What is the Best Coverstitch Sewing Machine?
Updated - 11/6/17
Coverstitch sewing machines are used to create a professional-looking hem to garments and evenly apply trims to flat seams. They are especially handy for people who like to make clothes from knit fabrics and need to make seams that retain some stretch. The coverstitch sewing machine works with either one, two or three needles on top and a thread looper below that weaves thread through the stitches to form a double-locking chain.
Sewing is done from the top of the material with the fabric edge underneath and it creates a single straight stitch for every needle that is used on the top and a chain stitch over the raw edge below. I chose Coverstitch machines from Brother and Janome and a hybrid coverstitch/serger machine from Juki for this review to provide a variety of options in feature and cost.
|Coverstitch Machine||Brother 2340CV||Janome CoverPro 1000CPX||Juki MO-735|
|Max Stitch Width||6mm||6mm||5mm|
|Max Speed (stitches/minute)||1,100||1,000||1,500|
|Special Features||Janome’s Seam Tightening System™||Multiple Stitch Options Including 5-Thread Safety Stitch, Sews Heavy and Difficult-to-Feed Materials|
|Number of Needles||1, 2 or 3||1, 2 or 3||2, 3, 4 or 5|
|Level of Expertise||Hobbyist/Enthusiast||Enthusiast/Professional||Enthusiast/Professional|
|Warranty||Limited 1-Year parts and labor, 5 years for electric||5 Years mechanical, 2 Year Electric, 90 days on material or workmanship||Limited 2-Years on motors, light assembly, wiring, switches and speed control, Limited 5-years on all other parts|
|Country of Manufacture||Taiwan||Japan, Taiwan, Thailand||Japan|
How to Choose the Coverstitch Machine That Is Right for You
The first thing to consider when comparing these three models is the features that they all have in common. Each machine has differential feed which allows you to change the setting for how much material is fed through the machine. Adjusting the knob for this setting will help you prevent “tunneling” that can occur between stitches or put light gathering into garments where it is wanted. Both the Brother and Janome machines can be used with one, two or three needles while the Juki takes stitching to a whole new level! The combination of serger and coverstitch features make it the most versatile machine available.
Many people disagree about the advantage of combining the functions of a serger with those of a coverstitch sewing machine. Many find them more difficult to thread and to switch from one function to the other. The Juki MO-735 is no exception but once the technique is mastered, the process becomes much faster and easier.
Another complaint many buyers share about the Juki MO-735 is that the instruction manual is difficult to impossible to understand. Fortunately, the instructions on YouTube make it much easier to thread the machine and use the different stitches.
The Problem with Overlock/Serger Machines
When overlock machines, or sergers, were first introduced on the market, one of the biggest problems many people had with them was threading. A single mistake in threading any of the three or four spools of thread could result in poor stitch quality. Not only was it difficult to find the problem in the threading guide, there was always the potential for the poor stitching to be from inaccurate tension settings. I know this firsthand because I took my first serger out to the trash dumpster and happily threw it in after two repairs and numerous attempts to thread it without any success.
Janome CoverPro 1000CPX
Although a coverstitch sewing machine is threaded in much the same way as a serger, there have been many improvements since the original models. They also differ in that the coverstitch machine creates a coverstitch on the bottom of the fabric and it doesn’t cut the material off as the seam is sewn. The Juki MO-735 is the only machine in this review that allows you to choose between the overlock and coverstitch functions.
Both the Brother and Janome machines use three needles and three spools of thread. All three machines are color-coded to simplify the threading process and, like the Juki, videos are available on YouTube to help you thread and use the Brother and Janome machines.
All three of these coverstitch sewing machines are from leading brands of regular sewing machines so that you may already have a favorite. Going by brand alone may be all you need to make the right choice as long as you will be using the coverstitch machine for the same level of work that you use your regular sewing machine.
If you want a machine that will make it easier to hem the knit garments you make for yourself, the Brother 2340CV will probably meet your needs. If you are going to take on the job of making leggings for your daughter’s gymnastics team, you may want to move up to the Janome CoverPro. For use in a home business of making custom leggings, the Juki MO-735 is the closest thing to a commercial Coverstitch sewing machine that you can buy for the home.
Most sewers find that a coverstitch machine makes a valuable addition to their sewing room. For those who make knit garments or who need a tool that will help them create a smoother curved hem, no other type of sewing machine will meet the demand better. It is the frequency of use and the need for the most professional results that should guide you in making your choice. Once you have determined your need for durability and quality performance, look at the differences in features that will impact your sewing needs. Sometimes the smallest detail can make a big difference in the quality of your results.
The Basics of 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.
Every coverstitch sewing machine is designed to give a professional finish to the garments you make. The difference between the three models reviewed here is in their ability to consistently accomplish that goal. The right machine for your use should fit your personal or professional sewing needs as well as your budget. The information provided here should help you decide the level of performance and extent of durability that you will need from the machine you purchase.