I just can’t think of a title and I want to go to bed

I have been watching Project Runway – and I want to know, is an overlocker all that and more? Should I be saving my pennies if I want to start making clothes? How hard are they to use with no previous experience? How on earth do the work and are they impossible to tinker with if they go wrong?
As you can see, my brain is going gah-gah. The heat has been too much. I guess way back when, my family came from the Shetland Islands where it doesn’t get to 43°c (109.4°f) on a seemingly regular basis if, in fact, ever at all. I just know I would have been far more comfortable traipsing around the Scottish Moors, just like this wee lass. I am just not meant to be in this hemisphere. Perhaps I am just not meant to be pregnant and grumpy in this hemisphere. We have a couple of days respite before it heats up to the 40s again so perhaps I will manage to get some things done – cakes made (finally bought some marzipan ready for the Nigella almond cake), rabbits stitched (my other grandma’s old machine is back from being serviced and ready to be taken for its first spin in years) and paintings painted (I can’t tell you how much I am loving a bit of paint on canvas action).

In other exciting news – Loobylu has been nominated in two categories in the 2006 Bloggies. I have been nominated for Best Australian or New Zealand Blog, and best Craft Blog (yikes! Best of luck peeps 1, 2 and 3 – we’re up against Make – is there any chance at all?)… thank you to those who nominated me in both categories. Also, the wonderful Drawn! has been nominated for best New Weblog. Congrats to John and the rest of the team (who always contribute far more diligently and creatively than I have managed lately). Blog awards are something that I have such strange feelings about, but I am grateful to be up this year.

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41 Responses

  1. chrishel00@yahoo.com says:

    Congrats on the nominations, you deserve them!

  2. Congrats on your nomination!!

  3. hey, sweet blog ! (: i love new zealand ! visit my blog y’all ! comments 😀

  4. That whole overlocker thing made me laugh. Especially when Cara messed it up. I LOVE my Project Runway!
    Have you heard about this?


  5. I’ll vote for you. You were the first craft blog that I found, and inspired me to start sewing and blogging and all sorts of great things.

  6. Congratulations on your nomination!
    Sorry about the hot weather 🙁 Just bake a cake and enjoy it 🙂

  7. In real life, producing a line is not nearly as dramatic as Project Runway. Anyone can do it. Toward that end, I have a blog on operating a successful apparel company for DIY’ers.
    Btw, “interlockers” (sergers) are easy to learn, easy to maintain and you’ll never regret the money you spend on one. Borrow a friend’s for a test drive. You’ll love it.

    Congrats on the nomination.

  8. Congrats on your nomination Claire! Well done.
    An overlock machine, is similar to or is the same as a serger. Both machines have several spools of coming into them (that’s the reason everyone freaked on P.R. ) when they had to be rethreaded) and the fabric edge is cut and the machine sews over the edges (hence the name overlock). They are necessary if you ever plan to sew knits, because any type of fabric like that will stretch as you sew it, plus seams sewn with a regular machine it just look unfinished. Hope that helps.

  9. Yes, the overlocker is worth it. In addition to sewing and finishing seams, you can do rolled edges- great for flouncy skirts and other stuff. You can also set them to auto gather as you sew… no more sewing two rows and pulling. Hang in there during the heat and pregnancy. I went through the same thing. Cold showers and arctic movies! Lori

  10. In my opinion, an overlock is an absolute MUST if you are making clothing. I’ve used both a home version and an industrial and they are both wonderful. The trickiest bit of the overlock is learning how to thread it. Other than that, not so very difficult. The home versions have a speed setting so you can set it at a slower pace in the beginning to get used to it if it helps. The only things that I ever had to replace were needles and the knifes. And you don’t have to change them often but you can tell when they get dull and they’re not hard to change on your own. 🙂

  11. Probably a dumb question, but is an overlocker the same as a serger? Because I have a serger and the serger does an overlock stitch. Anyway, if we are indeed talking about the same thing, I have to say that I love me some serger. I think they are very easy to use and to learn and for some reason, I can’t seem to live without it when it comes to sewing. Random benefit, not only is it super for finishing edges, but it provides the perfect margin for hemming and such (if I depend on my foot plate, I tend to get wonky somehow).

  12. Probably a dumb question, but is an overlocker the same as a serger? Because I have a serger and the serger does an overlock stitch. Anyway, if we are indeed talking about the same thing, I have to say that I love me some serger. I think they are very easy to use and to learn and for some reason, I can’t seem to live without it when it comes to sewing. Random benefit, not only is it super for finishing edges, but it provides the perfect margin for hemming and such (if I depend on my foot plate, I tend to get wonky somehow).

