Firstly, I will state that Lidl has not asked me to do a review, nor did they supply a product for me to test. I paid £139 for my overlocker at my local Lidl, and as it’s what the shopping channels would call a “considered purchase” I looked around for reviews before I bought it but couldn’t find any. This post will, I hope, help people who are dithering about whether or not to purchase if it comes on sale again.
The weekly Lidl email had alerted me that this overlocker was going to become available, so I made sure I needed to call in to buy coffee a few days after the overlockers went on sale! The lack of reviews troubled me, but the very kind assistant in my local Lidl opened one of the boxes for me and it didn’t take me long to decide I was going to take a chance. At £150 less than the model I had been planning to buy, but with all the same features, I decided it was worth the gamble. Read on to find out if I feel it’s paid off!
What features does it have?
12 stitch types
4-thread overlock, 3-thread overlock (wide & narrow), 3-thread narrow edge, 3-thread flatlock (wide & narrow), 3-thread rolled edge, 2-thread overedge (wide & narrow), 2-thread wrapped overlock (wide & narrow), 2-thread rolled edge.
So far, I’ve only used the 4-thread overlock; it stitched perfectly.
Colour coded threading
Here is a picture showing the inside of the machine & the illustration of how to thread it. There are also good instructions in the manual.
One of the lower loopers did become unthreaded once, I still don’t know why, but I followed the instructions to re-thread it & it really wasn’t as scary as I’d thought it would be! I remembered general overlocker advice I’d read, which said that you should thread it in the order recommended by the manufacturer to ensure it works properly. I did exactly that, and the machine has been fine ever since.
Built in rolled hem
I haven’t tested this yet, I might make that the subject of another post at some point. There is a switch setting for this next to the needle plate, which can be seen in the picture of the cutting width lever below, just above the red box. There are also good instructions in the book.
The free arm is a really useful feature in my opinion. Here’s a picture of the machine showing the free arm in all its glory:
Adjustable cutting width
The ability to adjust the cut was one of the features I felt was an absolute must for my overlocker. But have I used it? No! Anyway, this picture shows the slider which adjusts the cutting width:
And here is the machine set to the the 2 extremes of the settings, it’s hard to explain how it works but I hope the following photos will help. The top picture shows it set to the narrowest cutting width, the bottom with it set to 7mm cutting width:
The stitch width settings are well explained in the manual.
This allows the two sets of feed teeth to be adjusted for different weights of fabric. The manual does explain this in more detail, with suggested settings for different types of fabrics. I haven’t adjusted this at all so far.
You can also adjust the pressure foot pressure to suit the type of fabric you’re cutting (less for lightweight fabrics, more for heavier fabrics).
Ability to overlock without cutting
The upper cutter can be turned off by a switch on the left side of the machine, shown here at the bottom centre of the picture:
What else is included in the box?
The machine comes with a very good manual. Also included are a pack of extra needles, a screwdriver, tweezers, an Allen key for changing needles, a 2-thread overlock converter and the foot pedal.
What is not included?
It does not come with any kind of cover, or anything to catch the material which has been cut off.
It only comes with a very small amount of thread, but Lidl sell that too at reasonable prices.
Overall I am very happy with my overlocker, and have used it to make a basic t-shirt – my first foray into knit garments! It has features that I didn’t expect to find on a supermarket machine, such as the adjustable cutting width. The manual is very good: clear, concise explanations with line drawings, & tables showing the recommended settings.
The only problem I’ve found so far is that the machine lacks markings on the needle plate to show where to line up the fabric and ensure you don’t cut off more than you planned. This isn’t the first overlocker I’ve used to lack this, though, it isn’t always available on more expensive models either. I’ve used a red marker pen on the presser foot to show where the left needle will stitch, but on taking the photos I realised this has already faded so I will have to come up with another solution.
I was concerned that, as it’s at the very cheap end of the spectrum, the machine would be very noisy. It’s not quiet, but it’s not as noisy as I feared, and I think to buy a quieter overlocker would require a lot more expense. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather buy fabric!
6th April 2019 – Edited to add: my verdict on this machine 5 months on is available here.