Ask a car enthusiast what his or her favorite make/model is, and they may say Porsche 911 or Suburu’s WRX STI. Ask a sewist what his/her favorite machine is, and they may say a cover stitch machine. That would definitely be my answer. Cover stitch machines are used in the industry on everything from t-shirts to sportswear and lingerie, but the options for home sewists are scarce. Very scarce. So, you bet your heiny that I was super excited that as part of my sponsorship with PFAFF, I would be able to use one of their Coverlock 4.0 coverstitch and overlock machines. Like jumping up and down, doing my happy dance. I’ll admit, the machine was a little intimidating at first. Like an iPhone however, it was intuitive to figure out. So far, the Coverlock has not only precise, but just so.damn.fun to sew. I’m so excited to learn and experiment more with this machine. Today, I’m going to introduce you to this sexy beast with a simple overview – its features, basic set up, accessories available, yada, yada, yada. Gotta get your feet wet before diving into the nitty gritty cover stitching stuff, like how to tie off a cover stitch, best threads to use (tex 60), is it worth the investment? That’s all in works.
The Coverlock 4.0 is the top machine in PFAFF’s overlock line. It offers 5, 4, 3, 2 thread sewing and has an LCD touch screen that unlike some others, is really easy to use. All you have to do is select a stitch and all the important information like optimal thread tension, stitch length and differential feed are automatically set and displayed on the screen. Something really neat about the Coverlock is that is automatically sets tension based on the stitch. There’s also an Info System and Recommendations options which pop up to give more information about each stitch. It’s an all in one/combo machine (as opposed to a standalone), so it has an overlock and a cover stitch options.
Sewing on the Coverlock:
Switching from the four thread overlock, which the machine comes set up with, to the cover stitch isn’t hard, but it does take some time to memorize the steps. A reminder to always keep your manual handy! I don’t mind because I’ll be using the machine mostly for cover stitching, so I won’t be changing back and forth much.
- Remove cutter cover and replace with cover stitch table
- Disengage the movable upper cutter and set the stitch finger to R
- Set up needles to be either a narrow or wide coverstitch
- Disengage the upper looper
Four steps, that ain’t so bad, right?
Once you get the machine set up, it’s a breeze from there. You select the stitch from a dropdown and voilá. Stitch length, differential feed and tension is set automatically based on stitch type. Another neat thing about the Coverlock is the tension release, which makes pulling the threads when you’re finished sewing easy. I’ve sewn on some cover stitch machines where I’ve felt like I was yanking on the threads so hard that I was bending the needles. No bueno.
If you’re going to pay a pretty penny for this machine, I highly recommend investing in the Coverstitch Feet Kit. Por que? Because one of the first things I did was change the standard presser foot to the clear cover stitch foot so I could see what I was sewing underneath. It’s the little things in sewing that matter. The other feet included in the kit – the flat trim foot, the join and fold edging foot and the piping and cording foot – have so much potential when it comes to sewing lingerie.
Available Stitches + Definitions:
For the most part, I’ll be using the cover stitch, but the machine has several (25) more stitches. What are they and what do they do?
Coverstitch – For hems on stretch fabrics and decorative stitching; perfect for finishing all kind of knitwear.
Chainstitch – Works well as a basting stitch as it easily unravels.
5-thread overlock (wide and narrow)– Combines two stitches – a straight stitch and an overlock – for a durable and reliable seams.
4-thread overlock– For all seams where stretch or give is needed, such as necklines, sleeve and side seams. Also serves to finish seam allowances.
3-thread overlock (wide and narrow) – For sewing two layers of stretch fabric or overcasting a single layer of light to medium fabric.
2-thread overlock– To sew a rolled edge, an overlock, a wrapped overlock and a narrow edge.
Flatlock – For sewing two pieces of fabric together (using an overlock) and then pulling apart slightly to achieve a flat stitch which connects the two pieces. On one side it looks like a flattened overlock stitch, on the other side it looks like a ladder.
Knife blade (for the movable upper cutter)
Thread unreeling discs (5)
Thread spool nets (5)
Tweezers (placed on the inside of the front cover)
Coverstitch table B (for Cover/chainstitch)
Cone holders (5)
Stylus (placed on the inside of the front cover)
Extension table including four legs and push pin
Such a great machine! If you’re looking for an overlock machine that has everything, literally everything, this is it. I’m just starting to get a hang of this, and like I said before, I’m really excited to learn more about it and take my lingerie sewing to the next level.