Overlocking basics - How to thread your machine

One of the greatest fears amongst those new to overlocking or serging is changing the threads in the machine. I would only ever use a fabric that matched the cottons that were already in my machine.  It's really important to get it right or you will find yourself with skipped stitches, broken threads or horrible tension.

If your machine is like mine (12 years old!) and doesn't have a fancy self threading function, that's OK, here's some tips to help make it a breeze.

Take a note of the settings on your tension dials before setting them all to '0'.

Overlockers and sergers need to be threaded in the correct order.  Either refer to your instructions manual or there may even be a threading chart outlining the order placed on the machine such as mine does.

Cut your thread.  It should be done in between the Thread guide and thread guide plate. The looper threads use twice as much thread as the needle threads so place your fullest spools on these two.

Something I learnt only recently while sewing with my grandmother (she was an industrial sewer), was the importance of knotting the threads. She picked up that I tied a knot like I did a shoelace.  This would often come undone while pulling it through and you can almost bet that it would be one of the loopers!

Tie a knot with the threads 2 ply - I do hope the image makes up for my inability to explain this properly!

After the threads are all through, cradle each thread through the tension dial to ensure it is engaged.

Then reset your original orginal tension settings and you are good to go.


Marina said...

Thanks Jodie, I love your blog and am always keen to read your informative tips like this one. I was so scared of threading my overlocker and then just had to face it one day when a couple of my threads broke. The manual was not overly helpful but then I found a video that came with my Janome. Magic! There was so much more detail and seeing the steps on screen made so much more sense.....

Irisha said...

Thank you, Jodie!
I bought my first (new to me) serger/coverstitch machine. Since it is used one I was wondering is it me or... My machine makes perfect seems on cotton and 1 layer of fleece. Two layers of fleece - complete disaster! I was making PJ for my daughter. Ended up using zig-zag on my conventional machine. I am sad. Do you have any suggestions?
~ Iryna

Jodie @ The Haby Goddess said...

What a shame Irisha, the first thing I would do is change your needles and ensure they are at least a size 14.
Also try adjusting your stitch length and width a little longer. Good Luck.

Irisha said...

Thank you! I just got a card of new #14 needles and will try them out. Somebody also suggested Organ needles.