Overlock stitching is one of the most important stitches to sew professional looking garments. This stitch can be created on standard sewing machines or overlocks or sergers to create a finished and durable seam, which is an essential part of garment creation.
Whether using a machine like the Juki MO-104D or stitching in some other way, anyone who enjoys making clothing should learn the importance of overlock stitching and how it is done.
Overlock Stitch Basics
The overlock stitch is locks the thread in place while sewing over the edge of the fabric, which explains its name. This stitch makes a finished seam that encloses the edge of the fabric to prevent unraveling. The threads, which are locked together, do not unravel.
Variations of this stitch can be made by using one needle and thread on standard sewing machines or with multiple needles and threads on overlocks like the Juki MO-104D. The more threads used to make the stitch, the more secure, flexible, and resistant to unraveling it is.
Overlocking is especially suitable for knit fabrics, as it provides a good amount of stretch. For these reasons, professionally made garments are almost always made using this stitch.
Overlock Stitch Anatomy
Overlock stitches are a combination of zigzag and straight stitches sewn together. They are made using a special function on machines programmed to make this stitch. It is done by forming a number of thread loops that are interwoven and stitched through in such a way that they become locked together. This prevents easy unraveling, which normal straight stitches can do if a thread breaks or comes loose.
The more threads the machine uses, the more concentrated the interlocking threads become. This then provides a more secure lock and enclosure around the edge of the fabric.
Creating Overlock Stitching
There are three different ways that sewists can create this important and useful stitching on home sewn garments:
- Standard Machine with Overlock Presser Foot - When using an overlock presser foot, standard sewing machines with this stitch feature can perform a simple 2-thread stitch that looks similar to those made on sergers. The presser foot lets the machine sew over the edge of the fabric so it is contained within the stitching; however, the fabric must be carefully trimmed beforehand.
- Standard Machine without Overlock Presser Foot - When an overlock presser foot is not available, the overlock function may still be used but the edge is not sewn over and enclosed. Instead, all stitches are made within the seam allowance, so the finish is not quite the same.
- Overlock or Serger Machines - For the best results, the preferred method of making these stitches is by using machines designed to create this stitch. Sergers like the Juki MO-104D allow the use of multiple threads for a more secure, yet flexible seam. These machines trim the fabric edge as the stitching is done, leaving a straight and finished seam with enclosed edges.
Not all sewists need to purchase specific sewing machines to perform overlock stitching; however, they are a great investment for those who make a lot of clothing. Overlocks like the Juki MO-104D make creating this essential stitch fast and easy, producing strong and professional looking results!