Overlockers make it incredibly easy to create professional-looking edge finishes. However, re-threading or changing the threads can be a real hassle.
My relationship with overlockers is a bit of a love-hate one. While they make it incredibly easy to create professional-looking edge finishes, re-threading or changing the threads on one can be a real hassle.
But, there is a trick to make the process that little bit less frustrating and keep that overwhelming feeling at bay. While not foolproof, I've found it works more often than not!
Wrap up of this how-to
What is an overlocker
The use of an overlocker (or serger) to finish a seam edge is probably the easiest, most common and professional method of finishing a seam edge.
An overlocker will often feature more than 1 needle, stitching multiple threads (usually 3 or 4) simultaneously, and trimming any excess fabric as you go. Overlocking is typically used for finishing the raw edges of seams together or separately as an open seam. However, this method can also be used to join the seams of stretch fabrics together. The specialised stitch created by the overlocker actually provides enough 'give' so that it can stretch with the fabric.
How to thread your overlocker
Threading an overlocker can vary depending on the model and brand of the machine. However, the basic steps for threading an overlocker are fairly similar across most models.
For the purpose of this post, I will be demonstrating on a Bernina 800DL (photographed below).
1. Turn off your overlocker.
2. Lift up the presser foot and place needles at the highest position, turning the needle dial on the side of machine.
3. Cut the original thread close to the cones.
4. Replace existing cones with new thread.
5. Tie the two thread ends (new to existing) together in a small single, but strong knot.
6. Trim the end of the threads, leaving 1-2 cm of thread.
7. Pull each thread, one by one, from near the foot, gently pulling through the new colour thread. You may need to guide the thread through by hand if it gets a little stuck.
8. Cut off the knot from the first and second spool of thread once they reach the needle.
9. Thread the needles by hand.
10. Sew a test swatch to ensure that it is threaded properly.
Note: If one of your threads does come undone, simply open the looper cover to access the threading area (example below). The threading diagram for your machine will usually be found here, and it will show you the thread path for each of the four threads.