  13. I purchased an overlocker as a birthday gift to myself; I have always wanted one. Sadly it doesn’t get used as much as I’d like. 1)I afraid to use all of the thread it came with because it’s a pain (it came with tweezers) to thread, and 2)I don’t make many clothing items. I have found good use for it make nice little rolled hems on napkins and tablecloths and to make softies more durable for my deconstructive little one. If I was thinking about buying one again, I probably would…if only it came with a little elf to thread it for me!

  14. If an “overlocker” is what we Yanks call a “serger,” then no, it’s not all that.
    I make a lot of my own clothes and I don’t own one. My mom has one but almost never used it – she finds it a lot easier to finish seams using the zigzag stitch on her machine, or to do them as French seams (which is my preferred mode, at least on lightweight fabric), or in some cases use a lining or a binding.

    Maybe a little more work, but I think it’s a better finish – I’ve had serged edges pull out of commercial clothes, or else the thread ends irritate my skin.

    Just my 2 cents.

  15. hi-i’m not a sewer, but i am a watcher of project runway, and i thought that the overlock machine was something specificially for stretchy fabrics, so if you plan on making ice skating costumes or other things made of lycra, i guess you would need one, otherwise, probably not.

    just depends on how much spandex you & your family/friends will be wearing! ;D

  16. An overlocker, or serger (as we call them in the States) is a very good thing to have. Choose one that can use at least four threads, this will allow you to do all sorts of decorative finishes and rolled edges. Also look for one that is fairly easy to thread, mine, a Husqvarna Huskylock, is pretty decent in this department, but there are newer ones that are supposed have improved in the threading area. To get an idea of how much use you’d get out of one check out books like ‘Serger Secrets’ available on Amazon. Books like this will give you a good general idea of what these machine can and can’t do. Good luck!

  17. I’d say save your pennies! If you want your garments to have a professional finish, an overlocker is really the only way to go. And they aren’t hard to use at all – just mind the fingers! Come over and use mine if you want a trial run 😉

  18. Oooo, I want to know all the exact same things about overlockers!Congrats on the nominations and good luck.

  19. While you don’t need an overlock (serger) to sew clothes, it does help a lot, especially if you sew knits. A basic 4 thread serger with differential feed (adjustment to gather or stretch the fabric) will cost around $200-300. More expensive models add decorative stitch capability, better tension control, coverstitch and chain stitch, or auto threading. I started with a basic model and became frustrated. I ended up spending $1600 on a top of the line Babylock that does everything but make the garment for me. Here’s a link to the patternreview.com site where there’s an ongoing board about sergers: http://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/sewingclasses/board.pl?f=21. Feel free to email me too!

  20. Claire, I haven’t worked my way up to one yet, but they do look handy, especially for edging and tshirts and stuff like that. I’d suggest having a play before committing to one – if there’s a Neighbourhood House (http://www.anhlc.asn.au/) near you, they often use them in their sewing classes or perhaps even just a demo session at Janome or another sewing cenre.

  21. Congratulations!! Your website is awesome!! You deserve it!!

  22. Oh yeah, forgot to say: Congratulations on the nomination!!!

  23. How could we not nominate you??!! You inspire like crazy…

  24. CONGRATULATIONS!On your nominations.
    My Ma in law has an overlocker and swears that it is a great investment. She has been making PJ’s, fleeces and T’s for the grandchildren for years now.

  25. dwbm@comcast.net says:

    Congrats on your nominations!! I went and voted for you as much as I could!! Good luck.

  26. i’m totally rockin the OZ NZ blog vote your way
    and since i’m from NZ pbviously this is a big thing for me 😉

  27. Congratulations, you deserve it!

  28. jo.reid@optusnet.com.au says:

    Congratulations on your nominations, thoroughly deserved. And how is this heat? I was only just thinking last Sunday morning that part of being a domestic goddess in Melbourne is surely the art of keeping your home cool. At what stage do you close up the windows? Should I keep the curtains and blinds down all day or just until the sun goes over on that side of the house? Will your house burn down if you leave the ceiling fans on all night? See, it is an art! And on the overlocker, a girlfriend and I went to sewing classes last term and we had a brilliant teacher who showed us how to use your machine (no matter how basic or old) to its full potential. Who knew a gathering foot could be so much fun? And every machine has a stitch, whether it is your basic zig zag or an elastic overlock stitch that will suffice until you go all out on the overlocker. I guess it just depends on who you think will be turning your clothes inside out and inspecting your seams :O

  29. Congratulations on your nominations!!! You are one of the first blogs i discovered and i have been hooked ever since!!! I love taking a sneak peak in my lunch hours and getting re-inspired!Thankyou. I run my own small fashion label, and an overlocker is an absolute MUST!!! I use industrial machines and will never look back. An overlocker sews two pieces together and finishes off the seams nicely. This way you can save time and it looks more professional. And if using stretch fabric, you can’t do without one.Good luck!! and keep up the great work

