Sew Successful : Overlockers


It was wonderful to see the Overlocker introduced on last nights “Great British Sewing Bee”. The competition hotted up as the task of making men’s trousers was set. Naturally contestants turned to their Overlockers for help with this one.



What is an Overlocker?

Simply put, the Overlocker is a type of machine used within sewing that uses a run of neat stitches over the very edge of a fabric to give a professional look and finish which also seals and prevents the fabric from fraying. A seam is sewn to join layers of fabric, the edge is trimmed to provide a neat finish and the trimmed edge is oversewn to prevent fraying – clever?!! Sure is!!

The Overlocker offers 3 very useful sewing functions in one easy process:

  1. Decoration
  2. Reinforcement
  3. Construction


What’s the difference between an Overlocker and a Serger?

In most circumstances you’ll actually find here that people are talking about the same thing. Like tomato, tomato. The main difference is that Americans refer to them as Sergers whereas we Brits know them more as Overlockers. In practice the terms ‘overedging’, ‘merrowing’, ‘overlocking’ and ‘serging’ are all used interchangeably as the same thing – so don’t panic, if you read this article you should be able to keep up with most of these conversations and understand what’s going on!


Recommended Overlockers?

Toyota Home Sewing are very pleased to be well known for our Overlocker’s and we want to help make things as simple as possible for anyone interested in buying. Please visit our Overlocker page by clicking here and please remember to contact us via our Facebook or Twitter if you have any questions or require any more information from us.


The image shown at the top is our popular SLR4D machine, if you’d like to purchase one of these please use the above Facebook or Twitter links to request more info.


Check out these Quick Guides, full of images, aimed at making the process from threading to stitching as straightforward as possible.


Toyota Overlockers are based on a central philosophy of ease of use whilst providing advanced performance and features. They are here to give you the confidence to tackle more ambitious sewing projects.


Overlock Quick Guide


Overlock Quick Guide: Preparing, threading and sewing.    

  1. Extend the telescopic thread stand to its full height and turn it until the shaft clicks into its locked position


  2. Open the front & side cover as shown in diagram below.
    1. Push the cover to the right as far as it will go
    2. Pull cover down towards you
    3. Push cover to the left to unlock, and swing cover back away from you


      **NB. When threading the machine from the beginning, threading must be carried out in the following sequence:

      First: Lower looper threading   Second: Upper looper threading   Finally: Needle threading


  3. Lower looper threading:


  4. Upper looper threading:



  5. Needle threading:


  6. Connect foot controller and power cord
  7. When the threads are not wound around the stitch finger, gently draw out the four threads under and behind the presser foot.
  8. Turn the hand wheel towards you by hand two or three times to make the thread wind on to the needle plate.
  9. Begin to sew:
  10. Correct tension: Lower looper thread and upper thread should be well balanced with same tension.  (Both looper threads should make crosses at the edge of the fabric.)

  11. End sewing. Draw the finished fabric gently backwards and to the left as the machine is operating and making chain stitches. This is callled chain stitch sewing.

Avoid Overlock Overload – it’s ‘sew’ simple


Overlockers are one of the most useful items in the sewer’s workroom, alongside the sewing machine of course. But so many people wonder what they are, how they are used and what the advantages are …

When I first started sewing I even asked the same questions.

An overlocker does what it says in the name…it over locks stitches!! Simples!! We just over complicated it, especially giving it second as it is also sometimes known as a ‘serger’. Its primary uses are for seaming, hemming and edging as it gives a lovely professional ‘finish’ look to items, but they do offer versatility to be used in other ways too. An overlocker is the ideal solution for all projects that involve stretchy seams, fabrics that fray, sequins or beads. It accomplishes three sewing tasks in one easy step:


  1. A seam is sewn to join layers of fabric
  2. The edge is trimmed to provide a neat finish
  3. The trimmed edge is oversewn to prevent fraying


Toyota overlockers are based on a central philosophy of ease of use whilst providing advanced performance and features. They give you the confidence to tackle more ambitious sewing projects and achieve impressive results!!


One thing to bear in mind is that, although some projects can be done 100% with an overlocker, they cannot replace all the features of a sewing machine. They are better working together as a partnership and complementing one another, rather than being used alone on projects. For example you will need a sewing machine to sew in zips, facing, button holes and top stitching etc as this is not something you could do with an overlocker.


View our Toyota Overlock range here. Just like with sewing machines, our expectations and needs are different so you should write down what you want and then you can match it up to the machine that best suits you.

If you have any queries about our Overlockers or getting started connect to us on Facebook and ask us your questions today…