Damn pins! Overlocker woes…

So if you have jumped here from my It’s a Dog’s life post the you will already know that I rather stupidly lost a pin in amongst miles of satin and tulle a few weeks ago.

So there I am merrily cutting out Bear’s soft ‘cone of shame’… I get to my overlocker and suddenly remember I’d ever so slightly mashed up my cutting blades! DOH

When I committed the crime I did run off to buy new blades, had a mild coronary at the cost, and forgot about if for another week or two. Then, when I was feeling a little flusher in the purse department I looked online for some new blades.

I started out on that well known auction site and found several blades available at wildly prices. Most of the cheaper options come from the Far East and are ‘copies’ not actual Branded blades. Now my overlocker is somewhat precious to me so I opted for the safe but expensive Branded option. Before I went ahead and ordered I did do a quick online search and discovered a handy Sewing Machine specialist company that could supply my blades reasonably priced but above all quickly! I also reasoned that using an independent company I would, hopefully get better service and advice if need be. And I was right as they were very helpfully indeed 😀

The still set me back £15 for the lower blade and a whopping £28 for the upper blade… I wouldn’t mind but they aren’t exactly big now are they!  Anyhoo, they duly arrived and I put them somewhere safe until I was ready to get the tools out.

Obviously I’ve been a wee bit pre-occupied with my poor Bear and his ruptured cruciate to be fussing about sewing much of late. Along the way I finally managed to sell my big corner suite so the house is a bit of a wreck whilst I rearranged furniture and decorate and the like… which reminds me… I got a fab new antique book case that needs a new leaded glass door so look out for a new post on my trying my hand a leaded glasswork and maybe even a tiffany style lampshade 😮

So I’m sewing again… the house is a wreck but I really need to get this Cone done for Bears’ sake… Do you think I could find the blades? Could I hell! I even remembered throwing out the padded envelopes they were delivered in so after searching the kitchen, the dining room, the living room and the sewing room several times I donned the marigolds and went out to the bin to go through the last bag I put out! Thankfully we recycle lots and have very little waste so the bag wasn’t too grim. I found the envelopes but alas they were bereft of blades. So I searched the house again for about the fourth time and still no blades. The thought of shelling out another £43 was killing me. I went back in the sewing room to re-check the shelves and storage jars. I accidently knocked the sewing machine and what do you think was laying there in full view? ARGHHH I went through that horrid bin for nothing! Not to mention wasted best part of an hour and a half looking for something that was right under my nose the whole time.

So… on to changing the blades…

First and foremost READ your machines manual. Every machine is different and we all have different levels of ability and confidence.  I can’t stress enough that you should look up manuals and videos online or with the software/dvd’s that came with your machine and make sure you are happy to do this yourself before you even begin.

So here we go…. The first bit may not be in any instruction manual but I think it’s a good idea anyway…

  1. Turn the power off and unplug your machine.

  2. Remove the presser foot and open up the machine to expose the blades.

  3. Manually turn the machine so that the feed dog teeth drop below the sewing plate.

  4. Now take a small metal ruler or similar implement and lay it flat along the sewing bed plate and take a photograph of the blades in place. Make sure this is a nice clear picture before you continue as you can/might need to use it as a reference later.

  5. Unscrew the top blade and remove.

  6. Unscrew the bottom blade and remove.

  7. Now get a small brush and give the insides a good ole clean up. You could also use a small hoover…. The battery operated kind you can buy to clean out your computer keyboard. Anything to clear out all those tiny fabric fibres and dust. Some people use cans of compressed air to blow out the debris and dust but there is a school of thought that says this will actually do more harm buy blowing the dust higher up into the deeper workings of your machine where you can’t get it out again.

  8. Consult your manual to see where to apply a drop or two of lubricating oil to moving parts.

  9. Take your new lover blade and fix in place. Some blades have an elongated fixing hole so that the blades position can be moved up or down.

  10. Now this is where you refer back to your photograph. You should be able to see the position of the blades edge in relation to the metal ruler you placed across the feed dogs.

  11. Take your new upper blade and repeat the same process using your photo as a guide to adjust the height/position of the blade.

And you’re pretty much done. Just a quick test …With the presser foot back on and the inner workings of the machine back undercover turn the power on and run a scrap of fabric through the machine. If you are happy with the results switch off, unplug and then make sure everything is back in place and all covers secured.

Your machine is now ready to go 😀


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As for my old blades… they are too expensive to throw away so I did a little more research and found a company in the UK where I can send them, and all manner of other things to including pinking shears, to be sharpened. A pair of overlock blades is a measly £5 so despite conflicting information as to whether or not they can/should be sharpened I figure is worth a try even if I only use them in an emergency whilst I’m waiting for new blades to arrive.

Just a few questions before you go…

How often do you clean and oil your machines?

Do you use a new machine needle for each new garment or just when the fabric changes?

When was the last time you changed your overlocker needle/s?

To my utter shame I realised I have NEVER changed my overlocker needles… EVER! How bad is that?! I use a new needle in my machine for each and every new garment and/or each new fabric type but I have never changed my overlock needle… Shame on me! I really need to look after my poor Brother 1034D Special Edition better.


Blades and parts… Lots to buy online, fast delivery and very helpful indeed.


Sharpening service … I’ve not actually used this service yet and others are available so please shop around and read reviews before making your mind up which service is best for you. Once I have sent my old blades away and got them back again I shall post a review of the results 😀


Happy Sewing X

About acraftteacuppa

Vintage kinda gal loves all things 40s 50s and art deco. Loves all kinds of crafts especially sewing. addicted to fabric, antiques and shoes. Have two sons and two Akitas that I adore. Passionate about our armed forces, WW1 family history. Living on WW2 Rations for Charity for a whole year. Would one day like to have a tea shop/haberdashery/sewing rooms to relax chat and teach/share all sorts of craft skills in <3
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1 Response to Damn pins! Overlocker woes…

  1. Pingback: It’s a Dogs Life… It is a sewing blog honest! | ACraftTeaCuppa

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