The Sewing Place

Overlocker?

Andymat

Overlocker?
« on: November 09, 2021, 11:34:30 AM »
I am wondering more now about getting an Overlocker. I am intending to make more T-Shirts, hoodies etc using materials with varying degrees of stretch as well as shirts and trousers.

So far, using my mother's vintage Pfaff 1471 I have been using a lot of the over-edge stitches (psudo overlock) to finish the edges on non stretch materials as well as for stretch applications. Which is OK but I am wondering if an overlocker would be quicker and easier for these applications (as long as I can get my head around the threading).

I have been thinking about my requirements and I think a machine with a warranty is important rather than second hand, but I do not want to spend a great deal on this until I know what I am doing with it and can see the benefits of spending more in the future.

Initially I looked at the Necchi one from ALDI at £149.99. However, although this seems to have good reviews and is more money and I think better quality than ALDI's previous incarnations, I am a bit nervous of this machine. It does do 2 thread stitching though.

I am now thinking about a Brother 2104D which is 3 or 4 thread only but perhaps a bit more reliable - it seems to get very good reviews. And is £219 and comes with blind hem, piping and gathering feet. Do I need 2 thread stitching and these feet in a starter machine do you think?

If I get on with it and find it useful, I would be happy to spend a bit more in the future on a better machine if I felt the extra features would be useful but at the moment I think I probably just need something to get me started.

Does anyone have any thoughts?

Helen M

Re: Overlocker?
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2021, 11:49:17 AM »
I'd go for the Brother if that is all you want to pay.

I've had an older model but almost identical for 30 years and I wouldn't change it unless I needed to. Mine is a 3 thread only machine which means I have to seam on my regular machine then overlock. I actually prefer that method as you are not cutting your fabric before you've tried it on for fit and knit fabrics can fit differently from piece to piece even using the same pattern......
Stash Busting 2022
Goal: 35 metres
So far: 1.5 metres

Elnnina

Re: Overlocker?
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2021, 11:55:49 AM »
Overlockers are just brilliant and produce such a lovely finish.   However I would steer well clear of one from Aldi, they have been known in the past to not be reliable and some even do not work properly, so in my opinion a waste of money.  I cannot comment on the Brother ones as I have never used them, however there was one when I went on a course and it was so loud compared to other ones.  May I suggest you go for a really decent one, one that will last you and do exactly what you want, that way there is less likelihood of any trouble.  I cannot see the point of starting out on a cheaper machine, and then finding you really need a better quality one in the future, after all these machines are not exactly cheap are they.  Good luck.

Bumblebuncher

Re: Overlocker?
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2021, 11:56:17 AM »
If you sew a lot of t shirts and hoodies don't even think, just buy.
You will finish your first and sit there wondering why you didn't buy one before.  You will zoom through them like grease lightening and have a wardrobe of immaculate new t shirts in shorter time than you could pop down to Primark and say 'where is the men's department'?
There is absolutely, not one logical reason I can think of that a person who makes mainly t shirts and hoodies would not need an overlocker!
Anyway
i have a Babylock 1064D (I think without checking which I will do later) four thread.  The only downside is if you need to thread it with a different colour, which you rarely do as you tie the ends on and run it through and is the same with all of them as far as I am aware.

BB
As it neared the top of the grade, it went more slowly. However, it still kept saying, "I—think—I—can, I—think—I—can." It reached the top by drawing on bravery and then went on down the grade, congratulating itself by saying, "I thought I could,  I thought I could."

realale

Re: Overlocker?
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2021, 12:10:45 PM »
Getting an overlocker for sewing knits is a no brainer to me. I thought I could manage without one until I bought one - wow, what a revelation. I wouldn't be without one at all now.

However, don't buy a cheap one to see if you like it because the cheaper ones often have more problems. If you can get to a sewing machine shop to try one or have one demonstrated that would be ideal. Otherwise go for the best you can afford - Brother, Janome etc. and buy from a reputable site. I wouldn't recommend Lidl, Aldi or Argos simply because of their aftercare.

A 4 thread is good as you can then use it as a two or three thread and do rolled hems on it and a bunch of other stuff.

Get one! You won't regret it!!  :D
So many beers, so little time.

SkoutSews

Re: Overlocker?
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2021, 12:11:49 PM »
This is where I was nearly 10 years ago!  I didn't want to spend a lot of money on an overlocker as they were a complete unknown to me, but I could see that they would be good for knits and seam finishing.

I went with a Singer from Lidl for £99. (Lidl have also got an overlocker in stock this week).  My machine was very good, but from other reports on this forum, other people weren't so lucky. I used it a lot and after five years or so decided to upgrade to a Juki654DE at just over £400 at the time.  I sold the Singer, which was still going strong. It had served its purpose as a starter machine.

I wouldn't get too excited about the 2-thread stitch.  When I tried it with the Singer it never worked satisfactorily as it relies on a little plastic spreader thingy, which keeps falling off.  When I bought the Juki, I asked about 2-thread stitching, saying what I'd found, and the dealer pretty much admitted that it doesn't ever work very well on any machine.  Maybe the TOL models are different. In any case I've found 3-thread or 4-thread work well for what I do.

My machine came with an elastic gathering foot which I haven't used to date.  It's still in the packet.  I don't use any additional feet, but your needs will depend on what you are intending to sew.

Threading is fiddly, but can be avoided much of the time by pulling threads through (loosen all tension dials, snip off the old threads near the cone, tie on your new threads to the tail and gently pull - you might need to rethread the needles if the knot doesn't want to go through the eye - then reset the tension).  When you do need to thread the machine from scratch, take your time, use the tweezers provided and do it slowly and methodically following the handbook and it will be fine, if sometimes exasperating!  YouTube can be a big help.

