustment
Thread tension discs allow you to adjust the tension of each thread independently of the others.
The tension should be adjusted according to the fabric and thread used, as well as the chosen stitch pattern. The greater the number indicated, the greater the thread tension. Each tension adjustment knob is typically distinguished by a colour code that corresponds to the thread of the loopers or needles.
Tension is adjusted manually, but on some high-end serger models, the tension can be adjusted automatically based on the stitch selected.
Sewing Machine Waste Bin
A waste collection box can be useful because the serger generates a lot of waste. It can be attached to the front of the machine to keep your workspace clean and to keep fabric or thread residue from getting everywhere while sewing.
The free arm, like a sewing machine, makes it easier to sew tubular pieces like sleeves or hems.
The settings on some overlockers can be so tedious that you lose interest in using your machine. Consider how easy it is to thread the threads, especially on entry-level machines with fewer options.
Even for seasoned seamstresses, this is often the most delicate operation to perform. Although nothing is insurmountable, tell yourself that the more simple and comfortable your machine is to use, the more you will want to use it.
Cost for an Overlocker Sewing Machine
Obviously, price is an important factor to consider when making your decision. Above all, your budget must account for your project’s needs, your level of sewing, and frequency of use.
Overlockers are complex mechanical machines. Its price will, of course, be determined by the type of overlocker you select (3 threads, 3 and 4 threads, or 2, 3 and 4 threads), as well as its functionalities and brand. For occasional use, entry-level models start at around £300, but prices quickly rise for more advanced models, reading the £2,000 – £3,000 range, but for general home use, these expensive machines are overkill.
Orient yourself toward the higher range for more frequent or professional use. For around £500, you can find models with a much higher level of finish and comfort of use.
Whatever happens, avoid very cheap unknown brand machines, which are frequently fragile, have limited performance, and may discourage you. Favour brands such as Singer, Brother, Pfaff, Elna, Janome, Juki, Jaguar, Bernette, and Babylock so they provide high-quality overlockers to help you achieve neat finishes and stitches.
So, yes, the cost of an overlocker is slightly higher than the cost of a sewing machine. For example, excellent basic sewing machines are available for well under £300. Nonetheless, you will not be disappointed with the results of your sewing projects if you purchase an overlocker sewing machine.