Can An Overlocker Be Used As A Sewing Machine?

Are you wondering what’s the difference between a sewing machine and an overlocker? Well my friend you’re not alone. Overlockers and sewing machines both are used for sewing. People often get confused between the two and their workings.

These two machines compliment each other and are almost used for the exact same thing but there’s a difference between the two. Let’s take a look at some of the confusion that stitchers get,

Can An Overlocker Be Used As A Sewing Machine?

An overlocker cannot be used as a sewing machine. Both are used for sewing but both make different stitches. They are not the same and can’t replace each other.

There are some functions of an overlocker which can be done by a sewing machine and there are also some functions of a sewing machine that an overlocker can’t do. But if you need a team of excellent machines, then it is advisable to both have a sewing machine and an overlocker.

What Is The Difference Between An Overlocker And A Sewing Machine?

One of the key differences between the two is that an overlocker is a special-purpose machine. Meaning it can make professional stitches and produce professionally finished seams.
Here is a comparison table between the two,

Overlocker Sewing Machine
Zig Zag Stitch No Yes
Insert Zippers No Yes
Attach Piping Yes Yes
Straight Stitch No Yes
Create Buttonholes No Yes
Embroidery Stitch No Yes
Mock Overlock / Overlock Stitch Yes Yes
Rolled Hem Yes Yes
Cutting Knife Yes No
Gather Fabric Yes Yes
Mock Flatlock Stitch Yes No
Average Sewing Speed 1300-1500 stitches per min 300-500 stitches per min
Number Of Threads Needed 4+ 1
Blind Hem Stitch Yes Yes

What Is An Overlock Sewing Machine?

An overlock sewing machine (also known as a serger) is a special purpose sewing machine. It only specializes in knitting the edges of a fabric and giving a neat and professional look.

It is a very versatile machine which sews using 3, 4 or even 5 threads at one go to neaten the edges and also cut off the extra fabric.

What Does An Overlocking Stitch Look Like?

The stitch made by an overlocker is a combination of a straight stitch and a zigzag stitch. It can sew forward as well as backward in a straight line. Between every set, it stitches in a zigzag manner. This is how most store-bought clothes are sewn.

When To Use An Overlock Machine Over A Sewing Machine?

To do stitching which gives off a professional finish or a project that entails hemming, seaming or edging faster, an overlock would be suitable for you.

You can use a sewing machine to do an overlock stitch but it probably won’t be as good a stitch as made by an overlock machine.

Overlocks are quicker and much easier when it comes to eliminating unnecessary fabric that a sewing machine can’t get rid of.

A stitch made by an overlock machine is much stronger, durable and has a better stitch.

If you’ve got a hemming project, you would need an overlocker instead of a sewing machine. If you were to do this with a sewing machine, the process would take much longer and extra steps.

For example, when working on hemming pants, you’ll have to use scissors to cut the bottom fast. You’ll then have to zigzag it in order to avoid any fraying, then fold the seam and iron it before folding again.

See what I mean…

But if you do it with an overlock machine, all you would have to do is serge the bottom of the pants, fold and topstitch it.

When To Use A Sewing Machine Over An OverLocker?

Some people do no separate clothes before washing and put all of them in a single load just to save time. After the cycle, the clothes either come stained or deformed. All the materials of the fabric have their own specific properties that should be kept in mind before putting them in a washing machine. Not every detergent is suitable for all the fabric materials. Some heavy detergents do more harm than good to the delicate fabric materials like silk and wool.

When To Use A Sewing Machine Over An OverLocker?

If you need to perform zipping, topstitching, making button holes or creating decorative stitches, then a sewing machine will be best to perform all these functions.

All of these functions cannot be performed by an overlocker. There are some sewing machines which offer some features of an overlock machine such as edging and seaming.

If you feel that an overlock is way up your budget, then the best you can do is buy a sewing machine which is capable of doing edging and seaming.

Such machines come with an inbuilt attachment that enables them to perform the same functions as an overlocker.

But there’s one thing that you should keep in mind; there will be a difference in the quality of stitching done by a sewing machine and an overlock machine.

A sewing machine cannot beat the quality of an overlock machine.

What Overlock Machine Should I buy?

If you’re looking to buy a sewing machine with overlocking features then, I suggest you buy the Janome CoverPro 900CPX as it is considered the best out of all the sewing machines which have overlocking features.

Janome CoverPro 900CPX

Here’s what Janome CoverPro has to offer;

Seam Tightening System (STS)

Janome 900CPX offers a spring instead of a thread tension dial so as to reduce the looper thread.

Due to this, you’ll get a sturdy, tight and a flat stitch on thick fabrics and looser stitches on fabrics which require flexibility.

Free Arm Configuration

You can finish the cuffs, sleeves, waistband and other hard-to-reach seams with better and faster handling with this.

Easiest Threading System:

The upper needle threading is color coded making it easier to see and is smooth as well. The lower needle threading system is the easiest to use. You just need to pull the thread through, push close the looper and viola! You’re ready to stitch.

Extra Large Bed Space

Janome CoverPro offers a wide sewing space of about 4 inch x 5.5 inch. You can actually make a cover stitch in the middle of the garment if ever required.


  • 1 needle – 2 thread chain stitch.
  • 2 needle – 3 thread cover stitch.
  • Seam Tightening System (STS).
  • Free Arm.
  • 1 or 2 needle
  • Stitch length 1 to 4mm.
  • Stitch width up to 5mm.
  • Speeds up to 1,000 spm.
  • Extra large bed space.
  • Quick Reference Sticker for stitch selection.
  • Soft cover included.
  • Vertical needle drop.
  • Foot pressure adjustment.


The basic difference between a sewing machine and an overlocking machine is that a sewing machine has more functions whereas an overlocking machine is a special-purpose machine.

There are sewing machines which have overlocking functions but there is a quality difference in them. If you’re looking for limited quality stitching then you can buy a sewing machine which offers overlocking functions. Janome CoverPro 900CPX is considered to be the best sewing machine with overlocking functions.