The Overlocker has Left its Box!

A frustrating week longer than I would have wished, the cotton for my overlocker finally arrived, and I was able to put what I’d learnt on my course into practice…


Well, after an excruciating hour of threading it up! Yep, I know it’s going to take practice, but boy did I not enjoy this task! And this was with it partially threaded up already… Mmmmm, I’m certainly not planning on changing the colour or stitch any time soon. My machine was one that allows you to knot new cotton on (apparently not all of them do), but then you have to pull each strand carefully through (which gave me some practice of what to expect when IΒ finally do have to I guess). I was tempted to just start without the pulling through, but I dutifully followed instructions and did as I was bid. It looked pretty tangled up around the needles, but after offering up a short prayer of desperation, it seemed to work ok πŸ™‚

I thought I’d take things slowly and start with a few more infinity scarves. While I was in Manchester for the course, I popped into Abakhans and picked up some very cheap, t-shirt weight fabric (from the remnant section where you buy it by the weight) to practice on. I made sure I liked the colour or pattern, but that was about it.

But it turns out the pain of threading it isΒ totally worth it πŸ™‚ Despite the cheapness of the fabric the scarves have turned out great! There’s not much to say about their construction, apart from me ending up with one seam on the outside accidentally (READ the instructions Teresa…). Unpicking was painstakingly slow, but on a project like this I think I’ll just snip it off instead next time (clearly not a viable option on clothing, so good to learn this here). As you can see I made my daughter one (with slightly smaller dimensions) in a pink, marl fabric for weekends. I also made her a very soft, muted, red one to go with her uniform for school. Mine was a subtle grey and white stripe. The amount I purchased gave me exactly the right amount for a second one too, which will be the perfect birthday present for a work colleague later this week. In fact, all my friends might be getting one of these for Christmas next year…

The other useful tip I gleaned from the course was to keep a book with the relevant tension settings, etc along with a piece of the said fabric for future reference because all knit fabrics vary so much. This really appealed to my neat-freak mind. Although constantly leaving a small chain of stitches in place under the needle, ready for the next project totally goes against it! Even just looking at the photo below has me reaching for the scissors to neaten it up. I’ll just have to imagine the thought of threading it up again to stop myself…



I thought I’d build up my experience of using my favourite, new toy slowly, by working through a couple of patterns I already know work well with both me and knits: a simple, Mabel skirt (Colette), which I already have the fabric for, and then I’m thinking maybe another Megan dress (Tilly and the Buttons). Roll on next weekend so I can have more playtime on her πŸ™‚




41 thoughts on “The Overlocker has Left its Box!

  1. Well done on working it out! I have promised myself an overlocker later this year, so will bear your tips in mind. Did your class make any recommendations about makes and models?

  2. The notebook idea with tension settings and fabric sample attached is great! Thanks, I’ll try that. As I am now two whole garments in on the overlocker, and lacking the patience to wait for my beginner’s course, I’m following your posts closely for tips and advice…although if I had been on a course, I may have learned that you can’t really pivot your fabric on an overlocker (at least I don’t seem to be able to) without taking a sizeable chunk out beyond the seam. Oh how we laughed : (
    Never mind, both garments have also been made in Abakhan specials (i.e. very cheap) but I’ll try to learn a little more before overlocking with something pricier. Once again, love your scarves and choice of colours!

    • Thank you! I think lots of practice on cheaper fabrics is a necessity! Love your ‘how we laughed’ comment, will remember that next time I’m almost in tears trying to thread the darn thing πŸ™‚

  3. Well done you! Threading is horrible, but it will get better over time. I salute your notebook-idea – very useful! And you can buy fabric by weight??!!!! Good job this is not a shop near me, I would never be out of there, trying to squeeze in another 100 grams πŸ˜‰

  4. Aw you and your daughter are so cute! Your scarves look lovely, that pink colour is lush and bright πŸ˜‰ .Your last couple of posts have made me realise that I seriously need to do something about learning how to use my overlocker properly! For starters I have NEVER changed the tension …ick. I cant make it to classes though so I am thinking maybe the Crafsty class? As ever lovely post!

  5. Well done for threading your overlocker for the first time! It is daunting in the beginning but it soon becomes second nature, like threading the sewing machine. There is no looking back now – you’ll wonder how you ever coped without one! I like the idea of keeping notes of tensions though, I think I’ll adopt this idea too. Great scarves – I would be very happy to receive one as a gift! πŸ™‚

  6. What a great picture! the scarves look great, and I am sure your future Christmas scarf-recipients will be very happy. I had thought about a serger for awhile, and reading your post makes me want to buy one this year:-) a hour of threading sounds painful though:o

    • Thank you! They’re lovely and warm too, without the itch factor! Perfect for the present cold snap we’re experiencing here. I’d recommend an Overlocker already, especially if you can find someone else to thread it for you πŸ˜‰

  7. Your weekend sounds remarkably like mine. I decided to make baby clothes as my first project in the overlocker…turned out great in the end but i had to thread the overlocker from scratch after breaking a needle! The scarves look great!

  8. I wanted to pull my hair at the thought of rethreading the overlocker first time & thought I’ll just be careful nothing will go wrong and then it didans had to rethread from scratch and then I had to do it again because it didn’t work and again, i can do it with my eyes closed now haha! Well done on your first projects with it!

  9. The notebook idea is brilliant– it took me a looooong time of using my overlocker before writing anything down occurred to me. And my sons’ little fingers were constantly coming along and spinning those tension dials. It was so frustrating to have to figure out the correct tension over and over again!

  10. Well done you – scarves look FAB! The Craftsy course has a downloadable manual which includes a little template for you to attach your swatch and all the various settings. I say this because I have successfully downloaded and printed the PDFs (and not much else)!

    • I think it’s half skills and half confidence πŸ˜‰ The carves are really quick and simple to run up, but perfect for current weather. I don’t think I warmed up at all yesterday, I have several extra layers on today…

  11. Well done! That’s a lovely picture of you and your daughter and a smart idea to keep a serger journal.

    I started playing with it as soon as I purchased it, that was almost two years ago. I didn’t think threading was too much an issue, and it’s something I tried to do myself as soon as I received mine. Additionally, I used various weights of fabric, and wrote the tension used for the appropriate fabric. I love my serger/overlocker.

    My 11yo daughter has watched and now she’s made a few items for herself using that machine. She’s also used my embroidery machine and has my old sewing/embroidery machine. Her latest serger creation was a pillow that she made yesterday. The girl loves pillows.

    • Thank you! I’m still a little nervous of my daughter around my sewing machine, as she’s only six. But we’ve had fun completing a couple of sewing projects together πŸ™‚ It’s nice to pass on the enjoyment, isn’t it?

  12. Thank you for reminding me why I don’t have an overlocker! (The threading!) But well done you for defeating it!! Good luck with the Mabel and Megan! (Although I’m sure you wont really need it.)

  13. This post reminds me of getting my new serger out of the box… πŸ˜‰ And then I am going to read your “Overlocking for Beginners” post. Thank you for all your effort. You have a wonderful blog. I am following you now. If you are interested in little sewing projects such as felt food or felt toys, you might like to stop by at my site. All the best from Toronto

  14. Pingback: Kids Clothes Week! New Look 6016. | saturday night stitch

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