The Sewing Place

Machine Talk => Overlockers & Coverstitchers => Topic started by: Acorn on June 06, 2019, 11:57:29 AM

Title: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 06, 2019, 11:57:29 AM
I can't believe I'm saying this.  I genuinely believe that overlockers and coverstitchers are the machines of the devil, and I've been happily sewing jersey on an ordinary machine for years.

However, I want to make some jersey clothing for my goddaughters, and when I make things for other people I am much, much fussier about neatness inside.

So, if I want to make nice hems and neat seams on (almost exclusively) cotton or cotton-lycra jersey, what do I need?  It doesn't need to be bottom of the range, but not too expensive, because I could be spending that money on fabric and other nice things.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Ploshkin on June 06, 2019, 12:16:41 PM
@Acorn go to the old boy in Carmarthen and get an Elna 664 from him.  He will service and repair it (if necessary).  It's a fab little machine, that's why he sells them.  I've trusted his judgement on all of my machines and never been disappointed.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: wrenkins on June 06, 2019, 12:22:52 PM
I bought one from Mr Twingo last year and kept it in the sitting room where I could see it thinking that aversion therapy would work to overcome my trepidation. It didn't.
What did cure it was my new 28k for which I needed old school cleaning cloths so out came the roll of mutton cloth and off I went. Oooo the mess. The place was covered in wee half stitches where the blade had cut the knit.  :o
I now have some 'lovely' new dish cloths and him indoors has some very manky half towel cloths for whatever anglers do.  :x
It's great! Start with dusters or some old nonsense.
Mine is a Janome 9300DX and it works a treat. You can disengage the blade so you don't have to slice your seams if you don't want to which was my greatest fear. I imagined my stuff just getting smaller and smaller....
I still haven't a clue what I'm doing and have to read the manual very slowly and clearly to myself as I go along but I can see how it would be a boon to anyone regularly sewing jersey.
...and the threading's not really that big a deal either. There's a map inside the door and all you need is patience and some fine tweezers.
Go for it!  0_0
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Francesca on June 06, 2019, 13:06:36 PM
I love my overlocker, it's completely changed how I sew.

I have the Juki MO644D (https://amzn.to/31arXtM) and I really rate it. It's a solid machine, goes very well, I've sewn an awful lot on it and it's held up.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: b15erk on June 06, 2019, 13:08:41 PM
I have a Pfaff Combi at home, but when my old Riccar OL died I needed an OL to use at work.  I took a chance, and bought a cheap Singer one, brand new from Lidl, and it's excellent.

Not a top of the range machine, but for all that, it has a great range of stitches for the price.  About £100 I think.

Jessie
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Francesca on June 06, 2019, 13:22:48 PM
I have a Pfaff Combi at home, but when my old Riccar OL died I needed an OL to use at work.  I took a chance, and bought a cheap Singer one, brand new from Lidl, and it's excellent.

Not a top of the range machine, but for all that, it has a great range of stitches for the price.  About £100 I think.

Jessie

I had the Lidl Singer and found it to be a disaster. Could never get a consistent tension and when I took it in for repair the result was still lacklustre. It was also so loud and rattled the whole table top in comparison to my Juki. I felt like the Singer just wouldn't last that long.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: maliw on June 06, 2019, 13:23:46 PM
I used to think that I didn't need an overlocker until I bought a Brother 1034D, when I found how much I was using it and the way it bounced around a bit at speed I upgraded to a BabyLock Imagine. The Brother is still going strong with DDiL who doesn't give it the use that I did but do you know what? I wish I'd bought one 20 years earlier. I wouldn't sew jersey until I bought my overlocker and I haven't looked back, I love jersey.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Francesca on June 06, 2019, 13:30:49 PM
I am the same, wish I had one earlier. I just love the ability to throw together jersey garments and get a great result so quickly. Plus I like that I can confidently finish the inside of garments without having to go to the lengths of french seams and such all the time. It's nice to take a little shortcut here and there even on woven garments. I'd say I use my overlocker on everything I sew. I even overlock the edges of fraying-type fabrics before I wash them.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Tamnymore on June 06, 2019, 13:58:22 PM
Yes, you need an overlocker. I've had mine for nearly 20 years...... I wonder if I need a new one.....  ;)
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Kenora on June 06, 2019, 14:00:34 PM
Buying an overlocker years ago took my sewing to a completely different level. I have a Janome 6234xl and wouldn't be without it. It copes with everything I throw at it. :)
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Elnnina on June 06, 2019, 14:54:47 PM
Oh I am with all the other enablers, could not do without an overlocker these days either - so yes go for it.

You may think I am absolutely bonkers, but I overlock all my toile fabric pieces once they are cut out, with all the fitting and adjusting I have to do, I cannot stand all the threads  working loose and dangling and getting in the way, at least by overlocking all the edges it remains neat and tidy.

Whilst I have not actually started using knit fabrics, I am ready to do so, only the need for summer wear has pushed the sort of winter wear on to the back burner.  Now with what I am about to start sewing is some shoulder  princess seams, and on the toile somehow the usual 5/8" seam allowance despite being clipped it is not looking right, so I am going to try and press the seam allowance to one side and then trim it down and overlock this - so this looks like more ready to wear seam finishing than the usual pressed open seaming.

I am lucky in that I actually have two Bernina overlockers, the larger one will actually do coverstitch, chain stitch, overlocking  and possibly some other stitches, whilst the smaller one is just an overlocker.

I actually went on a course when I bought the smaller overlocker, and whilst most of the group had a Bernina, there was one that wasn't and this made such a racket it was quite disturbing and it also bounced around a lot.  Whilst my Berninas are much quieter they are solid machines and stay put no jumping around.  My very first overlocker was an Elna and that was a lovely machine, but after about 10 years was causing a lot of problems not stitching properly, stinking the house out, and as I was making my daughter's wedding dress at the time, I had no choice but to go and buy a new overlocker just three weeks before the wedding - and oh what a difference this new one was - yes the smaller Bernina that I have.  This is now about 16 years old and has never caused me any problems at all.

When I first bought my smaller Bernina I had the opportunity to buy a pack of 5 additional feet at a ridiculously silly price, bought separately  they were around the £30 each.  The five attachments are a Multi-purpose Foot with guide, a Blind Stitch Foot, a Gathering Attachment,  a Cording Foot, and an Elasticator.

I believe but am not at all sure that it is Juki that manufactures the overlockers/coverstitchers for Bernina, but worth checking out.  I know that Bernina have a very strict guidelines that have to be followed when these machines are made which is not a bad thing.

Go on take a gamble I think you will just fall in love with one, and with you intending to make more clothes for your little god-daughters you have nothing to lose  Perhaps in six months time you will be back on here saying you didn't now what you were missing.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: SkoutSews on June 06, 2019, 15:00:25 PM
I wouldn't be without an overlocker now. They make such a difference to the inside of wovens and tidy up armhole seams just beautifully. Sewing stretch and jersey fabrics is a breeze. Unlike @Acorn, I never had much success with sewing stretch fabrics on my 'proper' machine. There was one synthetic ponte which just wouldn't sew on it  :( Overlocker to the rescue!

The quality of the Lidl Singers seems to be hit and miss. Mine was very good as a low-price entry-level machine, particularly when I didn't know if I would get on with it. It's now sold on (Gumtree, full working order, one careful lady owner!) and I've upgraded (I got a deal at the Harrogate show) to
 the Juki MO-654DE (https://www.franklinsgroup.com/product/juki-mo-654de/) which is mechanically identical to @Francesca 's machine. The only difference is the accessibility of some of the controls.

I agree that it is an excellent machine. The salesman told me that it would be the last overlocker I would buy - which sounded slightly disturbing! I'm sure he meant it as a recommendation.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Francesca on June 06, 2019, 15:02:30 PM
I wouldn't be without an overlocker now. They make such a difference to the inside of wovens and tidy up armhole seams just beautifully. Sewing stretch and jersey fabrics is a breeze. Unlike @Acorn, I never had much success with sewing stretch fabrics on my 'proper' machine. There was one synthetic ponte which just wouldn't sew on it  :( Overlocker to the rescue!

