all my own work by ann

Sewing and textiles with Ann

The Overlocker


My new toy! Straight out of it’s box.

I’ve had it less than 12 hours and already learnt so much, none the least of which is that I need somewhere to store it and a cover.

Thank goodness it comes pre-threaded, but I have already had to learn a bit about threading. The instructions say to spend a few minutes running through scrap material in order, I think, to let any loose oil run out. So I tried a few things with my material scraps, and one of the things I tried didn’t work. The result was that I had a little bit of difficulty working out how to get the fabric out from under the foot. After which the upper threads weren’t picking up the lower threads. So I undid one of the lower threads. I had to go back to the shop and see how the demo model was threaded in order to re-thread. The manual wasn’t clear enough and the DVD was a bit of a dud. I swapped the DVD on the same visit.

Anyway, I fixed it!

I’ve done a couple of useful things with it this afternoon. I’ve finished a scrap of fabric that I then used as a patch to fix the seam on some (RTW) trousers, and I’ve finished the back seam on a dress that I am making. That process will strengthen what’s going to be quite a narrow seam.

I had a T-shirt ready to sew. Right now I have power cables, presser feet and sewing paraphanalia scattered all over the sewing space. I’m wondering if it is possible to rationalise the use of each machine so that you can group all of the overlocking and all of the standard machine work for a pattern. And if I then add in the time for changing to a twin needle on the sewing machine, these knitted garments, although beautifully finished, are going to take much longer to prepare to sew than to actually sew.

Life with an overlocker – day 2

So the next day dawned and I was keen to get on with my T-shirt, making use of all of the skills that I learnt on my knits sewing course. Oh, and last night I ordered a storage / carry bag and a book that had good reviews.

First thing, I found out that the dud DVD is on You Tube. Now being ‘middle aged’, and not having kids, I think that You Tube is full of rubbish. But I had a peruse over breakfast and found that the very same DVD is available for all to view on You Tube. So I did, but I still think that I learnt more by re-visiting the shop and seeing the threading for real.

So, with a mixture of overlocking, stretch stitch and the twin needle, I made this: T-shirt number 2.

Second t-shirt

It may look similar to the first t-shirt, but it has a faced neck line which I stitched on the overlocker, and it has set in sleeves. I think that this is a more robust and stylish garment, although I am still having some trouble with the twin needle.

After completing this, I finished all of the seams on my dress and like the results.

The floor remained littered with sewing machinery all day, although the good news is that I have managed to find a space in one of my cupboards to accommodate the overlocker.

And finally I cut out another stretch top, so there will be more overlocking and twin needling some day soon.

A week in the life of an overlocker

Overlocker bag
It’s not a particularly good picture, but I won’t complain as it is sun and shadow that is causing the problem, but my ovelocker now has a bag to live in along with all of it’s accessories, and I have a book about overlocking.

The OverLocker Technique Manual – a quick review
I have read most of the early chapters. The pictures are very clear and the words particularly helpful. The book answers many of the simple questions stemming from the fact that you have a vague idea what you are trying to do, but need to be told the best way of doing it. In may cases there are several options, so you can chose the option that best suit you or the sewing. Example – how to finish the ends. I’ve already found ‘How to sew a tube’ useful, although I didn’t follow the advice given. Next time.

Part of me wonders whether it might have been useful to have had the book before buying the machine. But then again I might have been tempted to buy a more sophisticated machine, when actually I don’t need one. Many of the accessories and more advanced techniques described are available on a sewing machine as well.

And I agree with the magazine review that concluded that the projects are not inspiring. Indeed, they are not!

I am pleased with the book. I may well spend ocassional late evenings reviewing it for several more weeks until I get to the point where i wonder how i ever managed without knowing these things.

The future

I think this is my last blog entry on this subject.

I am getting to learn that the knife isn’t scary. I did some lovely seams today using the knife, and a little plastic bag underneath to catch the bits. Thanks to the book for that simple idea!

I bought some black and fawn cottons today. I think that changing the thread may be my next challenge, especially as I notice that one bobbin of the pre-threaded white cotton is running low. And my next knit sew will be black, so I have to face the challenge at some point soon.

So clearly I am getting used to my new toy. Today’s sewing, which made a lot of use of the overlocker, is blogged separately.

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This entry was posted on July 5, 2014 by in Sewing and tagged .
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