What Is An Overlocker Sewing Machine

Talking about an overlocker sewing machine, do you need an article that best explains what an overlocker sewing machine is? Then, you are on the right track, as this “what is an overlocker sewing machine” article will help do that.

This article will discuss in detail the basics and everything that concerns an overlocker sewing machine in sections. The first section will be an overview of the topic, where you will get to know the meaning.

As we advance, I will state how the overlocker sewing machine works in the next section. And then, the features, components, or attributes of the overlocker sewing machine will be highlighted afterward.

Furthermore, the various benefits and setbacks of this type of sewing machine will be discussed in detail, after which I will give my recommendations.

However, my recommendation will be a selection of the 5 best overlocker sewing machines with their specs and comparison. Moreover, this information will be represented in a tabular form.

In the subsequent section, I will attend to some frequently asked questions by providing suitable answers to them. Also, there is every tendency to answer your intending questions too.

And on the last note, I will give a wrap-up where my final thought will be expressed to you. Therefore, to get all the vital info, sit back and relax while I take you through the article.

Overlocker Sewing Machine; An Overview

It is important to have this understanding that an overlocker is a type of sewing machine and not a sewing machine itself. It is suitable for adding more details to your fabrics.

Also, note that the overlocker sewing machine is otherwise known as a serger machine. However, this depends on the person or region talking about the machine.

More so, the Europeans refer to it as an overlocker, while the term serger is used stateside. Regardless of this fact, they are usually interchangeable.

An overlocker is a type of sewing machine that uses multiple threads to produce professionally finished seams while overcasting to cover raw edges. It is a special-purpose machine for seams like the ones found on ready-to-wear dresses.

Even more, an overlocker uses loopers and needle threads to form an overlocking stitch, unlike the conventional sewing machine that uses a bobbin and top thread.

Additionally, the overlocker uses between 2 to 12 threads to hold the raw edge of the fabric with an overcast stitch and trim the seam allowance away simultaneously.

Furthermore, it can be used for construction, finishing, or even both simultaneously. Moving on, the overlocker is easy to operate, more economical, and more creative in its stitch capabilities.

How It Works

The overlock machine is best for sewing items like draperies, placemats, sportswear, and napkins. Also, it is time-saving and gives a lasting finish.

More so, it can be used to sew ribbon and stitch decorative edges on clothes or fabric. Even more, the overlocker has loopers that can be changed to accommodate all kinds of threads.

In addition, it can create different stitches that require both over and under-thread locking stitches. They are used in producing three-dimensional textiles for garments and home furnishings.

Furthermore, it is used for finishing garment seams, decorative seaming, topstitching applications, hemming, and seam finishing. However, all these are from simple twin needles to more specialized needle interlocking chain stitches.

Also, an overlocker does not replace a sewing machine. Instead, it cleans the finished raw edge and gives it a professional appearance.

Going forward, many overlocking stitches have a built-in stretch that makes them perfect for seaming knit fabrics. In addition, the loopers have larger eyes than the eyes of sewing needles; thus, they can accommodate decorative threads.

An overlocker trims the seam and encloses the seam allowance or the edge of the fabric inside a thread casing in one step. Moreover, the options on all serger machines are not the same.

Even more, sergers are available in different thread options. The number of threads you use will determine the kind of stitch you will create.

Hence, the more you spend, the more options you get. Below is the threading level of the overlocker:

2-4 Thread Serger

This overlocker has the capability of a two-thread overlocked edge and a safety stitch. It uses two threads on each operation, and it can be used to create a separate stitch for each.

3-4 Thread Serger

It can work with three or four threads and gives you a seam with some stretch capabilities. However, a four-thread seam will give you a wider and stronger seam.

Also, this machine has a rolled hem capability when you change the throat plate. For this feature, the machine will roll the edge of the fabric to the underside and enclose the edge with a thread.

However, this thread seam is also referred to as a “mock safety stitch. This is because it has the strength of a seam made with a safety stitch.

