The Make Lounge Overlocker Class – Score!

Going on holiday, Karen? No, going to an overlocker class!

When I shared my new overlocker purchase, Sew Incidentally got in touch straight away. Did I want to go to an overlocker class with her? For any of you who haven’t yet met Sew Incidentally, she’s an organisational whirlwind. Captains of industry should want to employ Sew Incidentally, think about what they’d pay her and then double it. This woman could sort out the economic crisis, the riots and still have time to whip up a new skirt all before lunch! So I knew I was in safe hands.

Sure enough, she was soon sharing with me a comprehensive list of every overlocker class available in London. We settled on a two-hour evening class at The Make Lounge as this was convenient for both of us and affordable. We totally made the right decision. This class was awesome!

I decided to take my own overlocker (after checking The Make Lounge was happy with this arrangement) hence the shot of me and a small suitcase. Yes, I dragged an overlocker over the uneven streets of London all day. The only ill consequence was that the lightbulb worked its way loose. I can now confirm that the Brother 1034D overlocker is indestructible as well as affordable and easy-to-use.

We were to make a pair of napkins in the class, choosing fabric from this wonderful array:

But first, our lovely tutor, Suzanne, showed us how to thread an overlocker. She was working on a Janome. My machine was a Brother. Then she made me snip the threads on my pre-threaded machine. Gulp. Thankfully, I’d had the sense to take my instruction manual along with me and felt fairly confident about progressing with Suzanne by my side. There were only four of us in the class, so I knew I’d have fair dibs on her attention.

What can I tell you? Come closer. Lean in. I’ll whisper. It really wasn’t that hard. My first attempt at threading saw a thread come loose when I overlocked. My second attempt? Spot on! Several miniscule fiddles with the tension and we were rocking and rolling! Tension is clearly the biggie with overlocker – these are sensitive babies on that front. But otherwise, my Brother overlocker had made me smile – yes, smile! – whilst using it:

No rest for the wicked, however. We were straight on to learning how to adjust the machine for a rolled hem. For me, this involved not only taking out a needle but taking out a piece of the machine. Double gulp. Even Suzanne looked a tad wobbly of smile. But I cracked on with my rolled hems and – voila! – I had two napkins. As for that bit of the machine I now had to reinsert? A bit of fiddling, gazing at diagrams and following my instincts and it was back in place. I was so proud of myself. Me! The girl who could barely scrape through any school lesson that involved the appliance of science and logic.

Yes, that is a glass of wine.

Sew Incidentally enjoyed the class, too, I believe:

Oh dear, there were some tight screws going on there. Nothing that can’t be fixed at home, I’m sure. Here is Suzanne, back right, being a fabulous teacher:

I don’t think I have anything left to say, other than – this class was fabulous. I really, really enjoyed it. It does exactly what it says on the tin and squeezes an awful lot into two hours:

  • threading your machine
  • overlocking
  • adjusting your machine for a rolled hem
  • making a rolled hem
  • going home with a pair of lovely napkins

Job, as they say, done!

I thought things couldn’t get any better, but then Sew Incidentally brought out a gift for me! Some beautiful fabric handed over out of the sheer kindness of her heart:

Oh, and a last treat for all of us: Sew Incidentally showed me a book that apparently is the Bible of overlocking, The Ultimate Serger Answer Guide. It does look like a really good book. I may need to order a copy.

Get yourself down The Make Lounge or search out a class of your own. You can’t go wrong!

A huge thank you to Sew Incidentally for suggesting this.

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30 Responses to The Make Lounge Overlocker Class – Score!

  1. Tilly says:

    Did you enjoy it, Karen? Your post is unclear ;) Looks great. Any tips on thread tension? Or is it just a matter of trail and error? x

    • Hee, hee. Overexcited, moi? It is definitely trial and error. My tutor sat with me as we tried to get the tension right and it really was a case of, ‘Um, try them all on 4. Um, now try two on 3 and two on 4…’ etc etc until we got it right. Not much scary science involved at all.

      • Felicity from Down Under says:

        In fact, quite like learning to use an SLR camera: you try every combination to see what works best for what you want to do.

  2. Debi says:

    AWESOME! Looks like a great class!!!!

  3. Jane says:

    Karen, this is the post I’ve been waiting for!! I’ve almost convinced myself to get an overlocker and was thinking I need a class to teach me the basics (I’m a visual person and learn much quicker if I can see somebody demonstrating). This kind of class is EXACTLY what I’d hoped was available. Right, now I can say it without passing out with fright, ‘my name is Jane and I’m going to buy an overlocker’!!!!! Thanks again. xx

  4. Rosesred says:

    I love, love, Love my brother as well. I’ve never worked with another serger, but do you think that the threading this machine is super easy compared to other sergers as I previously supposed, or were all the machines at the class comparable? Many people seem to fear a serger, and that is just such a shame!

  5. Hi Karen, it was great fun going to the class with you – can’t see what you ‘n’ you Brother come up with now :) And it was so enjoyable it was like a holiday – a sewing holiday!
    I’m going to tackle that pesky thumbscrew on my differential feed with the pliers tonight, it’s gonna be like Mel Gibson in ‘Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome’… me + the machine… = “two men enter, one man leaves“, and I SHALL be the victor (mwahhahahahaha!).