The quality of the Lidl Singers seems to be hit and miss. Mine was very good as a low-price entry-level machine, particularly when I didn't know if I would get on with it. It's now sold on (Gumtree, full working order, one careful lady owner!) and I've upgraded (I got a deal at the Harrogate show) to
 the Juki MO-654DE (https://www.franklinsgroup.com/product/juki-mo-654de/) which is mechanically identical to @Francesca 's machine. The only difference is the accessibility of some of the controls.

I agree that it is an excellent machine. The salesman told me that it would be the last overlocker I would buy - which sounded slightly disturbing! I'm sure he meant it as a recommendation.

Yes I believe the 54 is the same with the upgraded threader. I can thread mine fine, but I know for some who struggle with dexterity and sight it can be harder to thread the lower looper.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Sewingsue on June 06, 2019, 16:32:47 PM
What did cure it was my new 28k for which I needed old school cleaning cloths so out came the roll of mutton cloth and off I went. Oooo the mess. The place was covered in wee half stitches where the blade had cut the knit.  :o
I now have some 'lovely' new dish cloths and him indoors has some very manky half towel cloths for whatever anglers do.  :x
It's great! Start with dusters or some old nonsense.

Oh that's a good idea.
 I really need to use my overlocker instead of just looking at it and mutton cloth cleaning cloths would be a good way to practice.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: wrenkins on June 06, 2019, 16:40:20 PM
@Sewingsue it definitely helps to start on something that doesn't matter.
The main problem I had with the mutton cloth was the amount of stretch. I found it difficult to make the ends catch. I am 100% certain it was user error though as I simply threw the MC in and hit the pedal. There's probably a pokey tool or something for when it matters.  8)
I've made myself chuckle. This " I simply threw the MC in and hit the pedal." is my approach to most things!  0_0
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: aprilla on June 06, 2019, 17:08:13 PM
I felt very indulgent when I ordered my overlocker (1034D) but it's quickly become one of the items I'd replace. A bonus, using it makes me smile  0_0
Go for it, you won't be sorry.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 06, 2019, 19:30:11 PM
Thank you for all the recommendations!

@Ploshkin, can you disengage the blade on the Elna 644?  I share @wrenkins' trepidation over cutting seams and wrecking garments instantly.  I know it would be sensible to go to the man in Carmarthen, but we rarely go there these days (since M&S opened in Aber!) and the 45 miles seems much further than it used to.   Hmm.

Has anyone got any experience of a Huskylock (Husqvarna) overlocker?
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Ploshkin on June 06, 2019, 19:52:08 PM
@Acorn  Yes, you can disengage the blade.  It does a lovely rolled hem too just by moving a lever.  I've had mine for about 4 years, it's never skipped a stitch and the tension is always perfect - I don't think I've ever changed the tension.  It's not picky about thread either.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Greybird on June 06, 2019, 19:56:28 PM
I have always been very keen to make the insides of garments, as far as possible, as tidy as the outsides - I have a horror of someone catching sight of it and making me feel ashamed! However, I recently came across a couple of things I made years ago, pre-overlocker. These were things I really liked, hence having kept them, but they were awful inside. The overlocker has definitely upped my game and I wouldn't be without it.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Helen M on June 06, 2019, 20:38:56 PM
Thank you for all the recommendations!
Has anyone got any experience of a Huskylock (Husqvarna) overlocker?

My 'sister' (we are not, but always asked if we are!) in the US first had a Huskylock and hated it. She now has a Babylock.

I have a 30 year old Brother 730D, a 3 thread with differential feed which I still love (it was the forerunner of the 1034D I'm sure but it's much heavier). It was playing up on thicker fabric so I bought a Brother 2104D last year. It stitches fine but I prefer my original for most things. The new one has a smaller harp area which I didn't realise until I used it. Threading is easy on both but for some reason the order is different on the older one.

If you are scared of cutting seams off remove either of the needles and use it as a 3 thread for trimming edges. It's how I use mine and you don't need to trim off until you are sure of the fit and a single seam is easier to unpick!
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Ohsewsimple on June 06, 2019, 21:21:03 PM
I’ve used a few Husqvarna overlockers.  Can’t remember who makes them but it’s not Husqvarna.  Personally not a fan of them. 
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Helen M on June 06, 2019, 21:31:57 PM
I’ve used a few Husqvarna overlockers.  Can’t remember who makes them but it’s not Husqvarna.  Personally not a fan of them.

I once saw an identical model of my 30 year old 730D Lock in the US being sold as a Huskylock by Viking. The feet were identical and I bought one that was much cheaper than the Brother foot. At the time I thought my Brother was maybe made by Husqvarna.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: toileandtrouble on June 06, 2019, 21:40:32 PM
@Acorn  My first overlocker was a Huskylock.  It is a bit more fiddly to thread than my Janome, but does a good job still and it has a freearm for narrow sleeves etc.  I like them both.  Don't know about modern machines though, it is at least 20 years old ( have to go up to the attic to check and can't face it just now).
I love the way I can overlock the edge of fraying fabric before washing it, and when making curtains, those linens and   voiles just love to fray.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Francesca on June 06, 2019, 22:04:39 PM
Huskylock as far as I'm aware is one of the brands that got bought out with the big Singer merger. My local sewing shop has a shelf of these machines labelled "ready for landfill" so make of that what you will.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Radiofan on June 07, 2019, 08:53:54 AM
I had the Lidl Singer and found it to be a disaster. Could never get a consistent tension and when I took it in for repair the result was still lacklustre. It was also so loud and rattled the whole table top in comparison to my Juki. I felt like the Singer just wouldn't last that long.
Sounds like it was faulty, or maybe a different model (perhaps not the S14-78). The machine has suction cups underneath and it moves a bit in operation, but the vibration is dampened by the suckers. Mine is no louder than a sewing machine, has free-arm capability and it is possible to disengage the knife.

For something that costs in the order of £160, I think it is excellent value, finishing edges has never been quicker or easier. Previously I had been using a zig-zag stitch with an over-edge presser foot mostly because the zigzag is much quicker than the fancy over-edge stitches. The overlocker is so much faster.

When I first got it, I had the problem of loops hanging over the edge but this was quickly fixed by adjusting the stitch finger lever one mm or so. Nowhere in the manual did it mention that!
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 07, 2019, 08:55:50 AM
OK, I think I'll rule out Huskylock!!!   :o
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: wrenkins on June 07, 2019, 09:04:41 AM
If anyone considered themselves "proficient" they could do a wee mini tute about starting, finishing, coupla basic moves....just saying!
If you look for videos on Youtube they seem to have a 99:1 ratio of threading:everything else!  :o
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Ploshkin on June 07, 2019, 09:21:06 AM
Just in case you are tempted by a 'too good' offer, don't touch a Necchi with a bargepole.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: b15erk on June 07, 2019, 09:28:07 AM
@wrenkins , I found a good set of tutorials here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-jVaoJdP6M).

Most of the tutorials are for Pfaffs (although this one demos a Juki), but they are very informative and were a godsend when I bought my combi machine.

Jessie
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: BrendaP on June 07, 2019, 09:30:58 AM
I’ve used a few Husqvarna overlockers.  Can’t remember who makes them but it’s not Husqvarna.  Personally not a fan of them.

When I bought my Bernina overlocker about three years ago, from a proper bricks & mortar shop I asked about Husqvarna and was told they didn't stock them because (unlike their sewing/embroidery machines) they weren't very good. :S

I know that a lot of you like your Brother overlockers, but the one I test drove sounded really rough and clunky, the Bernina purrs.  I guess it's like most things, you get what you pay for, but I wouldn't be without an overlocker now.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Bodgeitandscarper on June 07, 2019, 09:46:12 AM
Yes, my Brother sounds as rough as a badger's a***e, always has done, but sews well.  I can't imagine how I coped without an overlocker.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 07, 2019, 09:56:04 AM
Ohhh... I've been watching youtube videos, and I think I may have spotted a fatal flaw.

