I finally did it. I caved into my urge and bought a cover stitch machine. I’m so good at saying no to donuts, soda and fried food, but when it comes to sewing, I just can’t!
This was a spontaneous purchase. I have lusted for a cover stitch machine for a while, but I didn’t intend to purchase until I researched and tested a few models at my local dealer, Steve’s Sewing Center, like the good sewist I always am (*wink wink*). My search began on Bra Making Forum, which is my go-to for everything handmade lingerie. You should join if you’re not already a member! Just a side note and a little self promotion. Back to my cover stitch story – I asked the ladies for their advice on brand and models. Many recommended the Janome 1000CP, and the stars aligned when a woman offered to sell me her barely used one. Knowing very little about the machine, I gave her a price. It could have been a mistake or a real steal. The longer I have it, the more I realize that it was the latter. Now that I’ve added this machine to my arsenal, I think I’m locked, loaded and ready to sew some lingerie, don’t you think!? Watch out or I’ll shoot your eye out!
What is a Cover Stitch?
First off, what is a cover stitch machine? The best thing since duck-billed scissors. Real technology at play here, sewing peeps. A cover stitch machine is a bobbin-less sewing machine used for hemming knits and topstitching seams that need stretch. It can also bind and attach elastic. While the top side of the stitch forms one, two or three rows of parallel straight stitches, the back side forms a ladder stitch configuration. There aren’t a lot of cover stitch machines on the market for home sewists and that’s because it offers a limited, specialty stitch. Most cover stitch machines are industrial grade and used mainly in factories. I do most of my personal sewing at home (I use Madalynne Studios for teaching and photographing) and at 550 square feet, an industrial machine just ain’t gonna fit. It also wouldn’t go with my décor. Priorities. There are sergers that have a cover stitch option, but I’ve read reviews that switching between a cover stitch and a serge is tedious and burdensome. Basically, totally not worth it.
It’s been just a few weeks since it arrived and I’m slowly learning more about the machine and its capabilities. Okay, I haven’t even threaded it yet. Here’s what I’ve read about the machine so far.
- Capable of one, two or three needles and up to four spools of thread. The three stitch options are:
- 1 needle, 2 thread chain stitch
- 2 needle, 3 thread cover stitch
- 3 needle, 4 thread triple cover stitch
- Much easier to thread than a serger, especially the sergers that have cover stitch options. Overall, a user friendly machine.
- Differential feed and stitch length settings.
- A hybrid between a regular sewing machine and a serger – it has four thread spindles with extension rods to accommodate thread cones and tension dials, but it has a free arm and extra large working space (4”x5.5”). The added space makes it super easy to work in a middle of a garment rather than at the top/bottom. This isn’t much of a perk for me, since I’ll be sewing lingerie exclusively.
- The CP model is no longer in production – it was replaced by the CPX. The only additions to the newer model are an easy thread diagram and the brand’s exclusive Seam Tightening System, a system that uses a spring rather than the looper tension dial to eliminate excessive looper thread looseness, which helps get a flat, tight stitch on thick fabrics such as denim.
How I Intend to Use it
I intend to use the machine to attach elastic bands like this and lace bindings like this. In my opinion, lace binding (as opposed to elastic) are much more comfortable to wear. It doesn’t dig into your skin. I’m still developing the pattern for this stappy bralette, and what’s been slowing me down the most is the band construction. For the wearable muslin pictured, I enclosed the elastic in a tube except for the portion that is attached to the cups. Once I turned the tubing right side out, I serge the band and cups together at that portion only and the zig zag the same allowances down. However, most ready to wear intimates do this entire operation using a cover stitch, which I now have!
The woman who sold me the machine only had than the standard presser foot. There are many available and they each have a pretty steep price tag. I have eye on two – the center seam foot, which makes it easy to straddle a seam evenly, and the elastic gathering attachment. I don’t gather or shirr fabric when attaching elastic, so I’m not sure how useful it would be.
I have a lot to learn, so I’d love to hear what you know about this machine and cover stitching. Do you have any tutorials on how to apply elastic bands using a cover stitch? Do you have a resource for purchasing presser feet on the cheap? Let me know!
Sewing Insight: Janome Coverpro CP1000X (this is for the newer model)
Four Square Walls: Janome Coverpro CP1000
Stitches and Seams: Coverstitch: All The Stuff
Fashion Incubator – Flat Locking Compared To Cover Stitching and Over Locking
Pattern Review: Coverpro Guide Part Two: Supplies, Feet, Binders
Fehr Trade: Coverstitch Binder Attachment Tips & Tricks
Seamwork: A Guide to Coverstitch Machines