  6. Margaret T. says:

    When I bought my Janome 9200D I was VERY nervous, mainly because so many obviously capable (and much younger) ladies on Burdastyle said that they were frightened of their overlockers, or were too afraid to commit to buying one. Well Karen, as you have now discovered, it’s all a MYTH! I gave myself a few weeks to play with mine, constantly reading the manual and watching the DVD, and it seemed so straightforward that I thought I must be missing something, so I arranged an hour’s one to one tuition at a local sewing machine shop. This gave me the confidence I was lacking, and I do think it’s always a good idea to go to a class if possible, but since then I’ve never looked back. I really LOVE my overlocker, and I know you will too.

  7. shivani says:

    sounds like so much fun! Overlocking doesn’t sound so bad afterall! I might have to drop hints about an overlocker closer to my birthday – your Brother one is such an affordable model! Looking forward to seeing all your amazing overlocked seams etc etc.

    (ps, I SO didn’t need to see the makelounge fabric wall!) x

  8. Felicity from Down Under says:

    I agree with everyone who says that taking a class is a good idea – and that class looked amazing. Even with an instruction book and a relatively sensible grasp of how it worked, I learnt a few tricks from the instructor for my Janome (which, I should add, came with an hour’s one-to-one instruction included in its purchase price) that I probably wouldn’t have picked up elsewhere.

    When it came to trying all the various bits and pieces (gathering, rolled hems, whatever), one of her many good tips was to write on the sample what the settings were (tension, how many needles, blah blah). I still have those samples and refer to them now and then.

    It’s possible to get by without an overlocker, there’s no doubt. But many things are much less frustrating if you do have one. Congratulations on the napkins and enjoy your new baby!

  9. Shelly says:

    You certainly look like you were having fun, not sure about the other ladies in the class though. I recently did a class on how to use my overlocker and I couldn’t agree more. It’s the best way to learn. I’ve got my samples in a display folder with all the relevant tensions for each one as an easy reference for the future. Have fun with it!

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  11. Although I didn’t take a class I used some study material I found online for a Bernina overlocker. I patiently worked through the first few exercises, threaded and rethread my machine and within a few hours I was all ready to go. The difficult part was understanding you need to remove the left needle when doing a three-thread rolled hem (the manuals don’t tell you that), but eventually I found out myself. Certainly like with any new machine it takes a few trials to become confident with it, especially since cutting is also involved. But all in all I would say “don’t be afraid of your overlocker”…it’s not any harder than driving, riding a bike, cooking ;o)

    • Felicity from Down Under says:

      and, in my opinion and speaking from experience, considerably less difficult and painful than riding a bike!

  12. Two views of the same class! Interesting to see the different photos too, I’m sure the wine helped considerably to get the tension right!! :-) An overlocker is a long way down the road for me, but I’m sure seeing some of your new rolled hems, etc, then I’ll be saving big time!!

    Have fun!

  13. redsilvia says:

    Looks like fun, especially the wine part. What will you do with this knowledge? T-shirts? Leggings? Stretchy skirts?

  14. Renay says:

    This looks like so much fun. I wish there were classes like this down here in Australia…
    I never change the settings on my overlocker, I’m too afraid! Its such a good one too, its a pfaff hobbylock that i got for free!
    The one time i altered the settings was when I was trying to do a three thread rolled hem and it took four hours and i evern cried (Shhh). I didn’t even end up with a nice hem.
    Needless to say, I’ve just left it on the old 4 thread overlock ever since. But you have now inspired me to tackle the dreaded thing… deep breaths…
    thanks Karen
    p.s. mmm wine.

  15. Amanda says:

    I have the same overlocker! Your first pic is so cute, ready for class and looking snazzy :) Oh, and I bought that Paris cafe fabric and made it into a tote bag for my mom! It’s fun to spot the cats on it.

  16. Suzy says:

    It sounds like it was a fantastic class. I have not yet been tempted to get an overlocker but will surely look back on all these posts when the time comes (I’m sure it will one day)!

  17. Carolyn says:

    Definitely get a copy of the book…it’s a great resource…I’ve used it alot in the past when I’ve faced challenges with my overlocker (okay that’s so strange since it’s called a serger here in the states! *smile*). I’m glad you enjoyed the class.

  18. Stephanie says:

    Karen its so great to see you learning your overlocker! I bought a new one not that long ago and am learning as much as I can from my local dealership and from books. One really great book I bought recently is Serger Secrets published by Rodale books (NAYY) with contributions from a bunch of experts from different brands. Its a very, very comprehensive book with loads of photos (like 500+) that are very helpful to understand what’s going on and how to fix it. Your local library might have it or I know the Book Depository certainly does.
    What are you going to make next with yours?

  19. kuby2u says:

    Congrats on learning your serger. It is a wonderful tool. I use my serger alot and makes really quick work of seam finishing and sewing knits. The garments look so professional when complete. There are also all sorts of decorative embellishments you can do with such as pintucks and really pretty rolled hems with thicker and novelty threads!! Enjoy!

  20. Thanks for the shout out! Hope to see you again soon at The Make Lounge. Go forth and overlock! :)

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  22. CuriousGem says:

    Hi Karen. I’m thinking of doing this course. Did they teach you how to do curves? I can already (sort of) thread my machine so it’s actually using it I need to get the hang of.
    Thanks

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