10 Tips for Choosing a Sewing Machine with Overlock

Sewing Machine

You can buy a sewing machine with an overlock to sew from any material, including knitwear, beautifully process the cut of the product and not spend money on a separate overlock. Functional modern models allow you to create any items at home almost without limits. About how to choose the right sewing machine with overlock function for the home, we tell in detail in our article.

Immediately denote that in such models you will not find a full-fledged built-in overlock, which knows how to cut the fabric. These are ordinary household machines with overlock stitches. But they allow you to work with stretch and inelastic fabrics, getting quality seams. These machines have knit stitches for stitching, for processing seams (separate for stretchy and non-stretchy materials).

1. For what purposes do you need a machine

How to choose the functionality of a sewing machine for your needs?

The first step in choosing an overlock sewing machine is to understand what tasks you plan to use it for. This will determine what level of equipment you need, whether the purchase of an expensive sewing machine with advanced capabilities or enough to buy a simple model that performs a few basic operations.

The machine with a basic set of functions is suitable if you plan to use it to do simple operations: hemming towels, curtains, repair clothes or sew simple models of easy-to-handle materials.

The multifunctional machine is capable of many different ideas. It can be used in sewing elementary things, as well as in creating complex styles. On this model you can choose different settings, taking into account the density and complexity of the material, to perform a large number of stitches – functional and decorative.

2. Control

What type of control to choose?

Sewing machines come with electromechanical and electronic control. Both have the right to be the best in each situation.

Electromechanical control. The choice of programs and stitch settings are made with the help of wheels and levers. Inside the body – the mechanics, which is driven by an electric motor. Everything is clear and proven over the years. The advantages of electromechanical machines: the low price, ease of use, inexpensive repairs. Disadvantages: little functionality compared to computer machines. But laid down a set of sewing operations is often enough for use in everyday life.

Electronic (computer) control. Such models have on their front panel digital display, and inside – the computer board responsible for the entire process. The amount of memory depends on the number of sewing operations that are available to the owner of the machine. As a rule, it is simple and knitted, overlock and decorative stitches, different types of buttonholes. The advantages of computer typewriters: great opportunities for sewing, the accuracy of settings. They are reliable and also long-lasting, but they must be treated with care when transporting them. Repair is usually more expensive than fixing mechanical machines.

3. Number of operations

How many stitches will you need?

Most often a few stitches are in use: straight and zigzag (simple and reinforced), overlock and knit stitch, double knit, some overcasting and for invisible hemming. This is a basic set, which is enough for sewing a large range of products.

In more expensive models there are several automatic buttonholes and a variety of decorative stitches. They are not always needed, and are often used only once – on the day of purchase of the machine, when you want to see and try everything. The choice depends a lot on what you plan to sew: embroidered patterns look good on home textiles, on dresses for little girls, and for sewing men’s sportswear will probably not be needed.

4. Shuttle mechanism

Which type of hook is better?

The shuttle is the heart of a sewing machine, and you have to choose it correctly. Machines are available with three types of shuttles: vertical rocking, horizontal, vertical rotary.

Vertical swing. Most often found in budget models, but this does not mean that it is not good enough. Reliable and durable, the shuttle allows you to work with threads and fabrics of different thicknesses. But it does not let you sew at high speeds and is a little noisy in operation.

Horizontal – is on most household machines with overlock. The easiest of all – the bobbin is inserted into it without a cap, and the lower thread is tucked into a couple of seconds. Thread should be thin (or medium thickness) and smooth – rough ones can ruin the mechanism. Canoe works quietly, allows you to stitch at different speeds, but it is difficult to sew very thick fabrics. But for thin and delicate fabrics it is the best option. Another advantage of the shuttle system is the viewing window, through which you can see how much thread is left on the bobbin and whether it will run out in the middle of the stitching.

Vertical rotary – the most serious device, which is installed in industrial and expensive household machines. Suitable for heavy loads, working with any kind of fabric, gives a large range of widths and stitch lengths. With it is easy to tuck the lower thread, take the maximum sewing speed and keep quiet in the room. With the full range of advantages, the rotary vertical shuttle has a significant disadvantage – it is only on expensive models.

5. Machine settings

What settings are needed for beautiful and quality stitching?

A smooth stitch without loops and skips is ensured by the correct settings and various design elements.

