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Overlockers, also known as Sergers, can simplify and speed up so many of the common tasks used in sewing. Working at more than twice the speed of a domestice sewing machine, an overlocker is a pleasure to use and makes the task of sewing much quicker, neatening edges as you sew.
This booklet has been designed to enable you to keep a record of the different types of stitching (basic, special or decorative) that you will achieve if you follow the lessons in our DVD ‘Everything you need to know about overlocking’. The physical record of each stitch type will be a reminder when you come to use your overlocker for future projects. The data you record here will specifically relate to your own machine. Our students usually purchase a folder with clear plastic pockets to place their page and samples into. Getting started Sample Fabrics To follow the basic lessons we suggest you prepare samples of calico cut to fit the booklet pages. Most samples will require two layers. You will also need knitted fabric or lycra, super stretchy fabric, fine fabrics and firm fabric enough of each of these to create samples. Threads For the purposes of practicing, we suggest you use the colour threads that your machine is colour coded for, so that you can easily see on your samples how each needle or looper thread is working. It will be easier to make tension or other adjustments accordingly. We wish you all the best as you learn from these lessons. We hope you will become much more confident with the use of your machine. From the team at Sewing With Confidence.
© 2011 Sewing With Confidence Ltd.
. will assist you by making this important step as easy and time saving as possible. Knot the new threads in position. You can knot and pull a new thread through by following these basic guidelines. as this will keep on breaking. © 2011 Sewing With Confidence Ltd. 1 Your Overlocker should have ►► A threading diagram on the machine indicating the sequence and colour coding for each thread. Start at the beginning ►► Choose a good quality thread. 3. ►► Thread one reel at a time. ►► Bring all threads under the presser foot to the back and drop the presser foot. 5. Do a test after each thread change. 1. starting at the thread stand and following the indicated path up to the needle or looper. ►► For regular sewing with normal tension. Always start with the upper looper. use the same type of thread for the loopers and the needles. following the indicated path. ►► A self-threading lower looper. Remove the needle threads as the needles have to be threaded last. Pulling in a new thread. ►► Do not use woolly thread referred to as ‘flock’ or ‘floss’ in the needles. perhaps even breaking the needles. 7. Note: Follow the threading sequence for your specific model. ►► Try not to use one large cone for one looper and a small 1000 m reel for the other looper as this could result in uneven tension. Pull one thread at a time to let it run through the thread guides. but is the most important step. Threading an overlocker might look challenging but a good quality overlocker. 2. 4. ►► If you have a problem it is always better to remove the threads and start right from the beginning. from the thread stand to the needle or looper. Put the tension levers to the lowest number and lift the pressure foot to disengage the tension. Check that each thread is threaded correctly. ►► Clip-off presser feet that enable you to reach the needles and loopers easily. 6. Cut the threads between the thread stand and the thread spool. jamming.BASIC LESSON Threading the Overlocker Threading is the first step in using an overlocker. ►► Always start with the upper looper then the lower looper. ►► Tension which releases as soon as the presser foot is lifted. as faulty threading will result in no stitches or faulty stitches forming. ►► Each thread’s path should be colour coded on the machine.
BASIC LESSON Threading your overlocker After you have completed your threading using the 4 different colour threads. . and the test is to your satisfaction note the settings below. Left Needle Upper Looper Cutting Width Right Needle Lower Looper Stitch Length - 1 © 2011 Sewing With Confidence Ltd.
