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Arts & crafts

Overlocker woes

(22 Posts)
Grandmagrim Mon 08-Nov-21 09:25:29

Overlocker s are marvellous machines -when they work- unfortunately they also seem to be very temperamental.
Do any of the gransnetters use an overlocker?
Having had a nightmare day yesterday with breaking needles, I suspect the timing of my frister rossman is now out of kilter has anyone fixed their own? Any tips?

grannysyb Mon 08-Nov-21 10:38:29

They are very tricky things! I broke a needle on mine in the summer, couldn't get the new one in, so I took it to the shop where they service them. He popped the needle in straight away! Think that this is probably your only option, hope you have someone local.

ayse Mon 08-Nov-21 10:44:53

I have a love hate relationship with mine. If a thread breaks is a pain in the ….. to re thread. One tine thing wrong and it gives up. When it’s working it’s wonderful!

I’d take it to get it looked at as well as they are very temperamental.

ayse Mon 08-Nov-21 10:45:08


Grandmagrim Mon 08-Nov-21 11:28:40

Thank you ladies. I’m resigning myself to the repair shop option.

Visgir1 Mon 08-Nov-21 13:27:51

I have one, and tbh it's still a total mystery to me! Always wanted one, got one for my Birthday about 5 years ago but Threading it????
And getting it to do what I want, nope fools me every time.

Grandmagrim Mon 08-Nov-21 15:45:18


I have one, and tbh it's still a total mystery to me! Always wanted one, got one for my Birthday about 5 years ago but Threading it????
And getting it to do what I want, nope fools me every time.

I’m ok with threading tbh I’ve done it so many times now that it’s becoming muscle memory. One of my tension dials seems to be playing up a bit (rt needle) but I can’t see why. If nothing else my machine is now super clean 🤣

JackyB Mon 08-Nov-21 15:47:35

I haven't broken any needle or thread but I can't for the life of me get the tension right. I have tried tightening and loosening all four tension wheels but the stitches don't bear any resemblance to the diagrams in the instructions so I don't even know which one to adjust to stop it making loops at the top of the work.

MerylStreep Mon 08-Nov-21 15:54:23

I gave mine to my granddaughter who’s taken up dress making.
I suppose if I’d used it more I might have got better at the threading.

Grandmagrim Mon 08-Nov-21 18:10:18

I hesitate to jinx myself but I think I’m making progress with the beast

Barmeyoldbat Mon 08-Nov-21 18:18:09

I have one, even went on a 2 day course at Denman College, wonderful course and I learnt a great deal. BUT once home I find I just can’t thread it, even followed instructions on how to do on the internet, but still find it hard. Love it when I can use and I am going to have another go.

Magnolia62 Mon 08-Nov-21 20:19:06

My sister gave me hers a few years ago as she never used it. I played with it for a while and then left it in the cupboard for a few years. With the arrival of my granddaughter, I got it out a couple of years ago and had it serviced. Obviously the tension knobs were all set correctly and I made a note of which numbers they were set at. Just as well as I found one knob kept slipping. I have now sellotaped it in place.

It is getting plenty of use. All set up ready to use in another room next to my sewing machine. I have starting making children’s garments with stretch material.. So easy to get a neat finish when neatening seam edges. Mind you, I have not experimented with the differential feed stuff. Maybe I don’t need it?

One tip, always use stretch needles I was told. Replacing needles is a pain I find but with care should only rarely need doing rarely.

It certainly saves time, neatening seams and trimming edges. Glad I decided to dig it out and try again.

JaneJudge Mon 08-Nov-21 20:21:58

make sure you blow out the excess fibre in the machine with whatever you have to hand, anything tht blows air is fine

ayse Mon 08-Nov-21 20:29:25

I bought a beginners book for overlockers that was a great help in explaining the tension problems. I managed to fix my daughter’s over locker but as I said upthread I just loathe threading it.

Dillyduck Wed 01-Dec-21 23:56:06

You MUST thread the machine in the right order. Check with the manual. For years mine annoyed me and seemed temperamental, then I realised that with an over locker you do NOT lift the foot after sewing a seam. Leave the foot down! Keep sewing the chain, then cut the chain. Then feed the next piece to be sewn under the foot when it's DOWN. For anyone used to a normal machine, where you put the foot up and down to put the work in and out, it's vital not to do this with an over locker.

lizzypopbottle Mon 10-Jan-22 18:03:20

My maxim: "if in doubt, change the needles!" My problems are usually fixed like that. Check in the handbook for the correct needle size and buy a decent brand. The handbook will have a table showing tensions for various overlocks e.g. three or four thread, rolled them etc. My machine is an entry level Janome 9300DX and it does everything I need. I refer to the handbook a lot. The pictured book has proved useful too:

lizzypopbottle Mon 10-Jan-22 18:04:03

Rolled hem....

karmalady Tue 18-Jan-22 08:15:26

I have used an overlocker for many years, babylock. The door came loose but the mini switch still works, so I still use it for the rough stuff. It is destined for a dgd together with a replacement door. I treated myself to a wonderful new modern babylock

I maintain my overlockers myself and after each and every session I clean it by using tiny tools on my vacuum cleaner, always but always sucking lint out, never blowing into the machine. I use dental floss to clean in the tensioners and then a quick wipe down to remove surface dust. A cotton bud is very useful to gently remove fluff from the inards before vacuuming. I never need to adjust tension as it is automatic but I suggest starting all tensioners on the suggested mark and only ever adjusting one at a time

You should look up how to oil your machine, I never need to oil mine as it has self `oiling` parts. Every so often I do remove the feed dog and vacuum under there and I very regularly replace the needles for new, I always use schmetz or organ needles and wrt thread, never the cheap thread, only the best overlocker thread to avoid the minute filaments that can clog a machine

Magnolia, differential feed is amazing, use it to avoid knit fabric stretching and also to go around a circle to enable very neat hemming. I also use my differential to enable me to set in a sleeve without any danger of wrinkles on the sleeve cap. All different settings

karmalady Tue 18-Jan-22 08:18:26

Barmeyoldbat, re threading, leave lengths of thread and tie the new threads on with small neat knots. You can then pull the new threads through

Nannarose Tue 18-Jan-22 11:10:42

Yes indeed, karmalady, that's mostly what I do. However, I follow the instructions in the booklet if I need to re-thread from scratch (I can't manage instruction videos)
I also agree about changing needles and using good thread - although as OP's needles are breaking I am sure she is right about the timing and does need an engineer to look at it.

I think with any appliance, the more complex, the more likely it is to break down. So I treat my overlocker carefully, and clean it as karmalady says. I find that an old baby's hairbrush is useful. I also think that overlockers tend to clog more than ordinary machines, mostly because they cut, but also the type of fabric you use.

But sadly, OP, I think if you have tried all of these suggestions and they don't work, you will have to get it 'looked at' - the upside is that it ill come back (I hope) in perfect order!

Nannarose Tue 18-Jan-22 11:11:28

Old hairbrush of course, not old baby!

sf101 Tue 18-Jan-22 12:06:39

I bought an overlocker about 10 years ago, at first it terrified me and I was scared to use it. Over time I got used to it and find it so useful. It has a very easy colour coded threading system and mine does not need to be threaded in any particular order and it has an air system where you press a button and the lower threads shoot through and out the other side.