Does an overlocker do a hem that looks like a twin needle hem - ie two rows of parallel stitching on the outside?  Is that something that only coverstitchers do?
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: b15erk on June 07, 2019, 10:00:45 AM
@Acorn , yes that's a Coverstitcher.  Used for decorative effects, hems etc.

I have a Pfaff machine that does both in one machine - it is a bit of a learning curve though.  I don't use the CS option half as much as I use the OL.

Jessie
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 07, 2019, 10:04:58 AM
Oh.   :(

From what I can see, coverstitchers are quite a bit more expensive and coverlockers a lot more so.

I'm really glad I asked though!
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Helen M on June 07, 2019, 10:09:12 AM
If it's easy threading you need I'd go for a Brother.

My newer one is more noisy than the first I have to say though.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: b15erk on June 07, 2019, 10:09:17 AM
If I had to choose one or the other, I would choose the overlocker.  Far more useful.  I only bought my combi because it was an Ebay bargain.  I do love it, but I use the OL option far more than I use the CS.

Jessie
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: BrendaP on June 07, 2019, 10:36:43 AM
Overlockers sew and cut at the same time.  They can be used for neatening seam allowances (use 3 threads and 1 needle) and for sewing stretch fabrics (use 4 threads and 2 needles). 

More expensive models will use 5 threads, they make a 2 thread chain-stitch beside a narrow 3 thread overlocked edge.  Look inside RTW, a lot of it has this.

Cover stitchers make what looks similar to a twin, or triple, needle on a regular machine on the front, but stretchier.

IMO an overlocker is a must if you sew clothing, a cover stitcher is a luxury.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 07, 2019, 10:50:58 AM
The trouble is, the thing that is untidy on my t-shirts is the hemming.  I've never had any problem with straight and zigzag for seams - undoubtedly takes longer than with an overlocker, but can be done neatly.  Twin needle hemming, though, is fraught with problems.  I'd psyched myself up to solve the hemming issue.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Greybird on June 07, 2019, 10:55:15 AM
I use the overlocker to finish the cut edge of the hem, then press it up and either hand stitch the hem or do just one row of stitches on the sewing machine. Very tidy.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 07, 2019, 10:57:34 AM
Mmmm.  That would help.   ><
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: b15erk on June 07, 2019, 10:58:47 AM
I don't always use the CS for hems @Acorn , even though I have one.  I love the look of the three step zig zag  here (https://clothhabit.com/sewing-machines-for-lingerie/) and use it often.

I have also been known to use a faux hem, or just a simple rolled hem.

Lots of other options too.

Jessie
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 07, 2019, 11:06:04 AM
I thought I liked the idea of a rolled hem, but I gather they show the overlocking on the outside, which I don't like.  I hadn't thought of looking at other dcorative stitches on my machine for hemming - that's a good idea.

Does anyone know anything about the Janome MyLock 644D, which can work with just two threads, which I understand can be more decorative, or the Baby Lock Prestige 750DS which has an integrated threader and a free arm - which seems to be a good idea for hemming children's sleeves (although less necessary than I was thinking!)?

Oh, and what on earth are 'thread stripping discs'??
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: b15erk on June 07, 2019, 11:10:01 AM
The rolled hem on the OL looks quite different to the one on the sewing machine @Acorn .  The one on the sewing machine is just a very tiny hem, with a row of stitching on the top. Your machine probably comes with a special foot to do this with, it has a sort of curl on the top.  ;)

Jessie
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: toileandtrouble on June 07, 2019, 12:00:40 PM
'thread stripping discs'  I think are the little plastic discs that sit on top of the reels of thread. Just hold it away from the spindle to avoid tangles.  A rolled hem on the overlocker is the sort that is often found on the edge of chiffon scarves. the stitches are so close together, they don't look like overlocking, especially if you use a decorative thread.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Francesca on June 07, 2019, 12:21:11 PM
Sounds like it was faulty, or maybe a different model (perhaps not the S14-78). The machine has suction cups underneath and it moves a bit in operation, but the vibration is dampened by the suckers. Mine is no louder than a sewing machine, has free-arm capability and it is possible to disengage the knife.

Yup it was that one. It did have suction cups but was still hugely loud. Overlockers are quite loud in general, but in comparison to my Juki it was much much louder.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 07, 2019, 15:45:05 PM
I have discounted both the Janome MyLock 644D and the Baby Lock Prestige 750DS as neither has a free arm.

I'm currently thinking about the Brother M343D or the Brother 2104D - I can't actually figure out what the difference is.

I realise these are both likely to be a bit noisy, and as they are fairly light (6.5kg) they may bounce a little, but they have free arms and are easy to thread, and I think they are the best I can do without jumping into a much higher price range.  I'd happily pay £100 more for a bit more substance, but there doesn't seem to be anything with the free arm.

Edited to add:  Or the Brother 3034DWT!
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Ohsewsimple on June 07, 2019, 18:48:49 PM
@Acorn is it definitely an overlocker you want?   I saw one of your posts about wanting to do hems. 
I don’t have a free arm on either my overlocker or coverstitch. I’ve never found it a problem.  It wouldn’t be a main consideration when buying either for me. 
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 07, 2019, 19:25:48 PM
I would really like a coverstitch, but they seem to start at £500, and I can't bring myself to spend that much.  An overlocker would still be useful, but much more affordable.

I have always needed the free arm on my sewing machine, and I assume I'll find the same on an overlocker - particularly for hemming or neatening the edges of a child's sleeve.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 07, 2019, 19:33:14 PM
... although, having looked closely at the free arm, I'm not sure it's small enough for a child's sleeve.  Hmmm.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81CwsDxonjL._SL1500_.jpg)

It does still have the ease of threading, and only costs £220 though.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Helen M on June 07, 2019, 20:20:02 PM
Acorn I don't think there is any difference between the 2 Brother models you mentioned. I think M343D was sold on Amazon and not by dealers.

The other one is the one that I have (a spare as my other 30 year old Brother was playing up). I'm not sure that you'd get a child's sleeve round the free arm of it but my other one doesn't have a free arm and it never caused a problem. You need to turn the sleeve inside out to stitch on the right side of the fabric. You wouldn't actually be hemming the sleeve on the overlocker.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 07, 2019, 20:27:49 PM
I would if I was blind hemming or doing a rolled hem - but as you say, that makes no difference if the free arm is too big anyway.

I've come to the conclusion that the only difference between those two models, and the third one, is what comes with them (and the pretty pattern on the M343D).  The M343D (£188) doesn't have the three extra feet that come with the 2104D (£219) - £75 worth of feet for an extra £32.  The 3034DWT (£259) has the feet, an extension table and a waste collector.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Kad on June 07, 2019, 20:28:08 PM
... although, having looked closely at the free arm, I'm not sure it's small enough for a child's sleeve.  Hmmm.

@Acorn , lack of a freearm is not a problem, I always use what my Nan called 'sew in a teacup' technique. It was usual with the older treadle/hand-cranked machines as they were usually/always flatbed.
 Even though my current machines both have a freearm, I very rarely bother to use it as when 'sewing in the teacup' you have the gathered sleeve head fabric to the top so you can easily avoid any tucks that may want to appear.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Ellabella on June 07, 2019, 20:34:31 PM
I always found the free arm on my Janome far to big to be any real use but I could manage fine without it.

My new machine doesn't have a free arm and I've not missed it at all.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: coffeeandcake on June 07, 2019, 20:43:17 PM
I agree with all that had been said about not needing a free arm. A waste collector is really handy to have.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 07, 2019, 20:47:14 PM
... and that takes me right back to the Babylock Prestige 750DS.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Ellabella on June 07, 2019, 20:56:15 PM
Earlier this year I bought a Babylock Imagine and I absolutely love it.

