I love my overlocker and woulden't be without it - I think its a Brother and have had it for over 10 years. It does need serviceing which is a bit dear about once a year - but it purrs afterwards.
Handsewing does not hold on knit fabrics - it comes undone - so for them it is fabulous.
TIP: don't pull your threads out all the way when changing colour - tie knots at the top and draw the threads through carefully - save yourself hours of time.
I'm with Trish - I've had my overlocker (serger) for over 10 years now and I love, love, love it! I shelled out a bit more when I bought it to get one that can do a cover stitch hem on knit fabrics, and it was so worth it. When sewing knits, I usually do the entire garment on my overlocker. I can whip up a basic knit top on that baby in around 40 mins, including laying out and cutting the fabric.
I also use it for finishing the edges of everything I sew (woven fabrics) before I sew them up - it gives such a nice, neat finish I reckon. After you've gotten used to threading it, it's not as difficult as people say (in my opinion, anyway!). When I first got my overlocker, I had to follow the instruction book the first several times (20 times, maybe?) I threaded it (but then, I was switching between three different stitches on it as well), but now I can rethread it super fast.
My overlocker is an elna 744. I did get it over a decade ago though, so I doubt you can still get that model. I'm a fan of elna's, simply because that's the brand of machine (sewing and overlocker) that my mum has, so I grew up with them. :-)
Like Trish and Kat, I can't sew without it, and use it for all the same things they've mentioned.
I used to be scared of knits, and now I make heaps of things (like this week's Sporty Pinky Number) really quickly. Like the girls mentioned, it's not that scary when you leave the threads in the machine... and I tend to plan my sewing projects around the colour threads that are there (do heaps of reds projects when there are red or orange threads), but I also keep the needle thread to be grey or brown or a neutral colour so I only change over the other two threads... (I cut back my machine settings to 3 threads instead of 4 because I'm thrifty with my threads!)
xoxo Good luck in deciding! If you've got room to have both machines set up, I'd say go for gold!
I can get it threaded just fine. It's the tension that hates my face.
LOLZ a lot of sewing things hate my face too!
I have a super fancy one and I loove it! The first one was super basic, thouh.
So, my suggestion would be to buy a basic overlocker to begin. Maybe a second hand one. Do you know someone who has it? You could ask them to try. Or at the shop perhaps.
The tension is really not so scary matter. Basically the same thing as with the sewing machine. You always have to take care of the thread, needle, foot pressure and tension. Some exercise will make you a pro in no time! Take scraps of different fabric, different threads, use different stitches and practise. And, of course, read the manual!
Mine is a Janome, very similar to that model, but not exactly the same. I like that it has a 3 thread option, so you're saving a bit of seam bulk, and thread... I've had mine for 3 years (wow that went quickly!) and it probably needs a service I guess, but I clean it out (because overlockers are the MESSIEST things ever) a lot, so that's probably why it's still running smoothly. I almost always set the settings to normal, and it works on most things ... the Janome instruction book was very easy to understand as well...
I honestly can't believe I'm writing all this down... I can't believe I know this much about sewing and sewing machines ... Who'd have thought!?! I *still* don't iron any clothes to wear out of the house or do any dishwashing or cleaning, but this part of domestic life is AMAZING to me! xoxo LOL