This post is a fair bit overdue because I actually bought my overlocker a few months back. When I first got it, I spent about a week learning how to use it following a craftsy course, and I haven’t really touched it since then. This isn’t because it scares/intimidates me, or because I have no use for it. I’m actually about to start my first project on it now. It’s purely because my last two sewing projects were my dress form followed by my sequin dress, neither of which I could use an overlocker for.
I’ve been sewing for a while now, and most of my projects have been done on my trusty Jaguar sewing machine. I bought it for a really good price for a computerised machine, £130, and I’ve loved using it. I’ve used it to sew lots of different fabrics, from thick denim to viscose challis with a recent pit stop on multiple layers of sequin mesh that it just whizzed through. I’ve been really proud of the stuff that I’ve been able to make on it, but one of the things that I haven’t been able to finish well on it is knit fabrics.
I’ve avoided getting an overlocker for several reasons, firstly space. One machine takes up a fair amount of room, two machines take up more and that says nothing about the extra thread and accessories that an overlocker needs. Secondly, expense. Overlockers are expensive and I couldn’t justify the price unless I was sure I would use it. Thirdly, there’s an implication that overlockers help you cut corners which isn’t something I like to do, I sew because I want a good quality of clothes as opposed to because I want lots of them in a short period of time. And finally, there’s also the implication of a significant learning curve which I did not have the time for until recently.
I decided to start saving up for one after a few mishaps with knit garments. I worked really hard on a plain T-Shirt, using washaway stabiliser and hand sewing in the grainline but the finish on it was still bad. I made a hoodie using the Jalie Method which did come out okay, but only in places where I also top stitched the seam down. I also tried to make underwear which you’d think would be okay because they’re small, but they did not last one wash.
At the moment, most of my wardrobe isn’t actually hand made. I tend to gravitate towards making more interesting clothing because I find it more fun to make but there isn’t as many opportunities to wear those garments as there is a basic knit T-Shirt. My tastes are also quite specific in terms of fit and style so I actually find it quite hard to shop for knitwear. I’d really love to be able to add more knitwear into my wardrobe and have more excuses to wear my handmade items in my every day life, so it’s definitely time to get an overlocker.
Overlockers are pretty hard to research if you don’t actually know what you’re looking for. I ended up going for Jaguar Supa Lock 488 partly on instinct for this reason. There are a few other reasons though!
Firstly, I own a Jaguar sewing machine and, as I said at the start of this post, it’s great! I think it’s a rarely mentioned brand online, it’s not as popular as Singer, Brother, Pfaff etc but I’m really happy with my machine so I didn’t feel any qualms about going for a lesser known brand for my overlocker.
I also watched a video by Abi’s Den for a different Jaguar Overlocker where she mentioned how the fact that it opens up entirely makes it easier to thread. That was important to me as I’m a bit of a stickler for matching thread so I wanted to be able to switch threads easily.
The machine that I went for came with loads of accessories as well, such as different feet and a seam guide. It’s fairly hefty and it suctions to the table which makes it a bit more secure when using, especially as my table isn’t very secure itself.
I’ve practiced on some scraps and so far I’m happy with it! The only thing I regret is that I didn’t save up a bit more and get the slightly more higher end version as I didn’t realise that I wouldn’t be able to do a proper 2 thread flat lock seam on mine. I’m glad I dove in and tried a bunch of stuff as soon as I got it though, it’s pretty interesting to see the range of things that an overlocker can do. I wont have a full idea until I use it for an actual garment, but it’s looking pretty good so far!