The quality of stitches on the Babylocks is excellent as is their build quality and they seem to keep going for ever.

I bought an Evolve from Mamashep and its not in the first flush of youth by any means but it stitches like a dream.

If you don't have a coverstitch just O/L the hems of your Tee shirts and then fold up a simple hem and stitch.  That give a neat easy finish.

Coverstitchers are lovely but not essential, once you get used to an overlocker you'll wonder how you ever managed without it.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Helen M on June 07, 2019, 22:52:21 PM
I would if I was blind hemming or doing a rolled hem - but as you say, that makes no difference if the free arm is too big anyway.


The rolled hem isn't really a 'hem' as it is on a regular sewing machine, more of a decorative edge as you see on napkins and tablecloths. Also I'd never use an overlocker for a blind hem, I'd use the regular sewing machine.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Ohsewsimple on June 07, 2019, 23:00:59 PM
If you are looking at Babylocks be aware that the Prestige isn’t the same as the Imagine etc.  They aren’t made by Babylock. 
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: SkoutSews on June 08, 2019, 09:41:11 AM
I've never got the hang of freearms. I learnt to sew on a flatbed machine and find the 'sewing inside, inside out' technique much easier.

Neither of my overlockers had a waste collector either. If you tuck the back edge of a plastic bag under the front feet of the machine, it does the trick. So don't let that be a deal breaker if you find the otherwise perfect machine.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Radiofan on June 08, 2019, 09:53:01 AM
If you want to do a blind hem, make sure a blind hem foot/attachment is available for it. This is one thing the s14-78 does not have, though I don't really miss it. Overlocker presser feet are not designed to a standard the way sewing machine feet are.

It works the same way a sewing machine blind hem attachment works, you fold the edge back in a z shape and position it in the guide such that one needle just catches the upper fold. Cut, over-edged and hemmed in one operation.

As for the discussion regarding the worth of a free-arm, I have used it once for a continuous loop of fabric and I found it helped. Yes all is possible without, but if you have the option, choose with freearm.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Helen M on June 08, 2019, 10:52:42 AM
If you go for the 2104D you can buy the waste collector. I bought mine at the Hobbycraft show at the NEC last June and paid £20 as it wasn't included in the show offer which was good, as I got the 3 extra feet for free. I could have also bought the table but I've not had one with my 30 year old one, so didn't bother.

Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: wrenkins on June 08, 2019, 10:59:01 AM
I bought skinny stretch trousers last year and wanted them a little bit shorter. The leg of my adult trousers wouldn't fit over the free arm never mind a child's sleeve. Waste of time IMO.
The waste catcher would be great....(says she who's just spent ten minutes chasing towelling fluffs round the kitchen!).
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Elnnina on June 08, 2019, 11:11:55 AM
May I add that the waste cutter makes such a difference when overlocking as the blade trims off microscopic pieces of thread and it then just drops into the waste bin.  Yes you can do without and then place a plastic shopping bag so that it is open under the front suction caps, and the threads just fall into that,  OR you can make a tidy out of fabric and this means the machine sits on a flap and the pocket at the bottom is open for all the debris to fall into.

For what it is worth Acorn, a free arm is not really essential, there are ways around this, and as you say you want to be making a lot of little girls clothes then the free arm would probably be too big anyway.  I would go and try a few out if possible and for me sound is essential, the Bernina ones literally PURR quietly away compared with some of the cheaper ones.  Also remember that the little girls will grow so you could be making small clothes for quite a long time yet, and as they get older possibly jeans and other trendy garments will be requested, so you need a machine that is going to see you through all sorts of garments for a good few years.

Have you gone looking at the SMD site, sometimes they have demonstration models of machines that have been used and re boxed and thus they sell these off at a favourable price.  How far is Wrexham from you?  Also remember that SMD often include a goodies pack which consists of something like 50 spools of thread, and five pairs of scissors, plus other things so if you are new to overlocking, the thread set alone would be worth it and might well see you through for a long time.  Yes I know the thread spools will all be different colours/shades, but you can wind off on to bobbins if you are only wanting small amounts, or save your empty thread reels and carefully wind thread on to these.

Good luck with your quest.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Radiofan on June 08, 2019, 11:47:05 AM
The free arm circumference of the s14-78 is 27cm, which is small enough for arm holes,  short sleeves and my trouser legs. I think the no-free-arm proponents are just jealous  :P
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Holly Berry on June 08, 2019, 12:27:46 PM
Juki all the way for me.

I’ve got a Janome Coverpro 1000 and I’m ready to throw it out of the window, it’s so temperamental. Seriously looking at the Juki coverstitch.

For a thread catcher on my old overlocker, I made one from a washing pod container, covered it in fabric and attached a mat to it to stand the overlocker on. Works a treat.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 08, 2019, 12:40:57 PM
If you are looking at Babylocks be aware that the Prestige isn’t the same as the Imagine etc.  They aren’t made by Babylock.

Thank you @Ohsewsimple - that explains a lot.  There don't seem to be any individual feet available for the Babylock Prestige, just a set of 5 for £120, 3 of which I wouldn't want anyway, and it clearly doesn't take other Babylock feet.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Elnnina on June 08, 2019, 13:28:43 PM
Acorn, do you remember that Lolli was looking into getting an overlocker may be a year to eighteen months ago.  She looked at Bambers and finally decided to go with Machine Steve over in Kings Lynn.  I believe she was impressed with how Steve went about sorting her out with the right machine for her again I believe  a Juki, and she also got some extra goodies thrown in  and all delivered very quickly.  Sadly Lolli hasn't been on TSP for quite some time so  we do not know how she got on with her overlocker.

Thinking again about what you intend to use the machine for as well as sewing items for you, if I couldn't get hold of a Bernina because of the price, I think I would consider  Juki - if they are made in the same place and by the same people who make for Bernina that makes me think this would be a excellent machine and would last you for many years.  After all you do not want to buy a cheap one now, and then wish that you had bought something better in a short while.

Going back to my smaller Bernina 1100DA (bought in 2003) I immediately fell in love with the ease and look of the roll hem effect.  As I have said previousy I was making my daughters wedding dress, my own outfit and her bridesmaids dresses and had to change overlockers three weeks before the wedding.  I personally am a large lady, my outfit was in ivory with sprigs of burgandy flowers all over, my top had an enormous bust dart which of course showed through, so I sliced it off (had never done it like this before) and then finished it off by a neat rolled hem, it really worked a treat. Changing to a rolled hem is done by simply moving a lever to the front right by the needle plate - it really is as easy as that.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Radiofan on June 08, 2019, 14:52:45 PM
Ho much you intend to use the overlocker is an important consideration.

I struggled with the economics of buying one. I try to justify the cost of buying every tool I own. With 2nd hand sewing machines costing up to £50, I got a quick return on my investment, a few projects and the machine pays for itself.

But buying something so specialized at around £200 I had a hard time justifying. How long would it take to recoup the cost? Well, I estimate it probably saves me 1 hour each project and I can probably manage 1 project per month.

If I estimate my hour to be worth £20, it will take 10 projects and 10 months to recover the cost. On the other hand, If I value my hour so highly, I shouldn't be sewing at all because it takes me over a day to finish a garment and I can buy top quality clothing for less.

Let's say it takes me 8 hours to finish a garment worth £40. My hour is worth £5 because that is how much the job is worth. It will take 3 years and four months to recover the cost of buying the overlocker.

Before anyone points out that it is an investment, it's a very bad one (in the short term) because 2nd hand, they end up selling for less than half price.