For example.g. gym and swimwear where seams will be under high strain. 3 & 4 The 4 THREAD OVERLOCK STITCH can be used for ►► Sewing up highly stretchable fabrics. gathering with the overlocker. Divide into 4 equal segments = 4 stitch lengths 2 Cutting width test: Stitch length test: 4 thread SL = 2. in making tracksuits it will be strong enough. © 2011 Sewing With Confidence Ltd.g.. sewing on elastic. e.BASIC LESSON 4 thread overlock stitch ►► Two needles and two loopers are used. when doing tucks. e. 2 & 3 Varied Stitch Length SL = 1. ►►Preferably use calico for this test. The 4-thread overlock will allow for fabric elasticity. ►► Decorative stitching.g. .5 CW = 2 Varied Stitch Width CW = 1. e. 2. track-suiting and T-shirts ►►Because the finished stitch width = 6mm. making piping and securing it in position. this stitch can be used to sew and overlock a seam in one operation. ►► Special techniques. which makes it an ideal stitch to use on knitted fabric. Divide in 3 equal segments = 3 cutting widths Cut fabric 16cm long & 6cm wide. e.g. Cut fabric 15cm long & 6cm wide.
3 Record your machine settings below in each column for each sample you create. To sew roll hemming and its variations such as pintucks and lace insertions. e. © 2011 Sewing With Confidence Ltd. . The two ‘looper’ threads meet on the edge of the fabric and the needle thread acts as a straight stitch. decorative edges. To sew decorative finishing. WIDE Left NeedleRight NeedleUpper Looper Lower Looper Cutting WidthStitch Length- NARROW Left NeedleRight NeedleUpper Looper Lower Looper Cutting WidthStitch Length- VERY NARROW Left NeedleRight NeedleUpper Looper Lower Looper Cutting WidthStitch Length- The 3 THREAD OVERLOCK STITCH can be used ►► ►► ►► ►► To finish off frayed edges on woven fabrics or to form an open or closed single seam. To sew and finish off a seam in one operation when sewing lightweight knitted fabric. flat seams.g.BASIC LESSON 3 thread overlock stitch The 3 THREAD OVERLOCK STITCH is formed by one needle thread. tucks and making cords. which anchors 2 looper threads. such as T-shirting.
use the upper looper converter.thread overlock stitch will be too thick and bulky. ►► The stitch looks like a 3-thread stitch from the top. . as it will pull open and lay flat Roll hemming and its variations © 2011 Sewing With Confidence Ltd. but the needle thread forms.BASIC LESSON 2 thread overlock stitch using the ‘UPPER LOOPER CONVERTER’ ►► Only one needle and one looper are used. ►► Test for the correct stitch setting by pulling the fabric for the stitch to lie flat. an even ‘V’ on the bottom. 2 thread Flatlocking The 2 THREAD OVERLOCK STITCH can be used for: ►► ►► ►► Finishing off raw edges on woven fabrics especially on very lightweight fabrics where a soft seam finish is required and where a 3. which rolls or loops over to the top of the fabric. Decorative stitching such as flatlock seams. The needle thread anchors the lower looper thread. 4 2 thread seam finishing 2 thread Roll Hem ►► For a 2-thread overlock stitch.
It means that the feed mechanism is divided into two parts.5 to 2) for knitted fabric. ►► Special setting (0. The two parts work together and the fabric is fed through evenly. The back section of the feeding mechanism moves over a longer distance than the front section. resulting in the fabric being pulled through to the back.BASIC LESSON 4 thread overlock stitching using DIFFERENTIAL FEED All overlockers today offer this feature. which can operate as one or as separate parts It can be set as follows: 5 ►► Normal setting (N) for regular sewing. resulting in the fabric being “pushed” together and thus preventing it from stretching during sewing. thus preventing the fabric from puckering. This stitch requires the Upper Looper Converter and Woolly Nylon Thread (Also called ‘floss’ or ‘flock’. The front section of the feeding mechanism moves up to twice the distance of the back section. . The differential feed feature will also enable you to gather with the overlocker and create a Super Stretch Stitch which is a very elastic stitch formed using two needles and the lower looper. ►► Special setting (1.) Knitted fabric & lycra Thin Fabrics Gathering Super Stretch Stitch © 2011 Sewing With Confidence Ltd.7) for thin and difficult to handle fabrics.