The toothed rack is involved in feeding the fabric, gently hooking and pushing the material under the needle. The wider the bar and the more teeth on it, the better the feed. For quilting, it is important to be able to lower the bottom feeder and turn the fabric in the desired direction. There are models with an upper and a lower toothed rail. A double feeder makes it easier to move a multilayer “cake” without shifting the layers.

The presser foot pressure regulator also lets you adjust for thicker fabrics and more layers. The even, smooth progression of the fabric works for the quality of the stitching.

The stitch width and stitch length can be adjusted in various ranges. As a rule, the maximum stitch length is 4-6 mm, stitch width is 5-7 mm

6. The price of a sewing machine

When is a high price justified, and when you can not overpay?

Often models of Chinese assembly are cheaper than, for example, machines of Japanese assembly. Some buyers are wary of buying equipment from the Celestial Empire, but in vain. Most reputable manufacturers move their plants there to reduce the cost and the final price of sewing machines. At the same time, quality control of products remains strict in order to maintain their position in the market.

Expensive models, as a rule, have a large number of stitches and additional functions. Such a purchase is unlikely to justify itself if you plan to sew little and only simple things. But if you like imagination, decorate things with patterns or initials, sew a lot and a variety of models – it makes sense to spend on an advanced model.

To choose the right sewing machine with overlock for the home, you need to be guided by the necessary in your case functionality and reputation of the brand. And do not be afraid of the low price tag and the inscription “Made in China” – not necessarily such a model will be of poor quality.

7. Sewing buttonholes

Automatic, semi-automatic and manual – which buttonholes are better to choose?

All modern overlock sewing machines can sew buttonholes. Different models do it in automatic, semi-automatic or manual formats.

Automatic buttonholes. The machine buttonholes according to preset parameters without much involvement of the seamstress. To do this, a buttonhole is inserted into a special foot, which is usually included in the package, and the buttonhole is knocked out by its size. It remains only to select the type of buttonhole and run the machine, and it already determines its optimal length. This mode is the most convenient, but is implemented, as a rule, in expensive models.

Semi-automatic buttonholes. For such buttonholes, slightly different feet are used, which also come in a set. Semi-automatic buttonholes require the participation of the seamstress, but the whole process can be kept under control. If the need arises, you can stop and correct the material.

Manual buttonholes. With manual buttonhole sewing, the user is in control of the buttonhole marking because the machine itself simply sews a zigzag stitch. This is quite labor-intensive, but models with manual buttonholes are cheaper than others.

8. Additional features

Needle threader, ruler and other useful details

Most sewing machines with overlock are equipped with minor, but very useful details. They are a joy to buy and make it easier to work with the product.

The automatic threader helps you easily thread the needle. Very convenient, especially for people with impaired vision. A little nuance: when using a double knitting needle threading is done manually.

The marking on the needle plate allows you to make even stitches, observing the right width allowances.

The sleeve platform makes it easy to work with sleeves, pants and get to hard-to-reach places. Part of the body of the machine, usually the accessory drawer, is removed, leaving a narrow working part. This feature is available in almost all machines, but it will not be superfluous to clarify this point.

Adjusting the sewing speed. Also a popular option, but it is not in all models of machines. It is designed to adjust the speed not by force of the pedal, but with a lever or button. Convenient for beginners or where you need to be particularly careful to pass a difficult area.

9. Accessories

Availability of additional parts in the kit and on sale

The standard package usually includes several legs, bobbins, tools for servicing the machine. Usually these are foot for straight stitch and zigzag, for overcasting stitches, zipper insertion, buttonholes. In the more complete models have a varnish for decorative stitches, hemming, bias stitching and others.

If you liked the machine with overlock, which is not complete enough, ask if you can buy a foot separately. As a rule, well-known brands offer a full range of accessories, from extra legs to attachment tables.

10. Top Manufacturers

Sewing machine with overlock which brand is better?

One of the key points of choice when buying sewing equipment is the brand name. The most popular among buyers of household machines with overlock are brands Janome, Brother, Singer.

Manufacturers have been developing and producing various types of sewing equipment for over 100 years. Today, the range of each of them includes more than 100 models of household machines. They are reliable, functional and easy to get additional accessories.

The Best Sewing Machines – We propose to get acquainted with the list of good, quality sewing machines. These are models that can greatly facilitate the work and expand the possibilities of the seamstress.


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