Generally I would say go for it if you sew knits.  An overlocker is a game-changer.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2021, 12:16:28 PM by SkoutSews »

Ohsewsimple

Re: Overlocker?
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2021, 12:35:01 PM »
Definitely get an overlocker.  They are fabulous for all sorts of garments but particularly for sewing knits. 
Don’t buy cheap because they are usually harder to thread, lead to lots of frustration and it won’t get used.    Steer clear of Lidl, Aldi and Argos as already said.  I’ve been responsible for sending lots back to these shops after myself and the engineer couldn’t get them working. 

Overlockers are completely different to a sewing machine and I would highly recommend you get to a shop where you can have them demonstrated and be given all the pros and cons of various ones even if they’re not in stock.  There won’t be as many overlockers as sewing machines in stock because they don’t sell so many.  But there’s no reason why a decent dealer shouldn’t be able to give you info and advice.  Ease of threading is worth paying for but that doesn’t mean you have to fork out Babylock prices.  Brother have some easy threading machines.   I’m personally not a fan of them for various reasons but many people like them.  Jaguar also do an easy threading machine.  I was surprised at how nice that machine ran.  Janome do some reasonably priced overlockers.  They sew well although the threading is not the easiest.  If you buy from a dealer they should show you how to thread it up, how it works, what all the dials are for etc etc.  If you buy online you will have to go it alone.   :)

You don’t need lots of feet and you don’t need it to do 2 thread.  Not all machines do this.  Differential feed is a must but I’m sure all machines nowadays have this.  Just the old ones that don’t. 

Greybird

Re: Overlocker?
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2021, 12:50:35 PM »
I am very pleased with my new Jaguar 488. If your budget runs that far, I can recommend it.

Bumblebuncher

Re: Overlocker?
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2021, 13:09:38 PM »
i just want to add that I had a Necchi originally, had it a couple of months and I had all kind of problems with it so off I went and  got the Babylock.  It would be a false economy.
BB
As it neared the top of the grade, it went more slowly. However, it still kept saying, "I—think—I—can, I—think—I—can." It reached the top by drawing on bravery and then went on down the grade, congratulating itself by saying, "I thought I could,  I thought I could."

HenriettaMaria

Re: Overlocker?
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2021, 13:14:51 PM »
By all means get an overlocker but beware they are different beasts.  I found Chris James The Complete Serger Handbook (available 2nd hand online at wildly varying prices) a godsend when I was trying to fathom how to make the machine do what I wanted it to do.

Also do note that overlockers generally take different needles from sewing machines so it's worth stocking up while you're shopping.

My 20-odd year old Singer (from before Singer went down the pan big time) is five-thread so it can be converted to cover stitch.  Doing this is a bit of a faff so I keep that step to the end of the project rather than flip back and forwards.  It does give a nice finish on the hems of T-shirts, though.

Gernella

Re: Overlocker?
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2021, 13:26:16 PM »
I've had Janome and was highly satisfied and it worked for its money @Andymat .  I upgraded to a Bernina and loving it (needle threader).  For knit fabric, especially all the time, an essential tool which will earn its keep.  Threading can look horrendous to start off with but after use is a piece of cake.

Spend as much as you can, it will be worth it even if it is a pinch at the time.
Stash extension 2022 - 12 meters
Left at the end of 2021 - 43.2 meters

maliw

Re: Overlocker?
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2021, 13:33:08 PM »
I had the Brother 1034D for many years, I decided I wanted an upgrade and now have a Babylock Imagine 2. I gave the Brother to DDiL and she uses it regularly still and it is at least 20 years old. It also uses ordinary machine needles. The only "oddity" if you like is that it has to be threaded in sequence though how it knows if it isn't I'm not sure but it can play up if you don't - as I found out several times.
I wouldn't be without an overlocker now although for years I used the machine zigzag stitch or the overlocker type stitch - neither is as good as the real thing.
At leisure on the leisure penninsula

Stitchalot

Re: Overlocker?
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2021, 16:44:32 PM »
You definitely won’t want to go back to being without one, once you get used to it. One thing I would add, which I don’t  think anyone has mentioned, is the value of having Differential Feed. I seem to have mine turned on slightly for most knit seams. (If you stitch a sample seam and put your work on the table, it should lie flat. If the edge is wavy, it has stretched and you should have used Diff Feed). There are many other uses, but that is an important one. Go for it and enjoy!


So Chic

Re: Overlocker?
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2021, 16:54:28 PM »
I have the Bernina 800DL, which used to be made by Juki for them.  It’s a great machine and I think Juki are still selling them under their own name but I can’t remember the model number.  As others have said, don’t buy from Lidl or Argos but go to a dealer so that you try to find the one that’s right for you.  Sewing Machine World, Kings Lynn or SMD, Wrexham are both good for on line purchases.
So Chic
Bernina Artista 630, Bernina 800DL, Janome Cover Pro 1000CP and an elderly Singer Touch & Sew 720G as a back up

Helen M

Re: Overlocker?
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2021, 18:15:47 PM »
You definitely won’t want to go back to being without one, once you get used to it. One thing I would add, which I don’t  think anyone has mentioned, is the value of having Differential Feed. I seem to have mine turned on slightly for most knit seams. (If you stitch a sample seam and put your work on the table, it should lie flat. If the edge is wavy, it has stretched and you should have used Diff Feed). There are many other uses, but that is an important one. Go for it and enjoy!

I don't think you can get them without  Diff Feed these days @Stitchalot, and it was what swayed my choice 30 years ago! The only other one at the time, a Janome, didn't have it so I ended up with a 3 thread machine and Diff Feed which was better than an extra thread for £100 extra!
Stash Busting 2022
Goal: 35 metres
So far: 1.5 metres