Best Overlocker For A Beginner
Many people who sew live their whole life without so much as ever touching a overlocker machine. In my opinion they are missing out on a lot of fun. The thing about overlockers is that they are notoriously well-known for being a hard machine to get to grips with. Due to the many technical features they have and the fact that you have to learn how to operate them to get the best from the machine, its easy to see why so many people avoid them. That been said there are some very beginner friendly/entry models on the market.
If you have decided to take the plunge and invest in a overlocker then like most people you may be confused by all the jargon and technical features of overlockers. In our guide to choosing the best overlocker for a beginner we will be sharing all the information you need to know to help you make a more educated and informed decision when buying. In addition we will be bringing you our top 5 choices for those looking to buy their first overlocker in our review section.
How Much Should I Spend?
Generally speaking overlockers can be quite expensive machines with some models costing more than £1000. These are top of the range overlock machines and come with all the features you can imagine. The question to ask when buying as a beginner is “do I really need to spend this much” and 9 times out of 10 the answer is usually no.
If you are only just starting out, it doesn’t make sense to invest in a very expensive model unless you are absolutely positive that you will use it regularly enough to warrant the cost. In addition I would also advise against buying the cheapest one you can find as well. These are typically made from poor quality materials, lack the features of models that cost slightly more and will give you a bad overall experience of overlocker machines.
When buying a overlocker for the first time, I would recommend sticking to the budget models or the lower mid-priced machines. The best budget overlockers are priced around the £200 mark and the mid-priced machines around £400. In this price range there are a good number of very good overlockers with some representing great value for money.
Aside from the price the main thing to remember when deciding which is the best beginner overlocker for you is “does it do everything I need it to”. After all there is no point buying a overlocker that doesn’t perform all the functions you need it to.
For more information on choosing a overlocker check out our Overlocker Guide.
Features To Look Out For
For those that don’t have time to read our full guide you can find a quick run down of the features to be aware of below.
Adjustable Differential Feed
If you want to get the most from your overlocker its best to make sure it has a differential feed. This feature is essential for working with different fabric types. In addition it allows the user to create effects such as crinkling or gathering among others. Luckily most modern overlockers come with a built-in differential feed. It is still worth checking out though as there are some models that lack this feature, especially the cheapest ones.
Adjustable Stitch Width And Length
A overlocker with an adjustable stitch width and length function is a must if you are looking for versatility. With this feature there are simply more options. It is worth mentioning that the adjustability of the stitch length and width varies from model to model.
Foot Pedal For Speed Control
Similar to sewing machines a overlocker comes with a foot pedal for controlling the sewing speed.
Colour Coded Threading
Machines that have colour coded threading are far easier to thread than those that don’t. Due to overlockers been hard to thread, even for those experienced with using them, I would recommend buying a model with a colour coded threading route. The colour coded threading guides you through the process of threading a overlocker and takes out some of the confusion in doing so.
Easy To Remove Presser Foot
If you choose a model with snap-on presser feet you will thank yourself for it. When it comes to threading or rethreading snap-on presser feet are a desirable feature to have.
Free Arm/Flat Bed
Buying a machine that has free arm to flat-bed conversion table is something well worth considering. This feature comes in handy when doing work on cuffs or sleeves.
If you are a total novice then you may not be aware that some overlock machines have a small LED light. This littl godsend helps when working in dimly lit areas. Not all machines come with an LED light, make sure you check the specifications when buying.
Top 3 – Best Overlocker For Beginners
Now that you know what to look out for when buying a overlocker for the first time, its time to take a look at our top recommendations. All the models featured hover around the £200 mark and offer very good value for money in terms of features offered.
Lets take a look!
Brother M343D Overlocker
When it comes to overlockers for beginners the Brother brand have a strong presence and their models rank high in many overlocker reviews. The Brother M334D is a perfect starter overlocker with many positive features. Due to its good mix of affordability and quality it remains a very popular choice.
The M343D is a 3 or 4 thread overlocker with cut and sew overlock stitches. It features the F.A.S.T lower looper threading system and comes with easy to follow lay-in threading. A very positive feature is the differential feed, which offers perfect seaming on any fabric type. There is also a quick release stitch finger for instant rolled hemming. The free-arm/flat-bed convertible sewing surface is a welcome addition as it allows for work on cuffs and sleeves.
Included with every purchase is an accessory kit full of goodies and an instructional DVD to help get you started.
- 3 or 4 thread over locker
- F.A.S.T lower looper threading system
- Includes an instructional DVD
- led daytime light
Janome 9300DX Overlocker
Janome are a brand with a good reputation for producing both high-quality sewing machines and overlockers. The Janome 9300DX is another very popular overlocker and has many desirable features as an entry-model. It is the most costly model in our recommendations, however, it is a top quality machine with a wide range of overlocking features.
There is the option of 3 or 4 thread operation and like all Janome models the stitch quality is of a professional standard. It comes with a rolled-hemming function and the differential feed ratio of 0.5 to 2.2 allows for work on a wide variety of fabrics. Due to the lay-in threading system and the colour coded threading system, threading and rethreading are relatively easy when compared against many other models.
Standout features include an extra high presser foot, this allows you to work with many layers or thick fabrics, and the whisper quiet operation of the Janome 9300DX.
- 3 Or 4 Thread Overlocking
- Easy Rolled Hem Conversion
- Differential Feed Ratio 0.5 – 2.2
- Lay In Thread Tension Dials
- Instructional DVD included
Brother 2104D Overlocker
The Brother 2104D is regarded by many as a top choice for when choosing a beginner overlocker. With very positive customer reviews previous buyers seem to be very happy with it and with good reason. This model provides exceptional value for money as it comes with many features you normally only associate with more expensive machines. Falling within the budget price range it is easy to see why its a best-seller.
The 2104D is a 3 or 4 thread overlocker that comes with Brothers very own F.A.S.T lower looper threading system. In addition it has beginner friendly colour coded threading. In total there are a choice of 22 stitch options, which is a very good amount and more than some other more expensive models. Included with every purchase are a bunch of accessories these include 2 snap on feet, foot pedal, soft cover, needle set, tweezers, lint brush and 4 spool caps.
- 3 or 4 thread overlocker with free arm and LED light.
- 4-thread continuous stitch, 3-thread continuous stitch, 5 mm or 2.8 mm, rolled hemming.
- Adjustment of length and width, differential, adjustment of foot pressure.
- Removable upper knife, simplified threading, protective case, instructions in French,...
As you can see there is a lot of information to consider when buying a overlocker for the first time. Due to all the technical features its easy to see why people get intimidated when it comes to deciding upon a model to purchase. Hopefully, with the help of our guide to beginner overlockers we have managed to alleviate some of your doubts and answer any questions you may have.
If you didn’t manage to find a model to your liking in our reviews then be sure to check out our top 10 overlocker reviews. Here you can find a wider range of models for both beginners and experienced users of overlockers.
If you have any questions with regards to choosing a overlocker then drop us a message in the comments.