Are you wondering if you really need to purchase that serger? (aka overlocker) With the price of new sergers over $300, it’s really worth taking an honest look at how often you are going to sew. Let’s be real. Is it worth the interest on a credit card? It might be worth the cost, indeed, if you’ve got a few dollars for it, but…
The truth is, if you are only occasionally sewing knit fabrics you might be able to get away with just using the overcast foot with corresponding overcast stitch on your computerized sewing machine. This stitch is also known as a “whipstitch” in hand sewing.
The overlock stitch is different from the zig zag stitch which is also a go-to for sewists to finish edges without a serger. The overlock stitch as one closed edge, whilst the zig zag stitch does not. The zig zag stitch might have a little more give and flexibility because of this. See more on the zig zag stitch here.
The featured image shows an overcast stitch made on a simple Brother sewing machine with an overcast foot and corresponding stitch. The right hand image looks different, but it’s the same fabric with different lighting and background. However, the right hand side was done with a serger.
BELOW SERGER RECOMMENDATION
If you must purchase a serger and/or you prefer the appearance of the finished edge, we have the below recommendation from USA Today 2023.
Above images are excerpts from our ebook, Sewing Machine Secrets, available exclusively with the purchase of our Sewing Pattern Library, in our offer here (without video)
There is a noticable difference yes! However, if the edge is only going to be visible on the inside of the garment and never revealing on the outside, it may be a great solution!. We find stable knit fabrics with a small amount of spandex such as scuba crepe, or poly mixes like double pontes are great for overcast stitches.
I would not recommend it on a tank top or tank dress. Those seams will be fully visible at the neck line and arm holes. But you may get away with it on most other clothing items.
Above is an Overcast Presser Foot for a Brother machine. Notice, we’ve pointed to the part on the foot where the needle will pass over the edge of the fabric. So you will line your fabric up to that bar.
Read your instruction manual for the needle placement, stitch length and width.
The overcast stitch should help contain fraying edges as well for some wovens, but you’ve got to play around with the settings because the overcast foot is not as good as a serger and you don’t want to assume it will be the answer to all of your prayers.
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