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Overlock purchase

sandylanegirl | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I’m an occasional sewer and would like to buy an overlocker machine.  I don’t want,  need or can afford a really fancy one.  Just one that is easy to thread and that trims as it overlocks.  Any advice?




  1. Betakin | | #1

    There are many models of basic sergers in different brands. Some are very much the same but vary in price. I suggest to check out different brands on line first to compare features and price. Then maybe check reviews by owners on line at PatternReview.com and also recommendations that somebody might post here in answer to your question. I suggest to then go and try out as many as possible to see which brand you are the most comfortable in using. A dealer will also offer you classes if needed. Many sergers come with videos which is a big help if you are new to serging, plus you may wish to purchase to check out some books on serging at your local library.

    Most sergers today are 4 thread models with differential feed, and you will not want less than this. Janome sergers are some of the most popular of the basic and less expensive models. Janome sells them in their own name, plus manufactures them for other company's like Hancock's and Sears Kenmore brands.  Janome now heads Elna USA. Though some of these models don't have many bells and whistles they are known to be work horses.

    Babylock sergers, Juki, Pfaff, Elna, Viking and Bernina (Juki makes Bernette Sergers) are all popular and loved by owners but prices vary. I hope you can try out some models to find which you are the most comfortable in using and find one that you love to use.


    1. sandylanegirl | | #3

      Thank you for your advice. I'm looking at the Bernina models as I have a Bernina sewing machine and it's been fantastic!  I bought it 29 years ago and it sews like new.

      I will look at the 4 thread differential feed, that's the sort of information I really needed!

      Sandy lane girl

      1. MaryinColorado | | #6

        A three thread overlock is the most common stitch used on the serger, especially if you just want to finish seam edges.  The differential feed is absolutely necessary in my humble opinion.  It is what makes a seam "stretch" or "gather" or prevents fabric from puckering when joined.  The differential feed is adjustable for everything from delicate wovens to slinky knits.  (To make a ruffle, for instance, you open the differential feed all the way and increase the stitch length, it's fast and accurate.)

        A "rolled hem" might be 2 or 3 thread and makes a nice finish for delicate fabrics, necklines, hems, it's like what is on the edge of fine fabric napkins and also may be used on the edge of something like a wedding veil or lace edge.

        With the "coverstitch" capable serger, you may make professional looking knit hems.  With this stitch, the cutting blade is not used and requires a learning curve on some machines to switch from regular overlocking to coverstitch.  The top of the seam will look like a double needle stitch and the underside like a zig zag. 

        Flatlock is another stitch on some sergers that has many uses, including ribbon insertion, decorative serging, a faux blanket stitch, joining edges.

        Hope this helps!  I love serging!  Good luck in your search and be sure to test drive!  Mary


        1. rekha | | #7

          Are you talking about the high-end market of overlockers?

          If yes, I totally agree that you may only need to use an overlocker, but with the basic overlocker that I have I cannot imagine topstitching with it

          1. MaryinColorado | | #8

            Yes, I think you would need to have coverstitch capability for topstitching as you wouldn't want to be using the cutting blade.  But you don't need a high end machine to do most projects.  http://www.lindaleeoriginals.com has several serger patterns for clothing and quilts that you might find interesting.  She is one of the authors of "Serger Secrets" and also authored "Make Friends With Your Serger", both are very good books.  (They call her the "serger lady", her full name is Linda Lee Vivian, not to be confused with Linda Lee, the other well known sewing expert, who has a completely different website under the name http://www.lindalee.com)  This really confused me when I first learned of the serger lady and was trying to find info about her. 

            Well, now I've got the "urge to serge" so maybe I'll get those thread scarves made this week.  You use water soluble stabilizer and a variety of yarns and threads with the 3 thread overlock and create your own fabric.   You can make them into purses and such too, but then they have to be lined for strength.

            Have a happy week!  Mary

          2. rekha | | #9

            Thanks for the URLs; had a quick shufti and my thoughts are as follows

            the serger patterns come in two category - simplistic designs of coats, vests and jackets and second, esoteric like the logos on the second URL.

            I can see you have great passion for use of the serger; is it possible to upload some for us to have a look at?

  2. rekha | | #2

    I was exactly in your position some months ago. I bought Janome 9102D

    The manual comes with complete instructions so you don't have to resort to other published material; the rest is up to your imagination.

    The advantage of buying bottom end of the market is that you can experiment a lot and find out what you really want in the machine.

    Sergers are like microwave ovens in the kitchen; you cannot complete a project with serger alone.

    1. MaryinColorado | | #4

      Hi Rekha!  "you cannot complete a project with a serger alone"  I do many projects using only my Huskylock 936 serger.  In fact, the safety stitch will make a seam and finish the edges at the same time.   The only difficulty is learning to make really nice rounded seams, such as in sleeves and necklines.  You can even do Heirloom sewing techniques, quilting, and dressmaking using only the serger.  To me, the sky is the limit with the serger when it comes to creativity.  There is a book called "Secrets to Successful Serging" that has a wealth of information re this.  Mary


      1. rekha | | #5

        Hear, hear!

  3. sewnutt1 | | #10

    I purchased a Husky 560 ED, new, many years ago.   Used it continually to do alterations but needed to replace it as the tolerances would not hold and I was breaking loopers.

    Replaced it with a used Huskylock 905.    The difference is amazing!  My 905 (other models are the 910 and 936) is much larger, open armed, dual speed, easily adjustable for width, feed, and length.  I love it!                      The only problem I encountered was that the cordage, which is terminally designed so you cannot take it apart to change it, is so much shorter than the first one!   Thus I had to redesign my sewing table area.   I wanted a narrow (less than 18" ) table on wheels to slide in next to my main table(a WWII issue leather topped, steel army issue table with a wonderful large, ball bearing slide out drawer).   At a neighborhood garage sale I found a cast-off oak top from a computer desk that filled the bill.  I added two pieces of oak on each side (now legs), mounted casters to those.    What a great table.

    Whatever you decide on for a serger, make sure the stitches on it are ones you will use.  I opted to stay away from a 5-spool model as I am not one to change components on a serger.   I sew with 4 spools all the time and that works for me.

    Buy from a dealer you like and who will be helpful to you.  

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