Sew Foolproof Hems with Coverstitching
A coverstitch machine is a specialty sewing machine that is primarily used to create hems. Although coverstitching works well on woven fabrics by keeping them from raveling, they are especially useful for hemming knit fabrics. The stitch it makes maintains the stretch in the fabric and doesn’t pucker as is the case when you sew stretchy fabrics with a traditional sewing machine. To see what a coverstitch looks like, you can look at the hem of almost any t-shirt.
The coverstitch machine uses one, two, or more spools of thread on top and one bobbin on the bottom that is fed through a looper. The latter feature is what causes the thread to form a chain stitch across the raw edge of the fabric. Some sewers like to use different colors of thread on the top spools to add a decorative touch to some of their sewing.
Overlock vs Coverstitch
These two types of machines are very similar in the way they work with one significant difference: The overlock machine has a blade built-in that trims the seams and stitches over them as you sew. This feature makes it easy to sew knit garments without having to go back over them and finish the seams to prevent stretching or raveling.
The coverstitch machine, on the other hand, has no blade and is used primarily for hemming. Many sewers find that the most difficult part of sewing many types of garments is in getting an even, professional quality hem. If you plan on sewing a lot of knits, you may want to invest in both types of specialty machines.
Tips for Creating the Perfect Coverstitch Hem
There are many different strategies for creating the perfect hem with a coverstitch machine but they all focus on getting the hem even all the way around and placing the garment correctly in the machine to ensure the coverstitch goes over the length of the raw edge underneath. Although you will not need to use all of the tips below to use the machine to make a hem, a little extra effort could go a long way in getting the professional-looking results you want from your machine.
- Use knit interfacing tape under the edge of the hem. This is one point that many pros agree on. The tape will prevent the fabric from stretching while you sew so it doesn’t end up wavy. It will also help the hem maintain its shape in the future.
- If you have an overlock machine, serge the edge of the hem before coverstitching. You should be able to feel the stitching through the fabric to help you keep the hem straight while you sew.
- When working with woven fabrics, mark the hem and press upwards before stitching to get an evenly stitched hem.
- If you are shopping for a new coverstitching machine, make sure it has the free arm feature. This is essential for handling smaller items like pant legs or children’s clothing items.
- Check out the tutorial for your coverstitch machine on YouTube. Many brands offer demonstrations on threading, stitching, and using various stitching techniques. It’s also a good way to get troubleshooting tips in case you aren’t getting the results that you expected.
Buying a dedicated coverstitch machine may seem extravagant to some sewers, but those who enjoy working with knits and making athletic apparel will appreciate the ability of the machine to create beautiful hems that perform like they were meant to. The more you sew, the more benefits you will get from your investment.