Monday, November 4, 2013

Overcasting your cares away!

Are you like me and tend to do all your sewing on the one machine? Not everyone might own an over-locker, especially beginner sewers, but there is a way to finish your edges very easily without having to buy or lug out your over locker for what might only be a small job. 

Most modern sewing machines come with a range of feet - one of which is the overcasting foot. It's a rather distinct foot and only serves one purpose - albeit a very good purpose.


  
The overcasting foot helps you stitch right on the very edge of the fabric, creating a row of zig zag stitches which help stops the fabric from fraying and of course gives it a nice finish.


Along the edge of the foot is a sort-of guide wall. On my foot it is the little black piece of metal. This guide helps to keep the fabric straight and stop from wandering off into the middle. 

My machines a bit dusty isn't it? 


It also has guiding wires to make sure that the next stitch is in line with the previous stitch. Remember to pull away from the machine when taking out your fabric piece as you don't want to damage these wires.


To use your overcasting foot - first thread your machine and set it up for a zig-zag stitch by selecting the right program, stitch length and width. 


These are my machines settings, but you can test to get the right setting for your own machine. Also ensure your tension is either at 4 or 3 (or the neutral position for your machine)

Insert your foot (do this after threading as it can be tricky to thread with this foot on)  
Take your fabric and position it under the foot and alongside the guide


Press your foot down and begin to sew. 


As you sew be sure to keep the fabric straight. After a while you may find that you only really need to hold the fabric as the feed dog and the foot will do most of the work for you. 

To turn a corner stop just before the edge, lift the foot, raise the needle and pull the garment away from yourself releasing it from the wires. If you try to pivot the normal way by leaving the needle in, the stitches you just made will get twisted in the guiding wires.

Pull the fabric away from you in the direction of the arrow to remove the fabric

 Turning round edges should be easy - simply guide the fabric price around slowly as you stitch.

   
Troubleshooting 
You may find some stitches bunching along the edge - this is because you are giving the foot too much fabric. But this can also happen on lightweight fabrics as well by the nature of the fabric. Don't stress too much if this happens - as over casting is often just for finishing the raw edges and these will be hidden anyway on the inside anyway

The left shows a correctly overcasted stitch, the right shows where it starts bunching

You may also find your fabric slipping under the foot and the stitches coming in from the edge. If this happens, reposition your fabric and be sure to feed your fabric carefully so that it stays right near the guiding wall of the foot.

Its a bit hard to see - sorry!
Hopefully this has been useful to you! Do you have any other ways you like to finish edges? Do you even worry about finishing your edges?

Let me know in the comments if you have any more questions regarding the overcasting foot 

Cat xo

15 comments:

  1. Oh thank you so much for this input. Exactly what I need, I hope I can find a foot for my old Elena Zig Zag machine.

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    1. Hey! Im glad you liked it. Perhaps you might be able to find one on ebay or maybe your local sewing store might sell them if Elna dont change their models too often?

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  2. I've never bothered to check if I have an overcasting foot, I will do later though! I normally just zig zag stitch right close to the edge or I use pinking shears to finish my edges. I have thought about getting an overlocker but I'm not sure I would get enough use out of it to justify the purchase x

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    1. Oh i couldnt trust myself to sew on the edge. even when trying to sew 5mm pintucks i always manage to go off the edge. I have an overlocker i can borrow but i dont even know how to use it!

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  3. I didn't even know such a thing existed - it looks very much like the zipper foot, do they do the same? xxx

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    1. They're a little bit different - the overcasting foot has a guard to stop it from going over the edge. Unless your machine combines the two? :)

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  4. I didn't know such a thing existed either! I must see if my machine has one, but I have an overlocker, anyway, and I bloody love it! XXX

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    1. ah! Smarty pants. i suppose if you have one and its already set up then why not use it!

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  5. What an interesting foot - I don't have one but my machine has a heap of other stitches that can be used in different ways to help with finishing edges. I hate an unfinished edge - I like it to look as nice on the inside as possible! My fave is french seams. Are you a Spotlight VIP member? I got an email to say they have husqvarna overlockers 50% off this week, $250! Am so tempted.......!

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    1. oh! maybe you can buy the foot from your machine manufacturer? i know my machine can fit all kinds of fancy quilting ones but i sold them off a long time ago. I agree - nice on the inside is just as nice as on the outside. i love looking at finished garments and all the inside workings.
      I think i am a Spotlight member! but all the stores around me involve a at least a 20 min car ride even though i live in metro Sydney....

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  6. What a neat little foot! I feel bad saying this but I use an over lock machine just from habit from learning how to sew in design school. They made me use an industrial one, now that is quite the task to thread it took me 30 minutes every time. The one I have at home is a domestic(gift from my granny when I was in school), I finally know how to work it good but it took me years to get it just perfect. If your just sewing for your self at home this little foot is great and it takes up less room in the sewing room ;) I have 3 machines, a giant industrial Juki strait stitch, a domestic Singer and domestic Singer overlock that I store when not using them.

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    1. Aw well you lucky then! I don't even know where to start for threading them but i have used on before because my friend has one. 3 machines! wow. sometimes i think i should have heavy duty one but my little Janome does ok.

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  7. I didn't even know about this foot- haha! I've only ever used the standard one and the zipper foot :) I have a serger but have never learned to use it so this will come in handy- thanks!

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    1. ah! well thats much better! i dont have one, but i guess if you dont want to rethread the machine for a crafty bit of fabric maybe this foot is useful?

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  8. I love mine. But I never knew what it was called. I've been calling it the faux-verlock!

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