If you enjoy all kinds of crafts and like to keep your hands busy doing things by yourself, rather than relying on buying things from shops or if you are interested in making an additional income, you may have already given some thought to overlocker machines. If you haven’t, we hope to show you just why you should with our guide to the best overlocker machines for beginners.
First things first, what is an overlocker machine and what are they good for?
What Overlockers Are Actually Good For
Basically, an overlocker is a specific type of sewing machine that is designed to stitch not just one thread, but 2, 3 or even 4 threads at once. They are most commonly used to join seams together, trim off any excess fabric and stop cut edges from fraying, to make the finished stitch look neat, tidy and professional, all in one easy process.
Why It May Be Complicated For A Beginner
One issue that is raised regarding overlockers time and time again is the threading. Learning to thread an overlocker can be rather difficult, particularly if you are complete beginner. Although it gets easier once you have spent time practicing and perfecting the particular technique required for threading a specific machine, you might not have the inclination or time to spend learning that and just want to get down to some overlocking.
Good Features To Be Aware Of
If you are on the search for an overlocker or are at least tempted to invest in one, it helps to have an idea of the kind of features that are good to have. To help, we have put together a list of some of the most important.
- Adjustable Differential Feed. This is one of the most important features to have in an overlocker, as it will help you to crate gathers and works at sewing with various kinds of fabrics. The majority of modern overlockers will include this feature, but it is still a good idea to make sure the one you are looking at definitely has one. Especially when the machine is at the lower end of the price range.
- Adjustable Stitch Width and Length. This is fairly self-explanatory, but having an adjustable stitch length and width function gives you a wider range of uses with your overlocker.
- Foot pedal controlling the adjustable sewing speed. As with a normal sewing machine or your car, the foot pedal that adjusts the speed of your overlocker, increases the speed when you push down and sows down as you ease off.
- Presser Foot that is easily removed. This is an ideal feature to have, particularly when it comes to threading or rethreading your machine. Snap-on presser foots are especially desirable.
- Sewing light. Most have this, but if you want to be able to sew with your overlock as well as you possibly can, regardless of the lighting conditions, a sewing light is something you need to make sure is included.
- Colour-coded Threading Routes or Chart. Ideally, this should be pasted onto your overlocker, but even if it isn’t it is still an incredibly useful feature, for when it comes to threading and re-threading your machine.
- Easy to adjust seam. if you can find a machine with a dial that can be turned to cut less or more fabric, sewing farther from the edge or closer to it.
Additionally, a high quality cutter that can be disengaged and sharpened or replaced easily. Extras that are always handy to have when you want to get started straight away such as tweezers, spool nets, spool caps, screwdrivers, dust cover and user manual.
Why Beginners Shouldn’t Spend Too Much
If you are completely new to the world of overlockers, it is crucial that you don’t spend too much on a machine. Although a high price machine may look like it has all the bells and whistles you could ever need, this is only going to be a sound investment if you are going to use it regularly. Therefore, if you are just beginning with overlockers, it is always worth getting started on a less expensive model – you can always move onto another one if you feel this is a hobby you may continue.
Another important aspect to consider though, that seems counter-productive to the above point is that you shouldn’t buy the cheapest overlocker you come across. The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is very apt when it comes to overlockers and sewing machines in general. Cheaper models are made from cheaper parts and don’t include as many of the common features (mentioned above) that you need to really get the best use out of them. As when buying anything really, price should be considered along with other factors when deciding which is the best beginner overlocker for you, not the sole one.
Our Top 3 Best Overlockers For Beginners
When it actually comes to buying an overlocker, taking the features and price into account, you will find that there is a lot of different models to choose from. So many that it can be daunting trying to choose the right one from so many. To give you a helping nudge in the right direction therefore, we have put together a list of what we feel are the top three choices of overlockers for beginners available at the moment.
Brother is a brand that you will never go wrong with. They have been a major player in the world of sewing machines and overlocker machines for some time and are known for producing well-made, intuitive and affordable machines. The M343D is no different. Just under 200 quid, this is a nice and compact overlocking package. It allows you to easily make stitches of either 3 threads or 4 threads, giving you a wide range of options when it comes to the type of stitches you want to actually make. There is a very easy to follow lay-in threading system, that once you learn with this machine you will be able to follow suit with others further down the line. There is a differential feed that means you can adjust things to accommodate a wide array of different fabrics and a simple sliding lever adjusts the width of the stitches.
This overlocker comes with an accessory kit, a carry handle built into the design for easy transport and a tutorial DVD that will help you get started.
Janome 9300DX Overlocker
Next on our list is an overlocker machine from the incredibly popular manufacturer Janome. Janome are renowned for their ingenuity when designed and producing their attractive and easy to use overlockers and the Janome 9300DX is a stunning entry-level model. A little pricier than the Brother model, but you know it’s good value for money when it has the Janome branding on the side.
In a similar way to the above model, you have the option to use 3 or 4 threads for your overlocking stitches and you can easily convert the machine for rolled hemming. As is per standard, there is a differential feed ratio of 0.5 to 2.2 to give you the option to work with a wide variety of different fabrics. The easy to follow lay-in threading system is used, like it is in the machine above. Also included with these features is a much quieter mechanisms and motors compared to others in the price range, tweezers, screwdrivers, ball point needles, a gathering attachment, an instructional book and DVD.
Brother M1034D Overlocker
Our final top choice for beginner overlockers is another Brother model, the Brother M1034D. It is a little pricier than the above Brother, and with good reason because as well as the usual 3 or 4 thread options for stitches and the FAST lower looper threading system, there is the added value of the Piping foot, gathering foot and blind stitch foot functions. These all help to give you a wider range of options when it comes to working with fabrics and the kinds of stitching and finishes you can do.
The world of overlockers can seem scary and complicated to the uninitiated. Which is why we created this guide. We want to encourage all of you who are interested in investing in and using overlockers to do so. It is not the easiest thing in the world to use if you are a complete newbie. However, it is one of the most rewarding. Particularly if you already own a sewing machine and are looking to expand your repertoire of crafting and sewing.
We hope you now understand why they are difficult to master for many people, but also that there is hope in the form of beginner overlockers. You now have a better idea of the features you should be looking for and why you shouldn’t rush out and spend a whole wad of cash on one. So with all this in mind, you should be able to find the overlocker of your dreams.