But you've always claimed to hate overlockers. Why did you get one?
True. And I still hate the idea of upselling a tool to someone who won't make good use of it. I hate the promise that an overlocker will make your projects have a magically "professional finish" and that they're the only way to sew with knits. Those things still aren't true, it's still all down to the maker. And I've made some great finishes on the past on my machine alone.
But I need some speed. Buying an overlocker has bought me time. Making jogging bottoms in December was so painfully slow on the machine. I used the stretch overcasting stitch to tidy the edges and it took 30+ mins to finish the leg seams. That's only only finishing the raw edges and doesn't include the time to zig zag the seams together and manually trim all the excess. Time was at a premium and this made me want to scream. With an overlocker it'd be one pass for each seam instead of 3 slower ones.
As my stash (and the queue) has grown recently, I've bought into the idea of time saving. Buying an overlocker has meant hat instead of looking at the pile and being daunted by the amount of time it'll take to sew, I can jump at it with a level of excitement.
And I can choose which projects to invest time in. I'm still a sucker for a pretty french or flat-felled seam. I still love a good bit of topstitching and I still love bindings, facings and pinking. So they're not going away.
What did you get? (And why?)
My Janome 7025 (or 525 in disguise) has been a great workhorse so I looked for something similar. For a while I struggled to find anything I liked the look of under £450. I don't really have £450 to spend. So when this one popped up at £230, I was keen.
Speed and simplicity were the top priorities for me, and this one offers 1400 stitches per minute (apparently my normal machine maxes at 800 stitches per min). I found a trusted stockist and it arrived within a couple of days.
So how are you getting on?
After our first couple of days together I had already:
- Rethreaded it a couple of times
- Accidentally unthreaded it
- Caught a pin in the knife
- Broken a needle
- Completed 8 garments in under a week
I've used a couple of pages online to get up to speed in a couple of techniques (Sergerpepper's guide to flatlocking, gotosew.com's page on flatlocking) and am going to try to refine things as the initial excitement dies down.
Currently the plan is to shift (almost) all knits to the overlocker, so that's my focus for the moment.
One of my main difficulties with using the machine is that there is no free arm. I'm so used to it that I'm not sure how to sew on the inside of cylinders anymore!