You’ve looked and looked, tried and tested and finally made the decision. Your brand new overlocker is ready to take pride of place in the sewing room, right next to the freshly cut out project it will take on tomorrow.
Before throwing yourself enthusiastically into the delights your new friend promises, let’s look at some do’s and don’ts for your new purchase. A little time invested now on some basic things and you may just save yourself some grief a little further down the track.
Do start with 4 threads. Always use 4 threads of the same type or denier (thickness). I also recommend you rotate your thread every now and then. The loopers user roughly 5 metres of thread to every metre the needle uses. This will help you to use all spools up at around the same time. If you won’t use much thread, buy smaller spools. Thread can, and will, dry out as is it gets old. A life span of around 5 years is the most you will get out of most threads.
Do use cone holders on the inside of the large cones of thread. This keeps them stable. However, remove them when you are using smaller reels or spools of thread.
Do take up all offers of tuition your dealer offers. You may know how to sew, you may have used an overlocker for years, but we can guarantee your new machine will have features and idiosyncrasies that will trip you up unless you are shown them. Remember, user error is not covered in any warranty, and some mistakes on overlockers can be very expensive. Make the time to watch DVDs and read support books provided with your machine.
Do replace your needles regularly with the exact needle specified. If you are unsure, refer to your book, print out the label with this information and fix it to the machine. Many overlocker problems are caused in the first instance by the wrong needle. Remember, both needles must be replaced together, even if only one has broken or bent.
Do have your pride and joy regularly serviced. Every 12 to 24 months is the recommendation. This enables your technician to nip any problems in the bud before they require expensive parts.
Don’t throw away your box. Your box and the associated packing materials are the best protection for your machine in transit. Overlockers have some fiddly bits on their exterior that are easily broken.
Don’t thread your machine out of sequence. All overlockers have a specific sequence they must thread in. As a rule of thumb, the loopers should be threaded before the needles. If one of the looper threads breaks, remove the thread from the eyes of the needles prior to rethreading the looper. This will save you a lot of frustration and grief.
Don’t assume the worst if your overlocker starts to sew poorly. Make a checklist of threading, replacing needles and basic checks. Many times, it is a basic thing, like a missed thread guide, that creates a problem.
Don’t cut pins with your knives. Knives are expensive and must be replaced when this happens. Pin laterally or remember to pull them out as they approach the machine. We are happy to sell you a supply of knives, however we would rather you didn’t have the frustration.
Most of all… Do enjoy the many hours of sewing your machine will give you by following these basic do’s and don’ts. Overlockers are an invaluable time saver in sewing and in the right hands, can produce a fabric work of art.