For ages and ages I’ve wanted a coverstitch machine and lusted over many a blog post and You Tube video in my dreamy state. Throughout this period of wanting (I’m well into my second year) I’ve read so many reviews and watched umpteen You Tube videos. The ones of lucky owners opening the boxes of their new machines nearly has me wetting my pants with excitement! I’ve even downloaded and read several coverstitch machine manuals.
And then this happened a couple of weeks ago (just to set the scene we were going to be going away for the weekend for my birthday, but MIL was still in hosptial).
HUBBY: Maybe we shouldn’t go away this weekend with my mum still being in hospital…?
ME: That’s fine lovey, at least we’ll be able to go the golf club dinner on Saturday night.
HUBBY: Yea, and with the money we’d have spent you can have that machine thing that you’ve been wanting for ages.
ME: AAAAARRRRRHHHHHHHH!!! ….Yes!! ….Please!!! …..Thankyou!!!!
So you get the picture, I’m a bit excited to say the least.
Before I carry on my ramblings, maybe I should enlighten those of you who aren’t sure what a coverstitch machine is or what it does.
It’s basically a twin or triple sewing machine which stitches hems on knit garments. On the top there can be 1, 2 or 3 rows of stitches and underneath it looks like an overlocker stitch, except that the stitch “covers” the raw edge and encloses it. If you’re wearing a stretch RTW top, check out the hem – that’s what it looks like.
It can also give a decorative finish too when the fabric is stitched upside down, i.e. the stitch that looks like an overlock stitch is on top – this is seen a lot in RTW active wear garments and is often in a contrasting thread.
Some machines are just purely a coverstitch machine, but there’s also overlocking machines which convert to a coverstitch machine.
Just a word of warning, this post might come across as being a bit disjointed. My brain is a bit frazzled at the minute with looking at so many machines and websites. And I’ve just finishing my run of nights this morning.
Also, just to mention, for the links to the machines, some of them are to Sew Essential as I’ve met Lucy at Sewbrum and knows she looks after her customers, and offers competitive prices. I wouldn’t want to direct you to someone I couldn’t vouch for. You can also go there and have a demonstration of the machines. These aren’t affiliated links, and I’m not receiving anything for them being there.
So after hours and hours looking into which cover stitch would make my life complete, here’s a few of my findings.
If money was no object this would be my machine of choice – The Baby Lock Ovation.
But after reading the instruction manual (yes, I’m weird) it is worth every penny with it’s combination of 87 stitches!! It threads with gusts of air which forces the threads through each looper, so no panicking when you need to change stitch or thread.
Everything about it just oozes ease of use, so if you’ve got the money and a cover stitch is what you’re after (with extras), there’s no need to read on!
But for me, our cancelled weekend away was in the Lake District, and not somewhere exotic, so my budget is £500 and doesn’t quite stretch to my dream machine. I’m not complaining though, I know I’m lucky to have that budget at all!
For those of you who subscribe to the Seamwork magazine there’s a great Guide to coverstitch machines HERE written by Melissa of Fehr Trade – The Queen of Lycra! I’m not sure if you’ll be able to view it if you’re not a subscriber to the magazine.
If you’d like to subscribe and follow my link HERE you will receive 1/2 off your first months subscription. (and I get a free month!) As well as reading the magazine you also receive credits each month to download patterns – past and present.
The main piece of advice I took away from Melissa was that unless you can afford a really good combination machine then just buy a stand alone Coverstitch machine.
Apparently a lot of combination machines are difficult to change from overlock to coverlock, and also the quality of the stitch can suffer. This I’ve read elsewhere, not just from Melissa.
For a stand alone machine there was more choice than I anticipated. I started looking at a well known brands that I was familiar with – Janome.
Meet the Janome Cover Pro 2000CPX. It’s in my price range at £479, it’s had lots of positive reviews (and so has it’s predecessors), and there’s so much help on You Tube and within the blogasphere that if I did get stuck I’d find help in no time.
This machine has a free arm for sewing sleeves and the like, which isn’t standard on most coverlock machines.
Then I read up on The Elna Easycover, priced at £499
I’ve not had anything to do with Elna previously but as it’s a Swiss machine I thought it would be worth investigating. The Elna Easycover also has a free arm and had something called Tension Level Control which help it deal with changing from thick to thin fabric easily.
I’ve struggled to find any reviews on it, and on You Tube the only video which might be helpful would require me learning a new language, though I’m not quite sure which one! So I never pursued this machine any further.
My search for a stand alone machine came to an abrupt halt when I discovered the Eastman Tailor CL501 priced at £499 at Sew2Go – a shop in Huddersfield only 25 minutes from where I live. It’s a combined overlock and coverlock machine.
I’d never heard of the brand and was surprised to find a combination machine at that price. As the company that supply this machine is only 10 miles away I thought I’d have a drive over and investigate further, as it did seem a lot of machine for the money.
I was a little bit disappointed at first. Although this company has been about for over 100 years they have specialised in industrial machines and supplying sewing equipment to the industry. They’ve only recently opened a shop to the which is open to the public and there was no one about who could demonstrate the machine to me there and then!
Obviously I was gutted. It was my birthday and I had my hubby with his wallet in tow. I had imagined this machine could be the answer to my prayers!
The staff were lovely and I arranged to go back a couple of days later when there would be an engineer there to show me the machine in more detail.
I went back and the chap showed me how to change it from overlock to coverstitch and I was able to have a play with it. It was all a bit complicated, but then looking back, I thought that 24 years ago when I got an overlocker.
