Learn something new – mastering my overlocker

February 1, 2015

One of the challenges I have set myself this year is to learn new skills and try new craft techniques.

I am rather ashamed to say I have a brand new overlocker sat in its box for several months. To be honest it rather terrifies me, four threads, two needles, lots of knobs, a blade which cuts the fabric as you sew… Somehow it feels very different to my normal sewing machine.


This is particularly difficult to admit due to the story behind it’s purchase. Last autumn a facebook craft page lit up with conversations re Lidl’s special offer on overlockers, specifically which stores had any left by midday. The tot wondered quite why we changed shop for our groceries that day, but to no avail. But then this kind lady I have never met offered to pop to her Lidl and buy one for me, I could refund her once she had purchased it. The kindness of strangers can be quite overwhelming at times.

singer overlocker

So this month my challenge was to get this what by now felt like a monster out of its box, learn how to thread it and make something, anything!!

I have enlisted assistance, purchasing my first course from Craftsy “Beginner Serging“. Having not used an online sewing course before I appreciate the fact that you can revisit the video lessons as many times as you like, their are downloadable course materials, plus you can ask advice. I could not be more impressed, even though I am only on lesson number three. I particularly like the idea of keeping a record of samples with the tension, stitch width etc for each  sample. Time consuming initially this is going to save so much time in future. I am looking forward to moving beyond this step and completing the course – learning to sew a box bag with zip.

Practising the tension

Practising tension

I have also invested in the book “The Overlocker Technique Manual”, which I am also finding incredibly helpful. In  particular photographs of stitching with the wrong tension with suggestions of how to fix it.




What’s more I have sewn two items:) Starting with an infinity scarf I followed this fab tutorial over at Serger Pepper. It’s a great quick project to start sewing knits, what’s more I could use some of my stash of old t shirts just waiting to be upcycled.

Upcycle tshirt infinity scarf

Secondly I have sewn up a Uptown/Downtown dress for my daughter – although I suspect I will be making the next size up very soon! The eagled eyed amongst you will remember I have sewn this pattern up before. The knit fabric comes from a stall on Norwich Market, its great to support local business. I am amazed how quickly the dress sews up with an overlocker, its so quick:)

Uptowndowntown dress


The overlocker remains a steep learning curve, the tension continues to regularly defeat challenge me.

This month I am joining  up with a try something new blog hop organized by Swoodson Says. I am looking forward to seeing what everyone else has tried for the first time this January.


See what other bloggers tried this month!

Rebecca at Hugs are Fun – Sashiko Embroidery

Kristy at Simply This Life – Knit Latvian Braid

Crystal at Stitched By Crystal – Wood Burning

Vicky at Vicky Myers Creations – Using a Serger/Overlocker

Kelly at Just Another Project – Sewing with Piping





28 comments so far.

28 responses to “Learn something new – mastering my overlocker”

  1. I don’t know where you find the time. The dress is great. As for the over locker….good luck!

    • Vicky says:

      I suspect the dress took no longer than you making leggings:) The overlocker sews really quickly, once the tension is right:)

  2. Lucy Blossom says:

    Well done for trying something new. I often want to have a go at something and then spend a long time putting off trying it, it’s so easy for us crafters to get anxious because we’re such perfectionists.

  3. Emma says:

    I’m going to start sewing with knits soon so was interested to read this. Those lidls deals are amazing! X

  4. Suze Bain says:

    Oh it does look rather complicated but with a bit of practice and perseverance I’m sure you’ll master it! Your daughters dress looks lovely. Xx

    • Vicky says:

      Thanks Suze, it is a little tight! She has a friend who I’m sure it will fit perfectly, and she has agreed opt part with it as soon as I have made the next size up!!

  5. Well done you for taking the plunge, i’m sure it will be an invaluable bit of kit soon and you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it 🙂 How lovely of that lady to help you to buy it, there are some truly beautiful people out there! x

    • Vicky says:

      There really are some kind people out there:) Have to admit taking the plunge was distinctly helped by signing up for trying something new – I was committed to a blog post on the subject!!!

  6. Jill says:

    Good for you Vcky! Love your new scarf and that dress. I don’t use my overlocker nearly enough – and there are so many possiblities with it too! I shall be watching with interest what you make with yours!

  7. Julie says:

    Oo and overlocker, you lucky thing – it’s on my one day wish list! Now I can’t help but think of them as overlords though, after what Claudia called them on last years sewing bee!

    • Vicky says:

      I did debate a bit before buying one, second versus new, quality etc.. but in the end it was an impulse decision when the offer was on (and enough money in my paypal account!)

  8. Caroline says:

    Oh dear, you and me both. Mine is sitting on it’s own table and never switched it on. That book looks god though, you have inspired me to have a go

  9. Ginny says:

    The dress is very stylish. I love the fact it is not too fussy. Occasionally as I neaten my seams with a zigzag stitch I dream of an overlocker.

  10. Gertie says:

    Your daughters dress is gorgeous. I love the colour.

    I’ve had an overlocker for over 20 years and I still have a love/hate relationship with it. My previous one was called Kevin (after Kevin the teenager) as it was SO temperamental !!!! However when it died on me I missed it so much.

    I’ll dig out some stuff regarding overlockers which might be of help. Stick with it, they’re not as scary as they look xx

  11. Agy says:

    Wow, it’s really nice of the lady to let you return it if you didn’t like it. The overlocker does look daunting, but I heard it does great wonders with jersey material!

  12. Crystal says:

    That dress is great! I couldn’t live without my serger now, but even after having it a few years I still get a little anxious about changing the tensions!

  13. Stephanie says:

    Your scarf looks great! I hope your tension issues resolve and you grow to love your serger 🙂

  14. I’m sure your overlocker can’t believe to finally be able to see the light! You did great and I hope that, now that you tried it, you won’t stop using it! Make a new goal: try one new stitch each week! You’ll be the Serger Queen in no time, promised!

  15. Jan @ Handcrafted by Picto says:

    Oooo it looks to scary for me. I do a little bit of sewing but not enough to use one. It’s great that you can tackle it and I’m sure with determination and practice you will tame it.

  16. Rebecca says:

    I have a terrible habit of getting supplies and then being too nervous to use them! It’s especially daunting with bigger things that have a steep learning curve! I’ve had a weaving loom for months that I’ve been too nervous to try and I did the same thing as you, I got a Craftsy class!

    I look forward to seeing what else you make as you get the overlocker figured out! That scarf and dress look great!

  17. Kelly J says:

    Sergers do have a steep learning curve like you said-for the first year I used mine my husband had to repair it everytime I tried to change the tension-but now that I’ve gotten the hang of it I love it! Your first projects turned out great!

  18. Kristy says:

    Yay, sergers! I have one, but only use it for basic straight lights. I’ve yet to master all that it’s capable of 🙂 Nice work!

  19. Olu says:

    I’m intimidated by overlockers. I want one, but I’m scared of them at the same time.

  20. Jojo Sewist says:

    I am very late to your party, but didnt find the help looking for. However enjoyed anyway. My same serger has sat in the box for 4yrs. People wishing for one made me feel guilty, I just took it out of the box. It came with a decent video, but didnot show how to change the presser feet. I know that shd not keep me from learning to use what is on machine. I cant take a Craftsy class due to yucky internet service where I live. I do hope you have learned and upgraded machines by now. I will check out more of your posts and back to the You Tube. I live in the deep south, USA.

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A passion for sewing, upcycling and caring for the environment - the perfect excuse to haunt charity shops for bargains!

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