Saturday, July 26, 2014

Coverstitch Update

I decided to write an update on my decision to buy the Janome Coverpro 1000 CPX since I have received several inquiries lately related to my past posts about my search for a coverstitch machine.

I sew a lot of knits and, honestly, should have purchased a coverstitch years ago. Most of the knits I sew can be done almost entirely with the serger and the coverstitch. The Janome Coverpro 1000 CPX works great for my needs. I must admit it did take a little practice. It does not sew quite as smoothly as a regular sewing machine. But maybe it is not supposed to. I wasn't able to test drive any coverstitch machines before I ordered the Janome from a local dealer who carries Janome machines, but no coverstitch machines, in stock. I based my decision on the information and support from the Janome Coverpro forum at Patternreview.com. I can't imagine any question that couldn't be answered on the Coverpro discussion group. They even suggest the best suppliers for needles and accessories. There are little tricks to be learned, such as how to end the stitching in the middle of the fabric, such as a sleeve hem,  rather than sewing off the end of the fabric. There are great Janome tutorials for this on YouTube and I still refer to them if I haven't used the coverstitch for some time. Believe me, if you don't end the stitching correctly, your entire row of stitching ravels out!

As with any new machine, it takes practice and experimentation with the different fabrics. For example, I soon learned that, when hemming a lightweight knit, I needed to add a little support to the fabric so that the hem doesn't tunnel. I use Design Plus ultra-soft double sided fusible to fuse the hems in place and to prevent tunneling. I haven't tried other brands but I'm sure there are other options available as well.

This is an example of a sleeve hem on a very lightweight knit which I fused first with 3/8" double sided fusible. Not only does it prevent tunneling, it also helps me to press up a very even 3/8" hem. Since coverstitch hemming is done from the right side, it is important to work with an even hem.

Janome coverstitch hem on knits

For this medium weight jersey knit top, I was able to use the coverstitch machine to finish the neckline band, the sleeve hems and the bottom hem. I made a self-fabric binding and sewed it on with the regular machine first because, sometimes, I  pull the binding a little too tight as I sew it on. I try to get it right with a long machine stitch before I serge or coverstitch so I can easily remove the stitching and sew it again until I get the look that I like. I have experimented with a row of stitching on each side of the seam as I coverstitch as seen in RTW, but decided that I have more control with this method.

Janome Coverstitch neckband

This is the sleeve hem of the same top. I fused the hem with the double-sided fusible and sewed the hem before sewing the side seam. Since this is a medium weight knit, I could have sewn this hem without the fusible, however, I have found that it is much easier to coverstitch narrow hems with the fusible.

Janome Coverstitch on sleeve hem

This is the bottom hem of the top. I sewed the front and back hems on the coverstitch before sewing the side seams and adding the ties. I didn't use the fusible on the bottom hem since this is a medium weight knit. It worked fine without it and did not tunnel.

Janome Coverstitch hem

Now for the fun stuff! I tried to find ribbing for this Kwik Sew 3090 knit baby gown at the local Hancock Fabrics. They don't carry it at all. I went next door to Rugged Wearhouse, an outlet type store, to search for a ribbed garment I could cut up and use for ribbing. I found Gap tank tops in the junior department for $1 each! That's a lot of ribbing for $1. I was able to remove the ribbing from the neck and both armholes and use it for this gown and bib. It was already the right size and pre-folded for me. I guess it doesn't take much to excite me because this find made my day! I still have the rest of the tank top to cut up and use for ribbing on other projects.

Kwik Sew 3090 coverstitch neck binding

Kwik Sew 3090 coverstitch binding

This little gown is made from two boys t-shirts I found on the clearance rack at WalMart, a stripe and a coordinating solid. I used the solid for the neck trim, sleeve band, and for the hat. The hat is Kwik Sew 2433.

Kwik Sew 3090 coverstitch

For this type of binding, I sewed it on right sides together, stretching slightly. Then I pressed to the inside and pinned without turning under the edge. I sewed with the coverstitch and then trimmed close to the stitching. I notice this method used often in RTW knits when I do "snoop" shopping.

Kwik Sew 3090 coverstitch neck binding

I like the elastic at the bottom which pulls in the gown a little to help keep baby's feet covered. I quartered the elastic and the gown bottom, pinned, and stitched with the regular machine before turning to the inside and final stitching with the coverstitch. I used two different colors of thread because I was too lazy to change the thread but I don't think baby will mind.

Janome Coverpro elastic hem

I made all these projects in just a few days using primarily the serger and coverstitch machine. I have sewn knits for as long as I can remember, but never with the professional results I enjoy with the coverstitch machine. It would have been great to try out several machines before purchasing but they just aren't available to me locally. I especially would have liked to try out a serger/coverstitch combination machine. However, it would have to be extremely fast to convert back and forth to make me happy.

Good luck with your search for the right coverstitch machine. I would still be sewing knits if I didn't have one but, as I mentioned earlier, I wish I had purchased one long before I did!

8 comments:

  1. Very nice show-and-tell about using your coverstitch and serger. Such good ideas, and I enjoy seeing the workmanship. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you and thanks for reading my blog!

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  2. Thank you for such a wonderful review of your Coverpro. Loved looking at your work and your idea of getting ribbing from a tank top - genius. Is the Ultra-Soft Double Sided Fusible stretchy? Does it was out? Again thank you for such an informative post

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    1. Thank you for your comment! The hems are still stretchy when fused before stitching, at least with this particular brand. I don't think it entirely washes out but actually helps the lightweight hems to retain a little more "body" after washing. I now wish I had added it to the bottom hem of the royal blue top in this blog post even though it was heavy enough to hem without it.

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  3. Wow! I am back on the coverstitch bandwagon. Hopefully next year!

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  4. The baby clothes are adorable.

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  5. Thanks for the great info, had narrowed it down to these 2 machines, now pretty sure I'll go with the janome. Having your beautiful examples made the decision so much easier, only hope my efforts will look that good!

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    1. Have fun with your new coverstitch!!

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