►► Set the tension dials as per your instruction manual. ►► When sewing a very fine and loosely woven fabric.BASIC LESSON Roll hemming The new overlockers will sew roll hemming with great ease. cutting 5 mm deeper than the required amount and move towards the cutting line. sleeves and hems in fine fabrics. ►► Use a wide cutting width and tighter lower looper tension when sewing stiff fabrics. . On firm fabric On lightweight fabric On fine fabric © 2011 Sewing With Confidence Ltd. ► 6 Special hints when sewing rolled hems Set the overlocker as follows ►► Use a narrow three thread overlock or a two-thread overlock stitch. Also start by cutting 4 cm off the seam allowance so that the needle will enter the fabric with the first stitch. ►► Set the cutting width to the lowest setting. use a slightly wider cutting width to ensure a strong. neat edge finish. Sew up to 3 cm from the corner. No presser feet or stitching plates need to be changed. This stitch is ideally used as an edge finish on frills. sew at an angle towards the corner to cut off 5 mm more than normal. ►► Avoid ‘dog ears’ on corners: Start sewing. ►► Set the stitch length to 1mm depending on the thread and the required effect.
Lower needle into the fabric. 4. 8. 4. © 2011 Sewing With Confidence Ltd. 3. 6.Specia c l Te h LESSON Finishing Off Chains Because of the way an overlocker is designed. 7. Sew to the end of the seam. overlockers do not sew in reverse. Raise the presser foot. 2. 7. Sew over the thread chain for 2 cm and cut off the excess chain with the knife SEAM ENDING 1. Sew a 3-4 cm thread chain. Raise the needle and presser foot. ques ni 1 SEAM BEGINNING 1. Remove the stitching gently from the stitch finger. Sew carefully over the previous stitching without cutting for about 2 cm. Straighten out the thread chain and remove stitching from the stitch finger. Turn the fabric over towards you and lay it under the presser foot so that the needle enters the fabric with the first stitch. 5. 2. Sew 2 stitches onto the fabric. 3. Stitch off the edge. Lay the threads from the left back to the front and lay it under the presser foot.g. Lower the presser foot. special techniques are required to use it effectively. so to finish off beginnings and endings of seams the following techniques could be used. Lower the presser foot. 6. 5. Raise the tip of the foot and turn the work away from you. e. .
4. 2. © 2011 Sewing With Confidence Ltd. 5.about 3-4 cm. If necessary. 6. cutting off the extra fabric you would normally cut off with the blades . Lower the presser foot and needle.Specia c l Te h LESSON Sewing Outside Corners ques ni 2 1. 3. Continue sewing. Turn the fabric and lay it under the presser foot so that the cut edge of the fabric is against the knife. Raise the needle and presser foot. Cut into the corners where you will be using this technique. Pull the work slightly to the back to clear the stitch finger. . pull all the threads tight above the first machine guide. Sew up to the corner and one stitch over the edge of the fabric. 7.
5. (You may find it easier to trim the seam allowance to between 3 -6 mm depending on your Stitch Width).Specia c l Te h LESSON Sewing Inside Corners ques ni Cut 3 1. Cut out square 2. Sew into the corner. Snip into the corner up to the stitching line. 4. 3. . Straighten out the fabric. Continue sewing © 2011 Sewing With Confidence Ltd. Prepare your fabric with a square shape cut out (as for a square neckline).
. Raise the tip of the presser foot. As the blade of an overlocker is positioned in front of the needle. 5. Cut away a 4cm section out of the seam allowance. 4. Lower the presser foot and sew until the seam is complete. special sewing techniques are required. 6. Raise the needle and presser foot. Sew a few stitches over the previous stitches without cutting them. Turn the work away and sew off the edge.Specia c l Te h LESSON Sewing a Continuous Edge ques ni 4 1. 8. 7. Position the fabric under the presser foot with the cutaway edge against the knife. 3. 2. © 2011 Sewing With Confidence Ltd.
