Last weeks edition of The Great British Sewing Bee was so timely as it came just 4 days after I put in my order for my very own overlocker. I am so excited to give this baby a go.
I have never used an overlocker in my life and have no idea where to even start. All I know is that looking at my wardrobe, and the type of clothes I like to wear, they are mostly all made of some sort of jersey or stretch fabric so this will make attempting to sew them so much easier. Now I know I don't NEED an overlocker by any stretch of the imagination, but I came it to a bit of bonus money recently and thought I might as well treat myself. Who doesn't love a new piece of machinery or tool!
I wanted to make sure I did a bit of research first as this was my first time buying one. Things which are looked out for are:
- 3 or 4 Threads: Having the option for either or means that you have a larger range of stitch type options.
- Rolled Hem: This will turn under and overstitch them edge of the fabric, perfect for hemming
- Differential Feed: This is an adjustment to alter the feed so that fabrics don't become too stretched or gathered giving you a beautiful flat seam (see example below).
- Retractable Cutting Knife: Allowing you to sew decorative stitches without cutting the seam
- Colour Coded Threading: Allowing you to see easily how to re-thread the machine
- Adjustable Cutting Width: Change the amount of the seam which is cut
- Variable Seam length and width: Some come with one or the other or neither. I wanted a good variation on this.
I opted for the Janome 9300DX in the end because it was within my price bracket and on comparison gave a good range in stitch adjustments for what I wanted. However if you are thinking about a cheaper version Tilly has been raving about her Brother 1034D.
The picture above shows you what differential feed really means (the clue is so not in the title). It is a dial that changes the amount of 'give', for want of a better word, in the seam stitches. If you look at the top one my differential feed is not set correctly and so the seam is stretched and out of shape (not good). If you turn the dial (up for jersey) then you change the differential feed and you can see this has made everything nice and straight and flat, magic. So that is what differential feed means, I know, I didn't have a monkeys either so don't worry. I will definitely be showing you what happens when I get to have a proper play with this.
Do any of you have an overlocker and have any tips or tricks for me? Alternatively, if you are thinking about one why do you want it? And I hope this post might have given you a bit of an insight in to what to look out for.