Today I’d like to welcome Simon from Overlocker Guide to teach us all about troubleshooting our overlocker or serger because there is nothing more frustrating than wanting to sew with your overlocker and coming up against a problem!
When you are new to using your overlocker or serger, you can come across problems that, without understanding how to fix them, may grind your crafting to a halt. Overlock sewing machines can be quite tricky to use in the beginning, but with a little knowledge and understanding, you can avoid many of the common frustrations.
Let me share some handy tips for troubleshooting the most common issues that happen when you are new to using an overlocker.
This is one of the most common problems you will come across, and it can happen to one or both of your needles. When you are trying to thread the needle and then it becomes unthreaded, it can ruin your focus and be very irritating. The important thing is to not worry more than necessary about this.
What To Do:
You need to make sure before you begin to stitch that you thread the needle with a few inches of thread on the other side of it – a tail, if you like. You need to keep in mind that the needle is going to move up as it starts to sew so there needs to be a tail of thread that is long enough to not pull out when the needle moves up.
CraftyMummy Tip: I often use my overlocker tweezers to pull the thread through at the back where it is hard to get my fingers in.
Fabric Not Staying Still
Another common issue is that the fabric keeps jumping or shifting when you try to stitch. If this is happening, it could be that you forgot to lower the presser foot.
What To Do:
The presser foot is there to keep the fabric in place while you to stitch it. This foot also helps to ensure that the fabric remains straight and the blade can cut it off correctly. You need to remember to lower the presser foot as you put the fabric in to keep it straight and make your stitches neat and tidy.
When you have uneven stitches that haven’t been finished correctly, it can spoil the entire project. If you want to ensure that the stitches are stitched properly and look neat and tidy, you need to make sure the thread tension is appropriate.
What To Do:
You can do this by adjusting the tension dials. It could be that you need to do some trial and error until you find just the right tension setting for your fabric. Just be patient and you will find it eventually.
The Looper Unthreading
It can be very frustrating if you have tried your best to follow the instructions to the letter but either the top or bottom looper becomes unthreaded. As impossible as it may seem, this can easily happen. There are fairly easy ways to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
What To Do:
First of all, you need to make sure you thread your overlocker in order according to the manual. Next, if you got a pair of tweezers with your machine – those special ones that have bent ends – you can use those to pass your thread through the loopers when you are threading. It may be that for your particular machine you need to thread the start of the looper, pass the thread through the machine and use the balance wheel to get the other end of the looper showing.
On a general note
Keep in mind that overlockers and sergers can also suffer from some of the same problems that normal sewing machines do (like gathering lint, requiring new needles, or needing oil) so make sure you check those basics too. Find some tips for troubleshooting your sewing machine here.
Although these problems are only relatively small ones, if you are new to using an overlock sewing machine or don’t have a lot of experience yet, these issues can cause huge obstructions for you. These frustrations can make it less enjoyable – and let’s face it, most of us bought an overlocker to make our sewing easier and quicker! When you are aware of the possible problems and know how to rectify them, you are all set to enjoy your overlocker and create gorgeous projects.
Thank you to Simon from Overlocker Guide for the helpful tips. Take a look at Simon’s website dedicated entirely to overlockers for more tips.