5-thread Serger

It is the most expensive in the overlocker range, but it has all the capabilities you could want. Also, it uses three threads on the overlocked edge and two threads for the straight seam line.

Hence, it is the machine used for ready-to-wear garments. It has an overlocked edge with a straight seam that has a chain stitch.

This overlocker machine helps you avoid the stress of having to switch between machines for strong seam and seam finish.

Overlocker Sewing Machine; Features

The overlocker sewing machine has some basic features that you need to consider when choosing one for yourself. However, in this section of the article, I will explain some of these features to you.

Threading Ease

Sewing becomes very frustrating when a machine is too difficult to use. Also, many difficulties that come with the usage of the machine are from the threading.

Hence, I recommend that you check the ease of threading and even re-threading before buying any machine. Ensure you understand how to thread the lower looper as it is usually the most difficult thing to do.

Even so, you can pull the thread through without re-threading it completely. Moreover, most overlockers have color-coded thread paths and lay-in threading.

Ease Of Conversion

Ensure to know how the machine converts from a standard overlocker stitch to a rolled hem or chain stitch. Sometimes, it has to do with disengaging a thread path or adding a conversion plate, or perhaps a button/dial.

Differential Feed

This feature helps you adjust the movement of the feed dogs and how the fabric feeds. This is in cases of eliminating puckers, stretching, and ripples in seams.

More so, you can adjust it to gather the fabric for a particular style or pattern.

LCD Screen

This is a feature that is usually on more expensive machines. It helps the display panel indicate the machine adjustment information for all the different stitches.

Overlocker Sewing Machine; Benefits And Drawbacks

In this section, I will be discussing some of the benefits and drawbacks of using an overlocker machine. However, I will first discuss the benefits before I then proceed to the drawbacks.


Below are some of the benefits of an overlocker machine:

  • It has a rolled hem function that gives you a nice finish edge on your garment.
  • Also, it reduces the amount of work needed to make your finished item.
  • Even so, it gives you the ability to achieve different fancy hems and edges.
  • More so, it stitches a double row of straight stitches and a neat raw edge at the same time.
  • Furthermore, it gives your sewing project a professional-looking finish.
  • In addition, it trims the fabric to match the overlooked edge; hence, there is no visible raw edge.
  • Going forward, it creates an overlock stitch on the edges and trims excess allowance at the go.
  • Even more, it is perfect for stitching stretchy fabrics.
  • Likewise, it is excellent for attaching elastic.
  • Finally, it saves you a lot of time.


The major drawbacks of an overlocker sewing machine are:

  • First, it is an entirely new skill that you will acquire.
  • More so, it is another expensive appliance when you already have a conventional sewing machine.
  • Even more, it is not a “do-it-all” sewing machine. Hence, you still need to get a regular sewing machine for topstitching, zippers, or inserting button holes.
  • Also, learning to thread the machine can be tricky. However, it gets easier with time and constant practice.
  • Furthermore, there is a high tendency for fatal mistakes. This is because the overlocker trims the edge of your garment as you sew.

Overlocker Sewing Machine; My Recommendations

ProductsDimensionWeightPower SourceThread CapacityBrand
SINGER | Professional 14T968DC Serger Overlock11 x 12.5 x 14
Corded Electric2-3-4-5 thread SINGER
JUKI MO654DE Portable Thread Serger Sewing Machine10.6 x 13.6 x 11.6 inches15.18 PoundsTreadle Powered2-3-4 thread JUKI
SINGER | ProFinish 14CG754 2-3-4 Thread Serger14 x 11 x 11.5
Corded Electric2-3-4 thread SINGER
SINGER | Heavy Duty Serger Overlock Machine15 x 12.8 x 12.4
15.92 PoundsN/A2-3-4 thread SINGER
SINGER | S0230 Serger Overlock Machine15.25 x 14.5 x 13.5 inches17.01 PoundsN/A4 ThreadSINGER

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you use an overlocker as a normal sewing machine?