The thicker the thread. ALWAYS test-sew when using decorative threads.D ec orati Decorative Stitching LESSONS An overlocker can be used to its fullest potential by using it for decorative effects. You may need to change the tensions when using special threads on an overlocker: When using slippery decorative thread use the spool nets for even unwinding.g. An important TIP sew slowly when using decorative threads and pull the thread chain gently backwards when starting to sew. gathering. you can calculate the amount of decorative thread needed for your project as follows: Looper threads will require 7 mt of thread for every 1 mt length of stitching. This is important only use decorative threads in the loopers.g. And the availability of specialized presser feet and accessories. Threads must move easily and without resistance through the thread guides and looper eye and this should be taken into account when purchasing the thread. ve © 2011 Sewing With Confidence Ltd. ►► ►► ►► ►► With easy to set tensions and easy selections of stitches e. See the section on Overlocker Accessories Some Tips for using Decorative Threads: ►► ►► ►► ►► ►► ►► ►► Decorative threads specially made for overlockers are becoming widely available. To set the tension. the looser the tensions. etc. cord work. roll hemming without the need to change presser feet or stitch plates. . If you are not sure if you have enough thread. piping. The possibility to convert a 3-thread stitch to a 2-thread overlock stitch in seconds. It has become so easy to sew decorative stitching. So measure the length you need to sew and multiply it by 7. set one tension at a time. e.
. Overlock parallel tucks. Fold the fabric and guide the fold on the guide mark on the presser foot. The looper threads must meet at the edge of the fabric. Use a wide 3-thread overlock stitch with different thread colours in the loopers. Set the stitch length very short . Turn and lock the upper blade away. Now sew the tucks down with a sewing machine in alternative directions (See the lesson) DECORATIVE EDGES 1. Use a 3 thread narrow overlock stitch(See lesson 3 of basic lessons).to a satin stitch length. Use decorative threads in the loopers. 2. ve 1 TUCK VARIATIONS 1.ora ec ti LESSON D Decorative Tucks Decorative tucks can be very effective. 3. 4. © 2011 Sewing With Confidence Ltd. Always start the tucks at the same end and position the fabric so that when you sew the pucks down you will get the effect you are wanting. 3. 2. (This is not a ROLL hemming stitch).
thread in the 1. Remember decorative thread is only used on the upper looper. © 2011 Sewing With Confidence Ltd.ora ec ti LESSON D Decorative Roll Hemming Apart from roll hemming being a practical stitch. When using decorative thread your settings may need ro be adjusted. Set the machine for a short stitch length and sew a “satin stitch” rolled edge. . skirts & yokes. You may need to adjust the tension to suit the thread thickness. ve 2 Try these variations Use a decorative upper looper. Turn the blade away and sew the rolled edge on folded fabric to form a pin-tuck. it can be used very effectively as decorative stitching. 2. Pin Tucks This is very effective on shirts. NOW DO A TEST 3. Lace Insertions Place the wrong sides together when you sew the lace in position using a roll hem. (See Lesson 6 under the basic stitches section on how to set your machine for roll hemming).
The stitch looks like a 3-thread 4. These threads must meet at the edge of the fabric by pulling the fabric for the stitch to lie flat.ora ec ti LESSON D Flatlock Seams Flat seams are formed by sewing a 2 or 3 thread overlock stitch to join two pieces of fabric or on the fold of the fabric. Use a 3 or 2 thread overlock stitch. Test for the correct stitch setting © 2011 Sewing With Confidence Ltd. 2. For a 2-thread overlock stitch. (See lesson 4 in basic lessons.) stitch from the top. but the needle thread forms. Set the needle tension at the lowest setting. The fabric is then pulled open so that the stitch lies flat. 3. ve 3 Settings for Flatlocking 1. an even ‘V’ on the bottom. . use the upper looper converter. and the lower looper tighter.
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