So why did I end up buying one? Because it is a hobby, I get enjoyment from playing with fancy equipment and I like the higher quality finish. I have spent a shed load more on other hobbies. I did however opt for a cheaper model in accordance with my usage.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: toileandtrouble on June 08, 2019, 15:47:41 PM
@Radiofan  the freearm on my Huskylock is 21cm, but don't know about later ones. It is 22 years old and still going strong.
If you do piping on things, it is excellent.  I just made 30m of piping. Cut 20 full width strips of the cloth (which frays like anything) joined them on the diagonal, then folded it round the piping cord, stitched close to the cord with my zipper foot.  The overlocker ran it all through in a few minutes, leaving me with tidy, non fraying flange at a constant width.  It makes sewing it on the seamline evenly very easy.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 08, 2019, 16:54:52 PM
Does anyone know anything about Eastman Tailor (https://eastman.co.uk/product/eastman-tailor-ol300/)?
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Helen M on June 08, 2019, 18:08:06 PM
I've never heard of them Acorn but the machine is very heavy at 8kgs. My regular part metal Janome is only 7kgs. Also on the further info it says it weighs 15kgs........
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Ohsewsimple on June 08, 2019, 18:28:33 PM
@Acorn can you get to a shop to have a look?   If you’ve not had an overlocker before you’re probably going to need some help with it. 
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: annieeg on June 08, 2019, 18:30:32 PM
Another name to throw in the mix is Britannia.

Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 08, 2019, 18:49:52 PM
@Helen M I noticed that!  I would be OK with the 8kg - I won't want to move it often, and heavier should mean less bouncy.  15kg, however, would be astonishing.

@Ohsewsimple Unfortunately not - the only ones I could test within 40 miles would be Janome, and I've pretty much ruled them out.  I will be relying on Youtube - which is a good reason to go for Brother, as they seem to be well represented.  the Baby Lock one doesn't seem to feature at all, other than one video which just shows it sewing on various fabrics with nothing in between. 

@annieeg Ooh - off to google!  Thanks.

Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Sewbusy on June 08, 2019, 18:53:21 PM
@annieeg  I'm not throwing my Brittania Coversttich anywhere 0_0 Very happy with it to date and particularly considering the relatively small outlay.

I have a Bernina,Bernette 800DL overlocker which I am also very happy with. Should I need to replace the overlocker though, I'd definitely look at the Brittania  @ £269.00, can't be bad plus a set of 5 feet for £59.00

Compared with the 'luxury' of a Babylock or a Bernina, yes, there is a difference, but the price difference is huge. However I've had a Babylock Evolve Wave which I decided to sell, preferring a separate overlocker and coverstitch for convenience.

Juki do some very nice machines too.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Bodgeitandscarper on June 08, 2019, 18:55:54 PM
I've finally checked what my overlocker is - it's a Brother 3034, about four years old I think, from SMD.  I've had no trouble with it, although it may be a bit noisy, but not as noisy as my Babylock coverstitcher.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Sewbusy on June 08, 2019, 20:04:08 PM
@Acorn  Two videos showing the Brittania Overstitch I bought. First for threading and second for removing fabric when you've finished.  The gentleman doing the demonstration is Neil at Franklins Sewing in Salisbury, he was the person in the shop who demonstrated it for me.  You can hear the machine running and it is not overly loud, nor does it 'bounce around'.
The machine I bought behaves exactly the same as the one being demonstrated. Hope this helps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVy8UlNYWmY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1S_hFbtqdBw

Pat
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 09, 2019, 11:17:32 AM
@annieeg Have you had a Britannia overlocker?

I'm a bit wary of them because they don't seem to be very widely available, but what I have been able to find out seems pretty good.  And the coverstitcher is a great price.

Oh, and can anyone tell me whether it would help to have an overlocker and coverstitch from the same manufacturer?  Are they similar enough for it to make any difference?

This just gets more and more complicated.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 09, 2019, 11:35:43 AM
Actually, Britannia seems to be a non-starter anyway, as the only place that appears to have one in stock is Pembertons in Stirling, and they say they can't sell it outside Scotland!

I suppose that's simplified things a bit!
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: BrendaP on June 09, 2019, 11:36:00 AM
I can't see any reason why two separate machines need to come from the same manufacturer; they are different beasts (unless you get a combined machine).

Overlockers, of necessity, have the blade to the right of the needle so even if the knife is disengaged there can't be a flat harp area.  Coverstitchers generally have a more conventional shape with a flat area to the right of the needles which makes it easier to stitch down the middle of something if that's what you want to do.

Some overlockers and some coverstitchers use regular 130/705H needles, some use 130/ELx needles (which have a longer groove to protect the thread at high speeds) but other than that it doesn't matter.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: fajita on June 09, 2019, 11:55:58 AM
Can't sell outside of Scotland?   ><
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Sewbusy on June 09, 2019, 12:02:48 PM
@Acorn  Brittania sewing Machines is part of the Franklins Group.

May be worth giving them a call tomorrow and asking if/when they expect to have new stock       https://britanniasewing.com/contact/

Alternatively You could ring one of the Franklins shops, there are a few. Neil at Salisbury the man who did the videos seems very on the ball. He'll give you great impartial advice re the various overlocker and coverstitch machines which they stock, Bernina, Brittania, Janome and Juki.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Helen M on June 09, 2019, 12:04:34 PM
Acorn I really think you need to see a machine and have a go. I think someone mentioned SMD in Wrexham are you too far away to go and see them? I've not bought from them but they gave me some good advice when I was narrowing down a choice and asking about various overlockers that have come out since my 1989 Brother (almost identical to 1034/2104).

Re the harp area, my old Brother definitely has more 'harp space' than the 2104D and overhead you can see the piece of fabric that you have just overlocked. It took me a little while to work out why I felt a bit 'claustrophobic' with the new one if that makes sense.

 [ You are not allowed to view attachments ]  

Agree about not sticking to same manufacturer. My regular and my coverstitch are Janome but I prefer Brother for overlocking to any of Janome's machines that I've tried. 2 friends had them and I gave them a bit of tuition many years ago.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 09, 2019, 12:15:49 PM
@fajita That's what it says here! (https://www.psmc.co.uk/acatalog/About-Britannia-3396.html#SID=48)

@Sewbusy I'm a little concerned that the Britannia website is also out of stock.

@Helen M Wrexham is about 90 miles away.  I could test Janome locally, but nobody seems remotely enthusiastic about them, and I suspect I wouldn't be able to test the model I'd be interested in anyway.

I'm actually thinking Jaguar at the moment... anyone got any thoughts?
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Helen M on June 09, 2019, 12:20:59 PM
I've seen them at a sewing show but not looked closely as I wasn't needing to buy. Which model and what is swinging you towards it?

I really think the threading should be one of the main things you look at as most of the other things you can alter easily and need to slightly for different kinds of materials. I think most will agree that Brother are the most simple to thread apart from those with air threaders.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 09, 2019, 12:41:29 PM
The 489 - there's a review here. (https://sergerpro.com/jaguar-489-review/)  It says it's easy to thread and quiet.  I like the look of it - the layout I mean, it doesn't look as cramped as some - and it is 2/3/4 thread, which is unusual at this price level.  GUR have a good deal with 5 feet and a lot of thread included.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Sewbee on June 09, 2019, 13:02:14 PM
Jaguar now makes the overlockers for Bernina.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Helen M on June 09, 2019, 13:17:17 PM
It's good that you can swing open the front because that is the part that you need to access for threading the underlooper. The Brother doesn't need this because there is a part that pulls out you will have seen it on videos I'm sure, you put the thread round it and push it back in.

I will say that the newer one is noisier than my old faithful! So maybe the Jaguar is a good bet for you. Would you buy from GUR? I got good advice from them about my Janome sewing machine that I thought was on it's way out a few years ago, it wasn't!
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 09, 2019, 13:31:00 PM
I am feeling quite enthusiastic about this one now.  I'm reading a lot of things that praise the build quality.

I would almost certainly get it from GUR - I could buy it via Amazon or Ebay as well, but both would be from GUR anyway.  Frustratingly, if I order via Amazon I could get it tomorrow, but without the extras (and at a lower price, but not lower enough!) 

Thanks @Sewbee - that's very good to know!
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: annieeg on June 09, 2019, 14:01:11 PM
@Acorn
I don't have a Britannia but I also  had a long chat with Neil  at Franklin's  on the phone as well as exchanging messages with @Sewbusy .  I almost bought one but decided to persevere with my old elna 744. 