No, you can’t.
An overlocker cannot be used to replace a regular sewing machine. Instead, it can give a fabric a clean finish and raw edge, giving the fabric a professional look.

2. What is the difference between a serger and an overlock?

There is no difference between this two.
A serger and an overlocker are different names for the same purpose machine.
However, Americans call it a serger, while every other person calls it an overlocker.
Although, a serger does overlocking stitch. And this stitch is more like knitting instead of sewing.

3. What can I make with an overlocker?

With the overlocker sewing machine, you can:
Insert elastic into clothing.
Finish hem and facing edges with the cover stitch.
The seam on knits is more quickly than with a sewing machine.
Gather or add ruffles to garments or home decor items.
Seam finishing.
Make swimwear, lingerie, table runners, etc.

4. Can you sew seams with an overlocker?

Yes, you can.
It is very simple to sew a seam on an overlocker. However, to sew a seam, fold a scrap of the same fabric you will be using to make the garment into half to get a double thickness you will work with.

5. Can you hem on an overlocker?

Yes, you can. However, it is only a rolled hem stitch.
With two or three threads, you can sew a rolled hem stitch. Although, it depends on the model of your overlocker.
More so, the rolled hemming is suitable for lightweight fabrics. Also, check your instruction manual first to confirm if the rolled hem stitch can be sewn with your overlocker.

6. Is it worth buying a serger?

A serger is very helpful when you are sewing with woven -non-stretchy fabric. It will help you finish the raw edges and prevent fraying.
However, it is not necessarily a durable way to sew the seam. Hence, the ideal way is to sew the seams with a sewing machine first.

7. How do I choose an overlocker?

The following are the features you should consider before buying an overlocker:
Adjustable stitch length.
Differential feed.
The number of threads.
Free arm for sewing sleeves and many more.
Adjustable pressure foot for different fabric thicknesses.
The retractable knife.

8. What is the difference between a serger and a sewing machine?

The major difference among them is that a serger uses an overlock stitch, while most sewing machines use a lock stitch, and some use a chain stitch.
Also, sergers use three or more threads and do not have multiple stitch options.

9. Do overlockers use bobbins?

No, it doesn’t.
Instead, it has a curring blade, “loopers,” and multiple needles.

10. Can you quilt with a serger?

Yes, you can.
In fact, a serger is a wonderful machine for piecing a quilt. Also, it is very fast and easy to piece a quilt with a serger, regardless of the number of threads you are using.
However, you need to take your time to get used to it, as it is different from a sewing machine.

My Final Thought

As a seamstress or tailor, it is necessary for you to create a professionally-looking garment for your clients.

This will enable them to trust your work more and give them the confidence to always count on you.

Hence, the need for an overlocker is essential, as it is your guarantee for providing the perfect finish touch on fabrics.

Also, the overlocker’s easy-to-operate ability will further give you an head over your colleagues.

Even more, it provides a unique touch of professionalism and helps you work on a large project easily.

In addition, this article has covered so many grounds on all you need to know about an overlocker.

Starting from the meaning, how it works, features, pros and cons, and even went as far as answering some frequently asked questions.

This, together with the recommendation, must have given you an edge in selecting the best overlocker if the need be.

Furthermore, the recommendation will also help you know the available range of an overlocker and the products that are good to buy.

In addition, one most important point that I am pleased about is that you have learned that the overlocker is not a “Know All” appliance.

Hence, do not give it tasks that are meant for the conventional sewing machine.

However, your suggestions and comments are all welcomed. To share your thought about this article, please fill in the comment section found towards the end of this article.

You might also want to read other articles from our website, then visit the pages below:

What Is The Best Italian Coffee Maker

5 Best Garage Door Opener

What Is A Solar Thermal System

Agboola Mary Gbemisola
Agboola Mary Gbemisola is a Technical Writer for PowerVersity.com. She has a B.Sc in Mass Communication and Journalism. Mary loves Cooking, Playing games, and involving in educational talks. In PowerVersity.com, she writes product best picks, buying guides, and product comparisons.
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