  30. lpola@hotmail.com says:

    Congrats on your nomination Claire. Have you sewed before? I am about to embark on self ed. around making my own clothes. I have purchased sewing machine but will leave the overlocker until I’m sure this “learning to sew” project gets going & Im really sure that home sewing if for me. Wondering about op shop vs home sewing. Get the most amazing stuff at an op shop near work…$4.00 slacks, shirts & great tops…hmmm…lets see how I get on with finnding great fabrics…think that is the key here. If I can find great fabs via online suppliers (I live in country victoria) that will really be such a motivator. Currently reading “Sew Fasy, Sew Easy”…by a new york sewing guru that holds sewing classes for bumblefingered learners like myself. Good luck with all your projects.

  31. cassie@incanberra.com.au says:

    I’m one of the minority that bought an overlocker and never really used it – I gave it to my step-mother who uses it all the time. They are good for very quick things, but to get a reaslly strong seam you should sew with your machine, then overlock the edges anyway.I would get one, but choose it based on ease of threading – or preferably get one that someone you know can use, so when it needs threading they can help. Mine was so complex it came with a video and tweezers to learn the threading.

  32. Congrats on the nomination!! Ive voted for you!!
    My sewing machine has an overlocking option – I must admit its such a neat finish!worth getting!!

  33. Yes, yes, yes! An overlocker is SO worth it! If you’re making human clothes, it’s essential, and they are very easy to maintain – I have a really old rusted one, and all it needs is a vacuum every few goes, and a drop of oil!
    If you can get a second hand one to save money, go for it!

  34. kate_pop@hotmail.com says:

    After many years of sewing clothes and finishing my edges with a zig zag stitch, I finally saved up and brought an overlocker and it does make finishing so much nicer. Now my seams sit flatter, are less scratchy and it is faster than zig zagging. Also I brought an 80’s Elna (at an excellent place in East Doncaster) and it is so easy to thread (all colour coded) which was a relief as I was worried about that too. I only use it for finishing and still think it was one of my best crafty purchases.

  35. Was talking with my art teacher best mate the other day about her overlocker. It seems that everyone finds threading them to be such a pain. Think about threading a sewing machine and times by ten.I have known so many people who have never used their overlocker after it has been unthreaded. Which may be a bonus for you. Like treadmills, and weights benches there will be loads for sale on ebay.
    So give it a go.

  36. Congrats on the nomination. I had to laugh when I read that you would be happier in a cooler climate because I’m in Canada and say the opposite. I would be happy never to see snow and cold again!A serger is a wonderful luxury! My sister has one and her clothes look so professional. It does use up a lot of thread, though.

  37. rainbowofdarkness@hotmail.com says:

    Hi, congrats on your nomination!!!
    I have a question. By any chance do you know how to make a spearical doll head that doesnt look flat but curiclar? I have tried over and over and did searches online but came up with nothing. Can you send some self help beginer links on doll making for heads? Thanks

  38. Yes. Overlockers rock.

  39. Overlocker…mmmmm….I still don’t have one but have managed to sew loads of stuff without one!!
    You can do French seams on fine fabric. I line all bags I make to hide the mess underneath…looks much neater than an overlocker would do it. Things made of fleece don’t need it. I have borrowed a friends at the moment and really am surprised how little I have used it. I made myself a skirt the other day and didn’t even neaten the seams…it is just me wearing it and I don’t care. I would only really consider it if I was making clothes for other people.

  40. susanwuest@telia.com says:

    of course you were nominated! silly claire – do you not know you are The Queen?as for the overlock question, i think it depends entirely on what you want to make. i used to admire them out loud to my boyfriend when we would pass by the sewing store. “those things are SO neat” i would say. when he bought me one for christmas i almost died! i was thrilled of course, but didnt know how to tell him that i never actually considered buying one for real. i am still intimidated by it, 3 years later, and it sits sheepishly in a corner of my little studio. used maybe 3 times. the thing is that i never make clothes and almost never sew with knits, so i dont really see its worth the hoopla of using it rather than my normal sewing machine.
    but it was big brownie points for my extremely well intentioned and generous boyfriend!

  41. chikntrx@lakenet.com says:

    I’ve had a serger for 14 years, I can make any garment in 1/2 to 1/3 the time it takes on a regular machine. If you work at all with fabric that frays or ravels, it’s a honey. Strongly suggest you find a store and take a practice run, even try several brands, then take a class before you buy. I own a JUKI but lots of other good brands out there. They work best anywhere you don’t need to press the seam open. And rethreading is not the pain it looks. Ask the dealer for a demo and get them to let you do it once or twice. Have fun and happy sewing.