The machines were on The sewing quarter tv programme.   They are all on youtube so you could search their youtube site and find the demonstration.

Annie
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: sleepingwolf on June 09, 2019, 15:15:55 PM
I have the Jaguar machine but mine is branded as Frister Rossman.  I bought it from Sewing Machines Direct and they delivered next day.  I really like how solid it feels and having the front opening all the way makes it very easy to thread and to clean.  I also have the extra feet but have only used the gathering foot and the blind hem foot so far.  Let me know if you have any specific questions.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 09, 2019, 15:53:57 PM
Ooh - I have been looking at that one and thinking that it looks very much the same as the other one (in fact it's open in the very next tab to this one!)  It would work out cheaper because the set of feet would be reduced to £35 as an extra.

It would be very good to know there was someone else with experience of one - thank you @sleepingwolf.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: sewingj on June 09, 2019, 15:58:17 PM
@Acorn  it's very good if you to do all this research so I won't have to bother if I decide to get an overlocker!
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 09, 2019, 16:05:02 PM
Haha - Lolli did the same thing a bit over a year ago.  Very useful, although she had a slightly higher budget than me.  It seems that choosing an overlocker causes more confusion than any other machine type!
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 09, 2019, 16:39:32 PM
Dunnit!!  Frister & Rossmann Jaguar 234DF Knitlock Overlocker to be despatched tomorrow by SMD.  I got a discount, and the extra feet at a bargain price.

I was very impressed to get online chat help at 4.30pm on a Sunday!
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Elnnina on June 09, 2019, 17:13:40 PM
Well done Acorn, now you will be on tenterhooks all day tomorrow waiting for your parcel to arrive.  Get yourself armed with plenty of scraps, calico and anything else and when it arrives you can just play.  Plan a simple meal for tomorrow night, you will be too busy to go cooking!
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: wrenkins on June 09, 2019, 17:21:59 PM
I kept a bag of old knackered T shirts and tatt and then practised on dishcloths and fishy towels!  :S
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 09, 2019, 17:32:54 PM
It's going to arrive on Tuesday, probably while I'm at the opticians!  Fortunately it's coming by DPD so I can tell them to leave it in the porch.

I'll make sure Wednesday is nice and clear!  Now... scraps of jersey and old t-shirts...
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 09, 2019, 17:38:19 PM
... and tomorrow I need to clear a space for it on the dining table, because there's no space in my sewing room/study at the moment!
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Helen M on June 09, 2019, 19:15:57 PM
Great news Acorn!

Can I suggest you use some non stretch fabrics, sheeting is good, to get the hang of it before you go to knits. Going straight to knits is like going over 2 hurdles together!

When I have an issue I always go back to a piece of cotton and get that tension right and surprisingly there is often not much to adjust for a knit. Once you get a satisfactory stitch have a piece of paper (maybe a small note book) and jot down the setting numbers for each of the threads. Also use a double thickness everytime.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: SkoutSews on June 09, 2019, 20:55:36 PM
Lovely, a new toy!
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: sleepingwolf on June 09, 2019, 21:10:08 PM
Happy for you.  Hope it gives you years of fun serging!  One tip - if you have a problem check the presser foot is down.  I once spent 3 fruitless hour trying to adjust the tension on a flatlock seam before I realised the foot was up.  Put it down and everything worked fine.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: doesntworkonwood on June 09, 2019, 21:40:15 PM
I was very impressed to get online chat help at 4.30pm on a Sunday!

GUR are pretty great in my experience. I bought my sewing machine as an ex-display and they sent me a new one!
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 09, 2019, 21:43:26 PM
This was SMD - obviously cut from the same cloth! 
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Bogwoppit on June 09, 2019, 22:55:50 PM
That;s the one I got earlier in the year.  It came threaded with thread that matched the colour dials.  Great for first play straight from the box!
I made some very fancy dishcloths to start with. 
Then a pair of jogging bottoms for my eldest (fancy multicoloured flatlocked panels down the side) and a few stretch headbands/neck warmers.

Next life intervened and it's been in its box for a good few months.  Need to get going again!
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Sewbusy on June 10, 2019, 10:07:02 AM
@Acorn Good for you taking the plunge so to speak. I'm sure like myself and many others you'll soon wonder how you managed without an overlocker, the ease and finish is great and the speed of achieving this is so much quicker than with using a traditional sewing machine, overlock stitch/zigzag/twin needle. "Why didn't I do it earlier?" is often said.

I did speak with Neil at Franklins re future availability  of the Brittania Overlocker and the Coverstitch machines  and apparently they were caught out by the volume of sales generated by the advertising on the craft programme, they hadn't anticipated this, so were unprepared with their stock levels. New stocks are expected and will be available in two weeks.  Please don't think I'm 'promoting' Brittania or Franklins, above other manufacturers and distributors. I was pleased with the product and just wanted to share the knowledge and information I had gleaned.

Pat
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 10, 2019, 10:16:40 AM
I am glad to know that @Sewbusy - if/when I get a coverlocker Britannia are at the top of my list.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 10, 2019, 12:33:24 PM
@sleepingwolf @Bogwoppit Does the Jaguar overlocker take ordinary machine needles?  If not, where do you get them?
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: CCL on June 10, 2019, 12:42:48 PM
I just wanted to pop in and thank Acorn for this thread and all of you for your thoughts.  I have never particularly wanted an over locker  because I prefer other techniques for finishing, and frankly, didn't want to take on the learning curve.  But you all have me rethinking.

Acorn, I can't wait to see your decision.  I have learned a lot from reading here.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Bogwoppit on June 10, 2019, 12:47:02 PM
Normal needles.
Mine came with 2 packs of organ super stretch 90/14.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Greybird on June 10, 2019, 12:49:33 PM
My Janome specifies HA 1SP needles and I get them from Ebay.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: sewingj on June 10, 2019, 14:06:26 PM
Acorn - please will you let us know how you get on with it? It would be helpful to know if there is anything you particularly like/dislike about it.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: sleepingwolf on June 10, 2019, 16:07:42 PM
It uses ordinary machine needles.  I usually use universals but on some fabrics stretch or microtex have been useful. I try not to put needles used in the overlocker into my sewing machine afterwards because I'm worried that they wear differently but I've no idea if this is actually true.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 11, 2019, 10:00:30 AM
It's arriving this afternoon 'between 12:42 and 13:42'.  Annoyingly, I have an optician's appointment ten miles away at 14.40.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: jintie on June 11, 2019, 10:10:15 AM
Acorn, I always make notes as I go along in pencil in the manual. Info for a single step is often spread across the manual. It was only after I got to grips with my Bernina 1300DA,  that I realised it was the manual from hell, not the machine.
Watching any online videos helps.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: aprilla on June 11, 2019, 10:28:32 AM
Well wear Acorn!! I just got to reading about it and it sounds like a really nice machine, I'm sure you'll love it.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: wrenkins on June 11, 2019, 11:03:57 AM
I downloaded this (https://www.manualslib.com/manual/15730/Bernina-Sergers.html) when I got mine. I realise it's for the Bernina but the skills and tips are transferable and as I was clueless everything helped.
It's kind of a samples diary giving all the different settings and results with places for notes.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 11, 2019, 18:45:49 PM
Thanks everyone.   :)

Here she is:

  [ You are not allowed to view attachments ]  

You can't see properly, but she came ready threaded with 4 reels of thread in colours that match the colour marking on the machine, so it is easy to follow where each thread goes in the stitching.  I will be able to keep a sample of each type of stitching done in these colours to refer to in future when I want to figure out which thread tension needs changing.

This shows my very first attempt at stitching with her:

  [ You are not allowed to view attachments ]  

The bottom stitching is mine - not quite as good as the top one, which was already done, but not bad, I don't think.

