Overlockers are machines that are specially designed to make overlock stitches that sew layers of fabric. Gone are the days when home sewn fabric looked home made with their zigzag edges to prevent fraying. An overlocked hem doesn’t fray and looks professional.
General domestic purposes
Their most common use is to edge, seam or hem pieces of cloth. They are equipped with a very sharp blade that chops off the excess threads and fabric along the edges to stop it from fraying. Regular sewing machines use a lock stitch to join the seam allowance or finish the edges of the dress making fabrics. An overlocker, on the other hand, has loopers that feed various thread cones as opposed to bobbins that can be found on regular sewing machines with lock stitches. The recent home sewing revival has found many home sewers investing in additional equipment.
Overlockers are classified according to their amount of spools.
Single/1-thread overlock stitch is limited and is used for end to end seaming of goods for textile finishing while a 2-thread overlocker has many uses. It’s used for general seaming and edging of woven materials, for joining lace and elastic to lingerie, flatlocking, hemming and the finishing of seam edges.
3-thread overlockers are great for decorative edges, seaming of knit and woven edges as well as for creating pintucks and fine rolled hems. For seams that take a lot of stress, you need a 4-thread overlocker. It is flexible but is similarly as strong as a safety stitch. The more expensive 5-thread overlockers are used for heavyweight fabrics like denim. The 5-thread safety stitch makes the process of lock stitching with a straight stitch unnecessary.
Besides the aforementioned uses, overlockers can, due to their stitch pattern, have the ability to give an enormous amount of stretch when attaching elastic or when sewing knitted fabrics that might have been bought from places such as http://www.quality-fabrics.co.uk/dressmaking-fabrics-14-c.asp. It helps you create a professional finish to your garments and it goes very fast. Unfortunately, you will always need a regular machine for buttonholes, top stitching and for inserting zips.
Overlockers are generally not limited to a single function and, if you use the machine regularly, you will get great value out of your investment. Once you’ve had an overlocker, you will never want to sew without one again.