Monday, 4 October 2010

Sharpening Overlocker Blades

Gay of Handmade asked
"two questions ... where do you get your fold over elastic from? and, can you tell me how you sharpen your overlocker blades? I'm tempted to but would like some guidance."


I may have mentioned two or three hundred times that my husband likes woodwork. Sharpening is a topic close his heart. He has several books about it, his favourite being this one.

The complete guide to sharpening by Leonard Lee.
This is a very thorough and well written book. There is a slightly condescending chapter about sharpening your wife's sewing scissors. This is undoubtedly well intentioned, but I find it rather irritatingly sexist. However, in our house, I sew, and my husband does woodwork, so who am I to complain about stereotypes? I sharpened my own overlocker blades Mr Lee. Take that!

It is not difficult to improve the sharpness of the flat (not bevelled) edge of the overlocker blade. It is, however, tedious, messy and time consuming. If it was easy, quick and cheap to buy a new blade, I would buy them. As it takes about 3 months for the local shop to get them in, I resort to sharpening, especially when I am feeling stingy thrifty. I do not attempt to sharpen the bevelled edge. This is beyond my skills and interest level.

The short description: Place the blade on the wet sharpening surface, rub back and forth for a very long time until it is sharper.

Much better descriptions

Sharpening using sandpaper

Source of pictured equipment, and some descriptions of techniques


From left to right - coarse sandpaper taped to a flat surface, Japanese wet-stone, Diamond sharpener.
The price escalates from left to right, and the speed of sharpening also escalates from left to right. My husband has already made these investments, so they don't have to come out of my self imposed sewing budget.

2. Fold over elastic. I have been on a permanent quest for retail fold over elastic sources for several years now. Fold over elastic is allegedly available at Spotlight, but I can never find any, unless it is white, very coarse, and in a packet that says "Replace your fitted sheet elastic". As far as I can work out, most lingerie type fold over elastic in Australia is distributed by Sullivan's, which also owns Lincraft. Neither Birch nor Leutenegger (other main haberdashery distributors in Australia) have coloured fold over elastic on their websites. Brampton's used to distribute it, but Bramptons no longer supplies independent shops, only Spotlight. I have generally been able to find some fold over elastic in the larger Lincrafts, such as Brisbane city. It also sometimes appears in Dimmey's. I do not usually visit either of these shops, and have bought large quantities of several colours on ebay. I will use it all one day, except possibly the hot pink..... I also bought the entire roll of a cream shade at my local fabric shop last year. No more has appeared in the shop, so I imagine that it is a little tricky to source.


Handmade said...

Thank you so much for your detailed reply! I'll read some more about the sharpening and check what our local hardware has in terms of sharpening equipment. Fold over elastic - I did a Guild workshop with Pam Kerr - she introduced me to fold over elastic - I had not been able to buy it anywhere - but on my recent trip to Melbourne, Frou Frou Fabrics at Glen Waverley had every colour imaginable (with no supplier name on the cards - in fact no info on the card!) - I purchased 3 metres of a selection of colours - it was $1.60 per metre - and she said she'd be able to post more and colour match it via a Gutermann number if required. I was just curious if there were other sources?? hmmm interesting - thanks again!!

katherine h said...

Booby Traps sells fold-over elastic. If you give them a ring, they will pop colour samples in the mail for you. Their prices are reasonable.

Anonymous said...

Clegs in Melbourne has a reasonable colour range of FOE, it is usually available on Ebay and M Recht has black and white. M Recht have lots of other good stuff too, have great customer service and postage is very fast.


Anonymous said...

Pitt Trading and The Remnant Warehouse (both in Sydney) also have FOE. I think PT's selection is better though.