Interestingly, even though none of my other machines have names, this one seems to need one.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: wrenkins on June 11, 2019, 18:50:48 PM
Lully!  :loveit:
Health to enjoy.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: BrendaP on June 11, 2019, 22:49:46 PM
That looks good.  The front and the back of overlocking looks similar but is not identical.

The main thing to be aware of when you are playing making your samples is to be sure that the looper threads (blue and lilac) link around each other at the very edge of the fabric.  If they are out of balance and the linking is on the top loosen the upper looper or tighten the lower looper, and vice-versa if the linking is to the underneath.  It's common sense really.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 13, 2019, 12:09:41 PM
I am staggered (so far) at how unscary it is!!  I've just done my first real sewing (jersey knit nightie).  Quick test on a scrap, and then the side seams.

  [ You are not allowed to view attachments ]  

I knotted the threads to change to the proper cones - no problem, although the test thread in the upper looper had snapped, so I had to rethread that one properly - no problem.  Maybe I'll learn them one at a time!

Oh, and she's called Lucy.  Loopy Lucy.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: toileandtrouble on June 13, 2019, 12:18:42 PM
Told you so!
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Elnnina on June 13, 2019, 12:19:28 PM
Brilliant Acorn, now there will be no stopping you.

A word of warning here, keep your pins well away from fabric going through the overlocker, sometimes they can get a bit hidden and then crunch and it throws everything out, so it is best to start straight away no pins anywhere in the fabric.

I knew someone who fouled up two overlockers with a hidden pin, and it wasn't obvious, she was not happy at the damage this had caused let alone the cost of repairs and the inconvenience.

Now go and have fun and enjoy.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: SkoutSews on June 13, 2019, 12:24:46 PM
Aaand you're off! You'll have a good pile of new overlocked garments in no time.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Helen M on June 13, 2019, 12:55:37 PM
Told you so! They are made out to be scary things but they are IMO anything but.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: aprilla on June 13, 2019, 13:33:32 PM
Loopy Lucy   :loveit: :loveit:   Love it!!
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Ivydene on June 13, 2019, 14:22:06 PM
Aaaaaah. This has been such an informative thread. OH keeps suggesting that he should buy me an overlocker. I keep saying no as I have 3 sewing machines and not a lot of time to use them.... but from reading this thread I want one.  Acorn enjoy your new toy and I look forward to reading more about how you are getting on.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Bodgeitandscarper on June 13, 2019, 15:07:41 PM
They are dead simple really aren't they?  0_0

And take note of the comment about pins - I managed to cut a few in half when I first had an overlocker, although it seems to have done it no harm at all  :[
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Nevis5 on June 13, 2019, 19:25:32 PM
Hmm.  Well you were very lucky, @Bodgeitandscarper  !  First (and only) time I hit a pin with the overlocker the lower blade exploded.   Quite scary really - I'd only had the machine a short time and was still learning.  Luckily just replacing the blade mended it, no trawling around looking for mechanics needed but I'm very, very careful about pins and blades now.  (and yes, I do have a similar cautionary tale about sewing machines and pins, I must either be very careless or very unlucky) x
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: aprilla on June 13, 2019, 19:34:55 PM
Wow Bodgeitandscarper, that's so fortunate. The same happened to me as Nevis5, and I thought I was being careful with pins by removing them in plenty of time. But there was one underneath that I didn't notice so it got 'serged' and the knife broke. After the fact I can say it was a good learning curve but having only played with it for a day or two (and we got on good from the first try) it was terrible to wait 10 days for the replacement. Replacing was not difficult though, and I got a spare I hope I'll never need  ;)
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 13, 2019, 19:46:13 PM
OK, scare factor has just gone back up a bit...  :o
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Lachica on June 13, 2019, 19:51:38 PM
I've chopped the point off a few pins with mine & it's still fine. Ive probably jinxed it now. I do try to remove pins in time.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Bogwoppit on June 13, 2019, 19:53:55 PM
I really must get mine out and have another go.  I bought some striped jersey to make myself some boat neck tops but didn't get as far as the cutting out stage let alone overlocking.

Mine is definitely a he.  No name yet.  But I don't tend to give things names, just sexes.  Apart from Wilbur the Wok who came with me to uni (and off with my brother when he went, then back to me when he came home and I bought my first house, still going strong 30 years later).
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: wrenkins on June 13, 2019, 19:55:04 PM
I used pins for the first time today and hit one!  :o
Don't care...I've fallen out with it anyway because it's making a terrible mess of my stuff.
Who said operator error?!?!?!  :S
Belt up down the back!   :ninja:
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Elnnina on June 13, 2019, 20:58:05 PM
Wrenkins what sort of mess is your overlocker making?  Is it the thread or when the blade is cutting is it leaving a mess that the overlocking doesn't cover?

The lower blade can get blunt and will need changing and sometimes the manufacturers include a spare blade in the pack with all the bits and bobs that comes with a new machine, i.e. net covers for cones, tweezers, screw drivers etc.

So back to your problem, if necessary re thread properly the overlocker and if you can use different colours so you can see what they are doing, and then compare your stitching with that in your manual and hopefully you will see if one of the colours is out of line, i.e. not stitching properly.

When a thread breaks, often we think the quickest and easiest way is just to rethread that particular thread, and unfortunately that is not the case, you should really unthread everything and start threading with the upper looper, then the lower looper and then the needle/needles - that way they are laying in the right place particularly up near the blades.  Also where the thread goes through the tension discs, if you put one hand behind and one hand in front of the tension discs give the thread a little tug and this should settle the thread in the discs properly.  Make sure that the spools of thread are flowing off the pins at the back and up through the rod  that holds the feed.  If thread is falling off the spool use the nets supplied to stop this.   Also in the pack of accessories you have there should be some little flatish spool caps so try using these as it makes the thread coming off the spool feed properly.  Also without thread in the tension discs take a piece of dental floss and work between the discs - it is surprising just how much dust and muck can get in there and the floss should help clean this out.  Also clean the dust and debris away from the blades and all around and oil regularly especially where it indicates this on your manual.  When you think about it the machine runs so very fast it needs to be kept clear of fluff and debris and it needs oiling.

If none of the above help then it is possible that the lower blade is the problem and yes they can become blunt - it all depends on just how much the machine has been used and exactly what fabric it has been cutting.

I hope that by following the above you can identify what is wrong, fingers crossed that you haven't done some damage by hitting that pin,  also listen to the machine and see if it is sounding different - part of the pin could have dropped down into the mechanism and then I am afraid it is off to the repair place.

