The Sewing Place

Overlocker - best buy.


Overlocker - best buy.
« on: July 13, 2017, 15:25:59 PM »
Another snippet of info from the machine repair man - some of the best domestic overlockers around are those sold in Aldi or Liddle for about £100.  Apparently they are copies of something or other made under licence and have a Singer badge on them, but they work well.

He was of course suitably scathing of modern plasticy Singers and Husqvarna sewing machines.
Brenda.  My machines are: Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born 1940, Thirza a Featherweight 221K born 1949, Azilia a Singer 201K born 1957 and Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy about 20 years old. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitcher.


Re: Overlocker - best buy.
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2017, 19:41:02 PM »
Hmmm . . . based on my experience of helping people the Singer (and others) overlockers from Aldi / Lidl that people have brought to class, I struggle to agree with your tech Brenda P.  I wonder how many s/he has used out of the box.

The issue for me is that these machines seem to vary so much and it's not the same things that have to be worked around to get an acceptable performance on similar machines.  It's often a case of someone who knows what they're doing can coax the machine to produce a tolerable stitch or handle a troublesome fabric. Unfortunately that's often not the case with the owner who had anticipated beautifully trimmed and finished seam allowances but feels disappointed and frustrated when they cannot seem to get it to work properly.  These owners are often experts at threading up their machines. 

It seems to be a lottery because some of the machines work fine (although their owners can be disappointed when they realise the machines are designed for only light to medium weight fabrics and struggle with thicker layers or heavier fabrics).  New owners who seem to have troublesome machines end up learning how to work around the nuances of their machines.
The main issues seem to be what I'd call mechanical set up issues -

At least one of the tension units is 'off' and has to be really dialled up or down, or just doesn't engage correctly or sticks.  It shows up in different ways but the hardest one to resolve is inconsistent stitching when the locked edge moves over then under every few centimetres.
The looper/needle alignment isn't quite right - mostly it shows up on narrow finishes on finer fabrics with a size 11 or 12 needle.
the cutting knives really chew rather than slice the fabric.

Bearing in mind that they're all fixable by a tech who knows how to set the correct tolerances, what new owner wants to spend around £35 to have a machine sorted out when it cost less than £100 to buy.
Other than the knives issue (where changing out with the spare lower cutting blade usually works) it's a case of fiddling around trying this or that until the owner masters the learning curve to become quite expert at troubleshooting their particular machine.  I feel sorry for the owners when they have to spend more time learning to troubleshoot than they do mastering the techniques.

[/size]When they work properly, then I agree people do get a machine that's worth what they paid for it.Only my experiences, others may have different experiences.


Re: Overlocker - best buy.
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2017, 20:33:56 PM »
Aggggghhh!   Nooooooo!  I have to agree with Morgan on this.  My heart absolutely sinks when I am asked to do a lesson on these things.  And if I don't know what I have when I sit down with it I can usually guess. It is very rare that you can get a decent stitch from these things.  As said, tensions can be all over the place.  They make a horrible noise.  I have got many people to return them and buy a machine that they can actually use.  One that I actually got working as the lady accepted it for what it was came back to me 6 months later saying she was getting rid of it.  She was wasting so much time trying to get it right she just wanted to sew.
I do find some of these repair/ techie guys look at things differently from the person using them.  I knew one who highly recommended basic Janome machines......because they were easy to repair and service!    That doesn't make it a good machine.  Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with Janome's but it,s a strange reason to recommend a machine to someone who sews. 


Re: Overlocker - best buy.
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2017, 20:54:53 PM »
I actually bought my first overlocker from Aldi for about £99 a good few years ago.  I had to take it back for an exchange because, at the time I knew nothing about them, one or two of the tension dials looked crooked.  That said I did learn a lot about them and it worked and cut the fabric very well.  The bucket for catching cut fabric attached securely, unlike the elna 664. It was easy to thread with the tools provided. It's a 4 thread. I didn't ever use it to it's full potential.  It had a gap in the foot for inserting tape or elastic I think.  The feet on the bottom are like suction pads which hold it still while in use.  It still works now but I wanted to upgrade to a better machine.  I bought an elna 664 PRO.  It's fantastic and does a beautifully flat and smooth stitch.  I am still getting used to it but I'm glad I bought the cheaper one to start with because it didn't matter as long as I was getting experience.  :vintage:
Willing but not always able :)