O is for Overlock Stitch


The overlock stitch is a specialized stitch on the sewing machine for giving seams a finished look that keeps the fabric from unraveling.

The overlock stitch is a combination of a straight stitch and a zigzag. It sews backward and forward in a straight line, but between every set of straight stitches, it sews a zigzag.

When I learned how to make clothing, my grandmother taught me to always use pinking shears that cut the edge of the fabric in a zig-zag pattern.  This was to keep the fabric from unraveling.  I hated to use those shears, they were hard to use and hurt my hand.  At the time my grandmother had only a straight stitch sewing machine.  Now, I use the overlock stitch whenever I make clothing.

The overlock stitch mimics a serger which trims and overlocks in one step.  The beauty of having this stitch on a regular sewing machine is that you only need one machine to accomplish both jobs.