Overlocking confidence

Hi there! Hope you’ve had a good weekend?

I thought I’d write a quick post about my day today.  I’ve spent the day learning to be rather more confident with my overlocker, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Getting to grips properly with my overlocker has been on my to do list for some time, and I’ve tried a number of ways to do this.  I started with a Craftsy class, moved on to a book and then kind of gave up.

I should mention that my overlocker is actually my second overlocker; my first was one of the Singer ones that Lidl sell for not too much about once a year.

We got on OK for some time, but I never felt like I was really getting a good quality, consistent stitch out of it and I certainly never, ever moved on to actually sewing with it, as opposed to just finishing off a seam I’d already sewn on my normal machine.  Then I won a sewing machine with Love Sewing magazine mag and traded it in for a much, much better Janome.

And still I didn’t find the confidence to make the most of this (rather scary) machine.

Anyway, I found a course which was based either in Harrogate or Leeds so contacted the Yorkshire School of Sewing to find out when their next weekend date was for this course.  And so I spent today in the large, bright conservatory of a house in Roundhay, along with 3 other ladies, learning to become rather more confident with the scary machine!


Gillian, who was running the course, was lovely; very clear in her explanations and very approachable with questions.  The format of the course was a morning spent getting an overview of the basic operation of the machine and gathering our own selection of samples on different types of fabrics of both normal overlock stiches and rolled hems.  You took your own machine with you and so she was able to work her way around the room, helping each person get the most out of their specific machine, which is far more useful than using a beautiful machine on a course, everything going smoothly and then getting home to find your machine doesn’t quite work the same.


I found the morning in some ways too easy going, but I was kind of expecting that: I’ve been using the overlocker on nearly every make for the last year in terms of finishing off and spent a reasonable amount of time with the tutorials on The Makery website, making my own samples and working out what tension settings were best for my machine.

But there were all kinds of little nuggets of information which will definitely come in handy and which, most importantly, helped build my confidence that I could manage the machine with sufficient accuracy to actually sew with it, rather than just finishing off.


We ate lunch in the dining room (our own packed lunch, but Gillian was more than happy to provide copious amounts of tea and coffee throughout the day and would have warmed anything up if needed)  The afternoon was then to be for making a garment on the overlocker.

I’d purchased the pattern recommended in her email (New Look 6315) and, on reading through a couple of times, cut out the flowing cardigan thingy on the front, as her email mentioned a nice finish on the front.  I then decided that I’d really rather learn how to do a jersey neckband than the cardigan and so, in an hour flat, printed out, tiled and cut out the Megan Nielsen Briar t shirt in a striped viscose knit from The Shuttle, reasoning that it had been extremely cheap fabric and if it was wasted, it wasn’t the end of the world.

As it happened, one of the samples we prepared was a knit bound neckline, so I would have had some practice at that anyway.  Gillian advocated sewing only one shoulder of the garment, then fastening the neckband in flat, which is not how I’d normally do it on the sewing machine but I was prepared to give it a go and got some pretty good results.  However, Gillian was quite happy for you to use which ever pattern you liked, so I got to make my t shirt anyway.

I went with the 3/4 length sleeve combined with the full length top and the only thing I’m going to have to do at home is to hem the bottom and the sleeves; everything else has been done there on the overlocker.  I’ll post the finished garment as part of the Sew My Style project when that month comes around, but check out my lovely neckline!


I actually left before the others; the course had overrun and whilst Gillian was quite happy for everyone to stay, I decided that I’d perhaps used all my husband’s good will up and ought to take my share of the child care on for the evening!

All in all, I’d definitely recommend the course if you’re struggling either to get to grips with your machine or to get some confidence built up.  I’m hoping this is the start of better (and speedier!) knit sewing for me – watch this space!

Becca x

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7 thoughts on “Overlocking confidence

  1. I went on this course last year, like you I’d had an overlocker for years but never really ‘used’ it, I’ve sewn lots of knits since 🙂 I fancy the Chanel jacket course next, just waiting for the right weekend dates!

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  2. Course sounds great & your neckline perfect. I’ve had my overlocker so long I can’t get new needles that fit it anymore!!! I’ve tend to only use it to edge but sounds like I should do one of these course when I manage to update my machine!!

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  3. Lovely neckline! I think this is a great idea for anyone with a fear of their overlocker – I did a similar course at Guthrie & Ghani a couple of years back where we made the Colette Moneta dress and it really helped me pluck up the courage to use my overlocker for things other than finishing seams. (Although I’m still too scared to try it for neck bindings!)

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    1. I actually did the neck binding on my finished top yesterday, I’m amazed, it was nearly as neat as I normally get which for the first proper time was pretty miraculous!

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