A four-thread overlocker is primarily used for sewing woven and knitted fabrics because it is strong and flexible. This is because it uses two needle threads and sews two rows of stitching in your material. The four-thread overlocker is great for flexibility and durability; hence, why it is highly preferred.
When it comes to a thread overlocker, the four-thread version is a good bet, and on this note, we will discuss its uses.
In this article, I am going to talk about what is a 4 thread overlocker, what is does and what you can use it for.
What Is A 4 Thread Overlocker?
The four-thread overlocker is one of the most common construction stitches. It uses two needles and two loopers; hence, it is known as the strongest construction stitch.
This thread overlocker is wider than other types and provides two rows of stitching, while the looper threads wrap the edges of the fabric. It gives your material a sturdier seam and is the best fit for medium and heavy-weight fabrics.
The four-thread overlocker also provides a chain stitch or safety stitch while stitching and overcasting seams. The chain stitch is the best option for sewing wovens because they are non-stretchy.
The safety switch is suitable for both wovens and knitted fabrics. It is ideal for sewing areas of stress like the crotch or sleeve seams of garments.
If you want to know more about sewing machines, overlockers and which are the best to buy head over to my sewing machines and overlockers page where I have plenty of articles that are both great reads and very informative.
What Are the Uses of A 4 Thread Overlocker?
A four-thread overlocker can be used for the general construction of seams like knits or woven. It is quite advance than the two and three-thread overlockers; hence, it is mostly preferred. Here are some important uses of the four-thread overlocker:
1. Sewing areas of stress in garments
The four-thread overlocker is the right choice when sewing areas of stress in garments. Some areas are difficult to sew because of their location and accessibility. They are also not easy to sew because overlapping may occur, and the part sewn may have holes in them. The best option is to use a thread overlocker that is both flexible and durable.
With the four-thread overlocker, parts like the sleeves of blouses and shirts or the crotch of pants can be seen easily. Fitted garments are also stressful to sew, but a four-thread overlocker can do the job effectively. Because this overlocker has two looper threads, it wraps nicely around fabrics, especially the thick ones. Garments that are prone to wear and tear are best sewn with the four-thread overlocker.
2. Installing elastics in fabrics
Some garments require elastics in them, and while it may be difficult to install them with another thread overlocker, it is installed easily with a four-thread overlocker. This thread overlocker has two needle threads and two looper threads that aid it in establishing elastics in fabrics.
If you have been thinking of a suitable thread overlocker to add elastics to your materials, then worry no more. With a four-thread overlocker, you have the solution to such a problem.
3. Inserting zippers
Many garments require zippers, and while they are both for functional and fashion-wise purposes, it takes the right type of thread overlocker to insert them successfully.
The thread overlocker used to insert zippers determines how lasting such a zipper will be on the garment. Because the four-thread overlocker is strong, flexible, and durable, it is a perfect match for inserting zippers into garments.
Can A 4 Thread Overlocker Be Used on Any Fabric?
Yes, you can use a four-thread overlocker for most fabrics since it can sew both knits and wovens. It is best for both stretchy and non-stretchy fabrics as it provides both stability and durability. It can be used for seams of wovens fabrics, especially lightweight ones.
If you intend to use it wrapping edges of materials nicely and cleaner, it is highly recommended. This is because its extra needle thread helps secure the looper threads that bind the edges of fabrics. This way, it helps prevent the fraying of materials.
However, if you want a cleaner edge without bulkier seams, you may need to opt for another option., especially for thicker fabrics sewn industrially. Because the end products will naturally end up wide, and you may not want thicker seams, a four-thread overlocker may not be suitable.
For those using a domestic overlocker, a four-thread version may be too much as it can create bulkier seams. However, if you work with an industrial overlocker and work with various fabrics specifically of different thicknesses, a four-thread overlocker may be the consistency you need.
How To Use A 4 Thread Overlocker
Using a four-thread overlocker involves threading the overlocker machine, adjusting the tension, then finishing the seams. Before using a four-thread overlocker, here are the things required when using a four-thread overlocker.
- An overlocker machine
- Four spools of thread
- A piece of fabric
- Overlocker machine manual
Here is a step-to-step guide on using a four-thread overlocker:
1. Threading an overlocker machine
- It is best to turn off the machine before threading it for safety reasons. You can do this by switching the power button off, as indicated in the manual.
- Follow the correct threading order, according to what the machine manual dictates. A four-thread overlocker usually has two spools of threads in the needles and two for looping beneath them. The two looper threads are typically placed in upper and lower loopers on the sides of the machine.
- For the threading of the needles, place the threads on the spindles; they were accessible and not where you can easily knock them over. Put the thread through the needles on the overlocker machine. Your tweezers may come in handy here.
- The upper looper is usually located on the right side of the machine. Set a spool of thread on the upper looper, and place it on the correct spindle as shown in the manual. Drag the upper looper thread up so that it lies below the needles. Remove the machine’s front faceplate and pull the looper thread through the metal loops beneath the plate.
- Set the spool of thread on the second spindle and bring it over the machine’s front for the lower looper. The tweezers are useful here as you need them to help you get the thread through the machine’s tight spots.
2. Adjusting the Tension
- To adjust the tension on the machine, switch on the power button.
- An overlocker machine can do various things, including finishing raw knit edges, gathering fabrics, creating a rolled hem, and many more. Determine what you want to do with the machine, which will help determine the stitch to use. Check through the machine’s manual for what stitch to use for what purpose.
- The machine’s manual should also point out the required tension for each thread’s spool. Make adjustments to each spool’s tension dial accordingly.
- Try a practice stitch by placing your foot on the machine pedal and letting the machine create a looped thread. You do not require fabric under the needles for a practice stitch.
- With the overlocker machine’s manual, you can inspect the looped thread to clarify how it is meant to turn out. The loops and interlocking stitches need to be even, devoid of too loose or too even areas.
- Adjust the tension dials of each spool of thread on the overlocker machine if the stitches are loose to make it tighter.
- For puckered or bunched-up stitches, adjust the tension dials to loosen the tension on the machine.
- Now, you can practice stitching a piece of fabric with the machine. Practice until the stitches become even before starting on the real materials.
3. Finishing the Seams
- Lift the metal presser foot by lifting the presser foot lever, then turn the needle dial towards you to lift the needles.
- Lift the string up and back while you slide your fabric under the presser foot and needles.
- Lower the foot by lowering the presser lever to lower the foot, then drop the needles by turning the needle dial towards you.
- Most overlocker machines usually cut your fabrics while finishing the seams. Check the right side of the needle for the seam allowance numbers, then push the material past the blade accordingly. The seam allowance numbers can range from 1.5 to 2.5 cm, depending on what you used when measuring your fabric.
- Use the foot pedal to guide and control the speed when sewing. Avoid pushing on the fabric too hard while guiding the material straight while sewing. The feet on the overlocker machine will help drive the fabric through.
- At the end of your seam, continue sewing for a few stitches to create a tail of stitches, which you can tuck under and hand sew in place.