There is so much to learn about sewing as we get deeper into it, but that’s what makes it so much fun! Among the first few things that you should fully understand are the differences between a typical sewing machine and an overlocker. While both are quite similar, there are also differences between them and you must grasp each one to avoid buying the wrong equipment – that could be an expensive mistake!
Here a few of the key differences between overlockers and sewing machines:
- Speed – In comparison to a typical sewing machine, an overlocker works at a faster speed. It is even possible for an overlock machine to produce a professional and neat output in around half the time it often takes for a standard sewing machine to do so.
- Neck – Another major difference can be found on the neck of the two machines. It is mainly because a typical sewing machine has a shorter neck than that of an overlocker.
- Number of threads used – A typical sewing machine is capable of using only two cones of thread at the same time. An overlocker, on the other hand, can take up to three to eight cones of threads.
- Flexibility – Many find a typical sewing machine more flexible than the overlocker because it can turn the fabric and sew it either on the right or left side of the used needles. An overlocker can serge only the needle’s left portion.
- Decorative stitches – While both machines are designed to be capable of creating decorative stitches, there is still a difference in the sense that the overlocker can make few of its decorative stitching techniques appear simpler and easier.
Now that’s some of the major differences covered, it’s time to understand the different stitches you can do with each machine.
Now that you know some of the major differences between a typical sewing machine and an overlocker, it’s time to understand the different stitches that you should learn so you can fully understand the ins and outs of the sewing industry.
5 Key Stitches You Must Master
Long gone are the days of sewing by hand (unless you prefer it that way!). Modern sewing machines are more affordable than ever now, and there is so much advice out there to master the machine you may get. So, let’s cover some of the stitches you will soon be doing with your eyes closed!
- Straight stitch – This is the most common stitch used in almost all construction sewing projects. It’s actually characterized by a strong straight stitch, which features a thread on top known as the upper thread. It also comes with a bobbin thread, which refers to the thread at the bottom. These threads will be interlocked at regular intervals.
- Zigzag stitch – Another stitch, which you should familiarize yourself with is the zigzag stitch that you can liken to a continuous row of “W”. You’ll most likely use this stitch to create a seam finish, which you can do by enclosing its raw edges. If you want to make a seam finish, then make sure to sew an edge of the stitch off the fabric’s edge. With this, you can enclose the fabric’s threads within the zigzag stitch’s threads. This will also prevent the fabric from fraying due to the stitch.
- Blind stitch – You can do this stitch if you want to spend less time hand sewing. It is useful in sewing hems in place while ensuring that there is only a minimal number of visible stitching.
- Top stitch – This form of stitch can produce a hard hem line. You can use it if you plan to strengthen a seam. It also works well as a decorative finish.
- Stretch stitch – It’s a commonly used stitch when planning to sew a stretch fabric. It consists of a straight stitch while also allowing stretching without worrying about the stitches breaking or popping. You can also do this stitch to sew a bias seam.
Sewing Machines vs. Overlockers
As we mentioned earlier, a typical sewing machine is a bit different to an overlocker. That’s why you find them being used for different purposes!
A standard sewing machine is actually useful if you’re planning to insert zippers, do some decorative stitches, quilt, make buttonholes, or topstitch. You can’t expect an overlocker or serger to perform any of the mentioned functions, which is why you’d be better of buying a sewing machine with an overlock function.
An overlocker, on the other hand, is ideal for you if you plan to complete plenty of projects involving the construction of garments. It’s recommended you invest in this machine mainly because of its speed. You’ll find it more useful and efficient than a typical sewing machine, especially when you are completing seaming, hemming, and edging tasks. It’s also a perfect machine for you if your job requires you to do plenty of knitting.
In addition, an overlocker machine is faster and easier to use. It’s a big help in getting rid of unnecessary fabric that a standard sewing machine has a hard time eliminating. You can also expect it to produce a stronger and more durable stitch. Furthermore, it’s a big help if you are involved in a project, which requires you to hem pants.
Top 3 Sewing Machines with an Overlock Function
Now we’ve covered all the technical bits and pieces, you now must want to know which are the best machines with an overlock function!
Here are our 3 top choices.
Brother M343D Overlocker
Offered by the reputable brand in the field of sewing machines, Brother, this overlocker, which can use three or four threads, is a machine with plenty of features that can make sewing easier, even for beginners. You’ll even have an easier time getting started with using it as it has an instructional DVD.
With its F.A.S.T lower looper threading technique, you’ll find it much easier to use. It also offers convenience with its LED daytime light. One nice feature in this overlocker is the tension disk release. It works in promoting a more accurate placement of the thread in the tension disks. It also guarantees perfect seams on almost all kinds of fabric through its differential feed.
Another great feature is the quick-release stitch finger, which you can use to produce rolled hemming instantly. It’s a good choice if you want to produce great overlock stitch on all weights and kinds of fabric as well as get rid of the stretch or wavy look, which often appears on a fabric’s stitches – the Brother M434D overlocker is a great choice.
Janome 9300DX Overlocker
Another 3 or 4-thread overlocking machine that you can choose is the Janome 9300DX Overlocker. One of the major advantages of this machine from Janome is that has an adjustable functionality. It’s possible for you to make adjustments on it based on the specific fabric you’re currently working with. It’s possible with the help of its two key features – the differential feed, which you can adjust at a range of .05 to 2.25, and the cutting width, which you can reset from 2 to 5.7 mm.
Janome 9300DX Overlocker is also equipped with a rolled hem, which is easy to use and promotes fast conversions for rolled hems. It’s because you just need to move the lever as a means of switching it to a rolled hem. Another reason to love this overlocker is that it makes use of a lay-in threading system designed to simplify the threading process. It promotes ease of threading as it also comes with color-coded thread guides.
It can also produce really beautiful stitches. Whether you plan to make decorative effects, simple hem stitches, ruffles, or fancy and attractive edges, a suitable feature is always present in this machine to ensure that the final stitches turn out beautifully. One example is the upper knife, which you can deactivate in case you want to do decorative sewing.
Brother 3034D Electric Sewing Machine
You can also choose Brother 3034D if you are searching for an electric sewing machine with an overlock function. The overlock function of this machine can use 3-4 threads while also letting you sew and cut overlock stitches. One of the reasons behind its popularity is that it promotes a one-step functionality. It lets you complete raw edges by doing an overlock stitching while allowing you to trim excess seam allowance at the same time. Such functionality promotes ease and speed when it comes to sewing.
Equipped with F.A.S.T threading lower loop functionality, you don’t also need to deal with a difficult and complex threading system if you’re using this machine. With this feature, you can expertly and quickly thread the machine even if you’re still a beginner. You’ll also notice that this sewing machine from Brother is equipped with a thread-twist protection system, which can prevent the thread from twisting.
The result is zero interference with your project’s finish. In addition, the machine boasts of its free-arm/flatbed convertible surface for sewing. It can, therefore, promote ease of control when you’re overlocking sleeves and cuffs.
Finding the best sewing machine with an overlock function is actually quite a difficult thing, especially if you plan on embarking on loads of sewing projects. While a standard sewing machine can help, it would still be best for you to invest in an overlocker, as it’s known for producing professional and smooth results in a speedy manner.