Overlocking Basics - Getting to know your threads

When learning to use your overlocker/serger, it's important to understand which thread is which and what part it plays within the seam.  This information will help when you need to adjust any tension issues.


A great way to learn what thread does what, is to load a different brightly coloured thread into each of the spool stands and sew a test piece on lightly coloured fabric.  Refer to each coloured thread and identify it's name - in my example, red is the upper looper thread. (my tension may appear a little off and that's because it's set to sew with pvc and that play's havoc with tensions!)

Your machines manual will have detailed diagrams plus most will have a diagram placed somewhere on the machine showing each of the threads name (mines inside the looper cover as pictured but each machine will be different).

5 comments:

MELANIE WADHAM said...

Hmmm me an my overlocker!!! I need to repalace my needles, I have broken them!! Threading it is a nightmare, I think I have written all over my overlocker, indicating which is what and what is which....It is such a necessity when sewing clothing, I really need to get on to it, have a delightful dress I want to make. Thanks for the article.

Luisa @ Dance in my garden said...

I need to take my overlocker to get serviced ~~ it's an oldie.
Any tips on sewing silk?

Jodie said...

Luisa, I'm not too sure about overlocking silk - definitely not one for the beginner! I would suggest using a silk thread and maybe only 3 thread instead of 4.

MELANIE WADHAM said...

I've been told that sewing with newspaper underneath stops it from sliding, but I would be afraid that the newsprint would mark the silk, so perhaps try baking paper? Do a sample first. Your tension needs to be changed to be a bit looser as well so it doesn't pucker.

Anonymous said...

I learned to sew slippery silks with tissue paper under, and sometimes over the layers. It tears away easily once the seam is sewn.
Tearaway is excellent for stabilising armholes and necklines.