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What is an Overlocker Sewing Machine?

In olden days, overlocker sewing machines were the ones available for commercial use. The machines were huge in nature. It seemed impractical for any homeowner to have them, let alone just use them to sew. They were also extremely heavy. 

The good thing is that as the industry has continued to evolve, so have these overlocker sewing machines. The overlocker machines we have now are quality with wonderful assortments. They come in different prices that are made suitable for different homeowners. 

The difference between an overlocker sewing machine and the normal conventional sewing machines is the fact that the overlocker works with loopers and needles to form overlocking stitches. The usual sewing machines form their stitches with a bobbin and top thread. 

What Is An Overlocker Machine?

This is also referred to as a serger and is a machine used to professionally produce seams. The seams are the exact ones found on garments that are ready to wear. The overlocker sewing machine uses close to a dozen threads which assists in making overcast stitches over the fabrics. 

Overlock sewing machines have loopers They help the garment from fraying by looping the threads on the pieces of fabric. The overlock sewing machine also comes with a blade. The blades help to trim while the machine continues to stitch. 

The overlock is an absolute choice if you have a lot of stitching to do. It not only makes the process easier and seamless, it also helps you save time. 

What Does An Overlocker Sewing Machine Do?

A serger is designed to do a lot more sewing than the usual sewing machine. It can do so much in a single step when compared to the normal sewing machine. Sewing machines are designed to perform a number of functions. The main specialty of the overlocker is to edge and create seams using overlocks. Sewing machines, on the other hand, perform functions such as creating button holes, decorative stitching and sewing zippers. 

modern overlocker
Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels

This machine shares a few similarities with the normal sewing machines. These similarities include:

  • Both machines have the ability to do neat piping
  • The machines can both do fabric gathering
  • The machines can both perform narrow hemming

The overlocker sewing machine is known to perform neat stitches very well. It however cannot take all the tasks of a regular sewing machine. Its features are only a little advanced. 

You will always need a sewing machine for functions like top stitching, zippers, buttonholes and facings. 

Factors To Consider Before Buying An Overlocker Sewing Machine

There are a few things that you need to keep in mind before making a purchase. The factors below will help you decide if it is necessary to get the overlocker sewing machine. 

  1. If you are just learning to sew, it is important you consider getting a regular sewing machine first. This will help you with all the basics you need to know before opting for the overlocker sewing machine. 
  2. If you have so many sewing projects to complete, it would save you a lot of time and money if you opted for the overlocker sewing machine. It makes work easier and helps you handle a number of tasks in just one step. 
  3. If your intent is to get professional edges and finishes, the go to machine is an overlocker. 

Purchasing a machine depends on what overlocks you are looking for. There are those that a regular sewing machine can do while others will need you to upgrade to an overlocker sewing machine. If you’ve considered buying one, these are two options we believe are worth checking out:

Bernette 44 Overlocker
Image Source: Amazon
brother serger overlocker machine
Image Source: Amazon

When Should You Use An Overlocker Sewing Machine?

As initially mentioned, the kind of machine you are looking to purchase and use depends on the quality of work that you are hoping to achieve. Below are a few instances where you need to use an overlocker and not another sewing machine:

  1. If you have been in the sewing industry for a long time and often get a lot of sewing projects, you will need an overlocker sewing machine. Such projects entail a lot of stitching, edging and faster seaming. You need to complete these tasks in a short time. 
  2. Some materials have unnecessary fabrics that often interfere with the stitching process. A sewing machine in most cases is not enabled to eliminate this fabric. Any attempts made to use a sewing machine will ruin the entire fabric. Therefore, use an overlocker sewing machine to complete such tasks. 
  3. There are clients whose end goal is a fabric that is neatly stitched on  fabric that is unique and long lasting. Most sewing machines are used for stitching and repairs such as tears, if you are looking for quality and a professional look, you need to use an overlocker sewing machine. 
  4. Any sewing project that involves the hemming of pants will require that you use an overlocker sewing machine. 

The Differences Between A Sewing Machine And An Overlocker Sewing Machine

  1. An overlock sewing machine performs the sewing tasks within minutes. It produces quality work in half the period that the same work can be produced using a regular sewing machine. 
  2. An overlocker sewing machine has a shorter neck when compared to the usual sewing machine. 
  3. While a sewing machine needs only two cones of thread to complete a sewing task, the overlocker sewing machine might need dozens of threads. 
  4. An overlocker sewing machine is designed to do tons of work as compared to a regular sewing machine. Its functionality reduces the excess seaming and fabrics binding. 
  5. Sewing machines allow side sewing which makes them more flexible than the overlocker sewing machine. 
  6. Both the regular sewing machine and the overlocker are designed to make decorative stitches. However, the difference between the decorative stitches made using the overlocker are simpler when compared to those of the regular sewing machine. 
  7. With a sewing machine, you can begin the sewing task from any side of the fabric. This is limiting for the overlocker machine as you can only begin to do the stitching from the left side of the fabric. 

When Should You Use A Regular Sewing Machine Instead Of The Overlocker?

So you’re creating t-shirts, or you’ve decided on a sewing project. Which do you choose? The regular sewing machine came into being way before the overlocker did. In fact, most sewing professionals are conversant with the machine. You will find it available in many homes as well as in textile and clothing industries. This machine helps you learn all the sewing basics. 

If your sewing work involves a lot of zipping, topstitching, creating decorative stitches for buttonholes, the regular sewing machine performs these tasks best. 

The overlock machine cannot perform these tasks. When looking to perform tasks like edging and seaming, there are machines available for the same. All they need is an additional feature. The overlock machine can get extremely pricey and tamper with your budget. 


Both the regular sewing machine and the overlocker machine work well when put together. However, there are tasks in sewing that only the overlocker machine is able to accomplish. Instead of struggling so much with a sewing machine that may jeopardize the quality of your stitching work in the long run, you can invest in an overlocker machine. This machine guarantees you speed when handling a bulk of stitching tasks. You also realize that the stitching is neat especially on the seams and edges. You are assured that the end result will be a neat and quality stitched fabric. 

Some clients will approach you with the request to deliver stitches on a piece of fabric within a short period. To ensure this is done and deliver what the client is looking for, consider using the overlocker machine.

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