Minimise Overlocker Repairs by Preventing Fabric Swallowing

Posted on: 6 November 2017

Newbie and veteran users of a sewing machine will inevitably experience fabric swallowing at one time or another. You are busy sewing a delicate fabric with precise stitches only for your machine to abruptly such the material into the needle-plate, ruining your stitches and possibly harming the fabric itself. What you may not realise is that if this is a regular occurrence, there will be a lot of lint, thread and fabric bits accumulating inside your machine, which would lead to regular overlocker repairs. Here are some tips that you could use to stop the fabric swallowing from happening and inadvertently reduce the need for overlocker repairs.

Always sew with a fine needle

A mistake that you should avoid is using the same needle for every sewing project. Just as fabrics come with different densities, you should also strive to use a needle that matches the thinness of the fabric. When you sew with a needle that is thicker than the actual fabric, you stand the risk of pushing the fabric into the needle-plate due to excessive sewing pressure. In addition to this, always utilise sharp needles when sewing. Over time, needles become blunt due to wear, and this impedes their ability to puncture the fabric cleanly. Thus, it is recommended to switch out your sewing needles after every few uses.

Conceal the needle-plate

Some people may assume that covering he needle-plate would be an excessive measure to take, but in truth, it can significantly help in preventing swallowing of the fabric mainly if you are working with fragile materials such as silk or chiffon. You do not have to conceal the late permanently though. Instead, cut some stick tape and adhere it over the open space in the needle-plate located directly under your sewing needle. Make sure that you do not tape over other components of the sewing machine such as the feed-dogs as this is critical in providing you with a constant feed of fabric. Once the sticky tape is in place, stitch one hole through the tape with the needle that you plant to use. This new hole is what the needle will pass through when you are sewing.

Sew away from the raw edge

Another reason why fabric and thread continuously get stuck inside the needle-plate is if you start your sewing directly at the raw edge of the material. If you are trying to create a seam, place your stitches a few centimetres inside the raw edge so that the loose fabric is not in contact with the needle-plate.