Now back to Acorn, I really didn't mean to scare you about pins, it was seeing a pin in your work that made me post about the damage pins can cause and as others have said they have hit a pin some have got away with it and others haven't.  As you are such a newbie to  an overlocker there is time for you to start with good habits.  Don't be put off though.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: wrenkins on June 13, 2019, 21:08:24 PM
Thankfully @Elnnina the pin didn't break and I was able to pull it out. I'm obviously doing something dopey. It was all bunching up and sewing on top of itself. I really need to sit down with the manual and stop irritating myself. There is a strong possibility that I forgot to put the presser foot down but I can't be sure. (I'm afraid I'm not long on patience  :( ).
The fabric I was using is quite thin so I'll have to check my tension properly.
(whispers...I don't even know what the things on the side do it's so long since I read the book.  :| ). Big stitches, wee stitches, big gaps, wee gaps....blah blah blah!  0_0
I have ordered some really nice fabric and I don't want to make a mess of it so I'll be a good girl and do some studying.  ;)
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 13, 2019, 21:25:07 PM
I can tell you that leaving the presser foot up does have exactly that effect! 
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: wrenkins on June 13, 2019, 21:44:17 PM
0_0  0_0  0_0
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: annieeg on June 14, 2019, 09:33:21 AM
I've been overlocking for years and I continue to fall in and out of love with it!
It works fine - then goes wrong (my operator error!) - then I push it away in disgust and it lies idle for a long time until I get up the energy to try it again.
I usually talk to it, negotiate with it, ask it to behave and cooperate, and then try again...
The second-to-last time I tried to use it I dropped it!!! and had to test/check it all over to see if it was ok, but it seemed to have survived.
The last time I used it, I stitched over a pin and broke the blade!! >< :o
Have now replaced the blade and will re-read the manual (yet again).   
I am truly intimidated by the overlocker! :ninja:
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Greybird on June 14, 2019, 09:56:00 AM
I would like to know who is the patron saint of overlockers. I need to know that I am praying to the right entity, every time I sit down at it, that I am not going to have to re-thread it this time.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: wrenkins on June 14, 2019, 11:02:19 AM
Probably won't go far wrong with St Clare @Greybird. She's needlework isn't she? I'll just have to negotiate some patience with her.  :S
I don't know if intimidated is the right word @annieeg but it certainly makes me stop and think. My interactions tend to start with..'right, come on now' but I'm not sure if that's geeing myself up or warning my OL not to start any nonsense with me (knowing fine well that it will win  :[).  0_0
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: jintie on June 14, 2019, 12:09:43 PM
If computers needed so much human intervention,  they wouldn't be so popular.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Helen M on June 14, 2019, 12:13:35 PM
I can only thank whoever is the patron saint of overlockers for guiding me to my Brother Lock 730D back in 1989 (yikes)! I can honestly say I've rarely had to re thread (I can do it in no time thanks to Brother's easy U looper thingy) due to a breakage and took to it like a duck to water. Granted it is only 3 thread so seams get done before, or on some knits the 3 thread stitch is enough.

There weren't that many around back in those day and my choice was between a 4 thread Janome, with no differential feed, and the Brother 3 or 4 which had the Diff. I spent many lunchtimes trudging between Lewis's and Kendals in Manchester (they were not close together....). There was a difference of £100 in price between the 3 and 4 thread Brother and as I was expecting to use it mainly for edges of hems and other seams I went with the 3 and have never looked back. A couple of years ago it started to play up on heavy fabrics. I changed the blades and it was okay but it started playing up again so I decided to go for the 2104D in case the other gave up. I wish I'd gone for a 1034D as I don't like the LED lighting, the other is much brighter. I still use the old Brother most of the time and it purrs along.

I keep meaning to get it serviced at Bambers, he said there isn't much that can go wrong and helped me when I changed the blades. I just oil it as instructed. The only needles I have broken were 2, in fairly quick succession, Janome blue tip which it obviously dislikes. I don't pin but am a fan of tacking (on everything I'll confess) as I feel I can get a better run and take it slowly if it's a tricky fabric.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Morgan on June 14, 2019, 12:21:49 PM
Suggestion for the wary, frustrated, want to do better, etc.   -
How about joining together and support each other to build up your own Samples & Settings folder as you try and practise the exercises in this workbook - eg. 1 chapter per week.
The exercises can be done on any overlocker, so don't be put off that your machine is not the make or model in the workbook.  Just have your manual handy.

Workbook Exercises for overlocker (& coverstitch)
 (https://www.byrnesewing.com/static/mastery/serger.pdf)
It takes you through step by step and builds up your understanding and confidence.
By working on exercises instead of projects, you have permission to get it wonky.  You have to make things wonky so you can get the hang of adjusting the different settings to get the result you want.
The idea is you - Use different coloured threads, Try the exercise, practise, deliberately get it wrong and become confident in troubleshooting and fixing, then make samples on the fabrics types you work with and record the settings for your machine.

If you want to watch the videos that demonstrate the exercises in the workbook - see these videos here (Page 2 has the extra techniques eg. quilt as you go) (https://sewingmastery.com/bernina-1150mda/).  The focus is on the 1150MDA but much of the information and techniques is transferrable to other makes and models.

Alternatively here is a useful collection of Beginner Serger Tutorials (https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=beginners+guide+to+serging) (just get past the 'perky' voice).  It's like a course.  There are other collections, quite a good one is by an Australian and I think Jessie gave some links to those a while ago.


And, as the Brother 1034D has a different tension disk open/close system compared with other machines, this video  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C0MbV2LTxA)shows how it's important to use the tension release buttons on the top of each thread path when threading.
On other machines, lift the presser foot to release/open the tension disks for threading.

So how about you band together into a sew-along type group and do the exercises?
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: wrenkins on June 14, 2019, 12:45:03 PM
That's the workbook I downloaded and suggested to @Acorn a couple of pages ago. It looks good but so far mine is full of good intentions. So far I've sewn a total of about 5m :S
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 14, 2019, 13:34:54 PM
Yes, I have that workbook downloaded and saved.  I haven't used it so far because I decided it was best to familiarise myself with my machine before trying to translate Bernina!  I do have a set of samples of the various types of seam and hem from my own manual, done in the four colours that match the colours on the machine for future reference, properly annotated on the fabric.

We (Lucy and I) have just made a t-shirt (Blank Slate Blanc T-shirt) - overlocked seams, and overlocked edges, then twin needle hemmed with my normal machine.  I would usually put a neckband on, but the cotton jersey I used has almost no stretch, so that wasn't going to work, and so I hemmed the neck.

Anyway, it has superb seams, and the hemming is much, much neater with the overlocked edges.  Unfortunately the twin needle stitching tunneled moderately badly, and even skipped a few stitches.  But that is a story for a different place, and one that I know has pretty much no solution.  It's a lot better now I've pressed it anyway.

So, TL;DR - delighted with the overlockers performance in making a t-shirt.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Ploshkin on June 14, 2019, 13:50:41 PM
I must be very lucky.  I get my overlocker out, thread it with whatever colour I need, do a test seam on my fabric, (rarely need to adjust the tension or differential feed) use it and put it away again.  I've never had an issue with it.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 14, 2019, 13:56:28 PM
I'm sincerely hoping that mine's heading that way too @Ploshkin - so far so good anyway.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Nevis5 on June 14, 2019, 14:28:12 PM
Must admit that my overlocker is like yours, too, @Ploshkin .  It's been great (apart from the pin incident which was hardly its fault).  I have a Babylock Imagine which I bought a few years ago - the first one I had was an Elna which was a bit more tricky to thread and get the tension right. I'm spoilt by the Babylock as all that stuff is pretty automatic  <3

Wouldn't be without mine. xx
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Acorn on June 14, 2019, 14:36:03 PM
Having had such an easy time with the overlocking bit of my t-shirt, and then the usual trouble with my other machine's twin needle, I'm wondering about a coverlocker... I've found somewhere that appears to have the Britannia one in stock.  @Sewbusy - is yours this one - the CS4000? 

(https://six-penny.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Unknown-7.jpeg?db37ab&db37ab)
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: aprilla on June 14, 2019, 15:15:06 PM
Having had such an easy time with the overlocking bit of my t-shirt, and then the usual trouble with my other machine's twin needle, I'm wondering about a coverlocker... I've found somewhere that appears to have the Britannia one in stock.  @Sewbusy - is yours this one - the CS4000? 

(https://six-penny.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Unknown-7.jpeg?db37ab&db37ab)

LOL I was going to suggest it for you as I was reading along the posts, but you beat me to it! I've been thinking about one for a bit but an upcoming foreign wedding has taken my 'stash' so it's in the future.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Sewbusy on June 14, 2019, 17:13:52 PM
@Acorn  Yes, that's the one I have.
Title: Re: Okaaayyy... maybe I need an overlocker...
Post by: Gernella on June 16, 2019, 10:19:32 AM
I've had  two overlockers, the first the Janome 644D, a proper workhorse and once you got the hang of threading a piece of cake and the second, I had a yen for a Bernina (made by Juki I believe) and got the 1300MDC, which is great and has a needle threader.  It gets used every time I sew, and despite me forgetting to oil it after many hours use, it doesn't complain.  The Janome Coverstitch I have only gets used occasionally and if a choice of only one, it would have to be the Bernina. 

I suppose one that did  both would be good but I'm not complaining.  No maybe about it really, if you have the money you really need one.