Can You Use Overlock Thread for Regular Sewing?

Walking into a fabric or sewing store can be daunting when you catch sight of the vast spools of thread. If you made the mistake of picking up the overlocking thread and are considering using it on your regular sewing machine, don’t try it just yet! 

What Is Overlock Thread?

First of all, what is overlock thread? Well, let’s clear that up. Overlock thread is a flexible, powerful stitch thread used to sew different fabrics.

It is designed for overlock machines, meaning the machine uses 2 or more spools of thread to create a seam or finish a raw edge of the fabric. It is a thinner thread, or a finer thread, than traditional sewing machine threads. It will still create a strong, durable end seam despite being lighter.

Overlock thread comes on a larger spool than other thread types, with approximately 2,000 yards.

As if this wasn’t complicated enough, there are also several types of overlock threads.

  • Polyester Overlocking Thread
  • Nylon Overlocking Thread
  • Cotton Overlocking Thread
  • Wooly Nylon Overlocking Thread

What Is Overlocking Thread Used For?

Overlocking thread finds its application in frayed edges, tightening stitches, and cutting out clothes and sewing holes. The overlocking machine uses this thread to create an overlocking seam that resembles hand sewing.

However, this overlock seam is different from a hand-stitched seam as it uses an interlocking seam allowance to add to the strength of the seam. Don’t be fooled, though; still avoid using overlock thread for the major seams in your clothing, especially the pants!

What Is The Difference Between Overlock Thread and Regular Thread?

Glad you asked; the simplest way to think of it is that overlock thread is weaker compared to regular sewing thread. Regular thread is made up of 3 plies for the most part, while overlock thread only consists of 2 plies.

Not sure what this means? That’s okay! Regular threads are made up of a wide variety of materials such as Nylon, Ryan, acrylic, etc. Compared to overlock thread, it has various applications due to its larger material variety and strength.

Let’s face it, one of everyone’s biggest fears is having the seam in the seat of their pants ripping when they bend over. To avoid that, avoid overlocking thread versus regular thread on that seam!

Can You Use Overlock Thread For Regular Sewing?

Can You Use Overlock Thread For Regular Sewing

Unfortunately, overlock thread cannot be used for regular sewing. It can be very unclear because you can use overlock thread for regular sewing by fulfilling specific requirements but do not try to use it on your traditional sewing machine.

Overlock thread is shockingly light compared to standard sewing machine thread. Through a serger, it works at a very high speed that feeds 100’s of stitches in a minute.

When you put overlock thread on a regular sewing machine, the thread is too thin to create a strong seam. What does that matter? Well, it is less pleasant to the touch, but more importantly, you run the risk of the seam unraveling or shredding.

If you were to wind up a spool of overlock thread on a bobbin, the thread would remain loose. This will cause the thread to knot easily and an all-around headache to sew with! If the knotting easily and creating a mess wasn’t bad enough, it also tends to build up lint very quickly in your machine versus other type of thread.

Long story short, attempting to use overlock thread for regular sewing may seem like a good idea, but save yourself the time and headache and stick to regular thread!

What Types Of Machines Can I Use Overlock Thread On?

Despite not being able to use Overlock thread on your regular sewing machine, there are many different machines you can use it on! Take a quick peek at the list before throwing away all of that overlocking thread you accidentally bought! Here’s a quick list of a few you can use it on:

  • Singer cutting S0230 four-thread overlocking machine
  • Singer pro-finish 14CG754 2-3-4 overlocking machine
  • Juki 1 Needle 3 thread overlocking machine
  • Juki MO644D portable overlocking machine
  • Bernette 64 airlock air threading overlocking machine
  • Brother 1034d serger, heavy-duty metallic frame overlock machine
  • Brother DZ1234 metal frame overlocking machine
  • Janome 634D electronic overlocking machine

Notice the trend? As long as it is an overlocking machine, it’s a green light on the overlocking thread!