I sat and had a play with it. I read through a lot of the instruction manual. I came away with the promise of a 15% discount and I really really wanted this machine.
The sales assistant was great and not at all pushy. I’m still undecided and am going to go back on Wednesday and have another ‘play’.
Looking into this machine has made me want a machine that does do more than just a cover stitch and hem. Which has lead me to look at the Pfaff 3.0, which is out of my price range at £879. But I’m thinking a few days overtime, plus my birthday money and golf winnings, and it could be mine.
So that’s where I’m at.
- Wanting a Babylock Ovation but knowing unless I win the lottery it’s a no-go.
- Knowing that a Janome 2000 CPX would do the job just fine for most of my sewing with stretch needs.
- Been enticed by an unknown (to me!) brand that there’s no online reviews of, but a lot support if I needed it in person going back to where I bought it.
- Wondering if I should just pay the extra money and buy the Pfaff 3.0 which I know I would love.
- If I bought the Janome and wanted to upgrade I feel confident it would sell at a reasonable price. Whereas would the Eastman Tailor with it being a lesser known brand?
What to do…..?
I have my hubby’s credit card and could just go crazy and buy whatever. I could blame the moment of madness on lack of sleep and stress after working 3 crazy night shifts, which what I’ve dealt with this weekend makes the London Ambulance program on TV at the minute look tame!
But I won’t. I’ll sleep on it and have a game of golf tomorrow, then I’ll go and have another play on Wednesday at Sew2Go. After all, if this wanting’s gone on for nearly 2 years, what’s another few days!?
Have you got a cover stitch machine? I’d love to hear what you think, or if there’s any reviews which you could recommend and direct me too, I’m sure I couldn’t possible have read them all!! 🙂
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I would go for separate machines. Whether a free arm is essential, probably not. I love my Babylock. If you can’t find a dealer nearby you are welcome to come and try mine. I’m in Hebden Bridge and the third part of the Muslineers you haven’t met yet on Dewsbury trips.
…lol…you’re name the Muslineers is funny! You’ll have to come to the next meet up! Thanks for your kind offer, I’ve not considered the baby lock cover lock because of the price. But they do have fab reviews. 🙂
Hi ~ You might check out a group I’m in on Facebook called “Coverstitch/Coverlock.” It’s a closed group, but the admin is great about letting new people in. There’s info, opinions, and advice about all things coverstitching. It’s a great resource.
I have a Babylock Coverstitch machine and I love it! It’s very easy to use and threading is a cinch. It only does coverstitch–it doesn’t convert to a serger like the Ovation.
Good luck and have fun! Peggy
Thanks Peggy, it really is a minefield out there. I’ll request to join the group, that sounds like a fab idea. I’m getting the majority of experienced cover stitchers out their say to go with 2 separate machines, thanks for commenting and letting me know your thoughts 🙂
By the way. Janome own Elna now and almost nothing is made in Switzerland. I had to retire my Elna Diva when a power surge fried the electrics and Janome were no help at all. They are not the same machines they used to be.
Gosh, that’s a shocker! Thanks for that 😳
I have the Janome Coverpro 2000. Threading it is fine but it is sensitive to different threads (as I found just today) There is a helpful website coverlocking. com which suggests different differential feed and tension settings to try. Find bulk 80 (wooly nylon) best. There are lots of users online which is helpful. I couldn’t find any other machines locally to try so was Hobson’s Choice for me.
Thanks for commenting. The Coverpro 2000 has a lot of good feedback and support out there so I think you made a good choice. 🙂
I have the earlier janome. Don’t be put off about threading it, it’s nothing like an overlocker in that regard. It’s as simple as threading a sewing machine – except you may have to do two or three needles depending on what you want.
I find the free arm invaluable. I make lots of knit tops and dresses, so use it for every armhole or sleeve.
I’m really happy with the machine. It has made perfect stitches on every fabric I’ve tried. I also made a jalie running top and turned the top over and added decorative looping which simultaneously stitched down my seam allowance. It looks so RTW and the seams don’t chafe!
It’s also great with just one needle threaded for basting. The chain stitch is super quick, and even better, once you’ve tried on, super quick to undo! No unpicking, just pull and it zips off.
You will love having a coverstitch, whichever one you choose.
Thanks for your comments Hayley. The chain stitch does sound like a fab idea – I am a bit of a baster and it’s a pain unpicking no matter how big I set the stitch length. 🙂
I have the Janome Coverstich and a Babylock overlocker and I’m very happy I have two machines. Yes, in principle in most projects you overlock first and coverstich last, so you only have to change once. But ever since I started using coverstitching as decorative stitching as well as hemming, having only one machine would be really impractical as that would mean switching to and fro several times.
Regarding threading: I feel threading the Janome is a doddle in comparison with threading an overlocker. Of course that problem is all solved with the Babylock overlocker – I still get a warm and fuzzy feeling every time I do the air threading on that machine.
So basically, as all most are saying: I would not buy a single machine for overlocking and coverstitching.
Which Babylock model do you have Chris?
I have the Enspire, which is the basic model with air threading.
Sounds like you’ve good a good set up there Chris. I’m going to buy a combination machine (a baby lock!) but I think I’ll keep my old overlocker set up too at first in case I just want to whizz up a basic overlock edge. 🙂
Have nothing whatsoever to add, except this is a fascinating read, and invaluable if I ever take the plunge. Thank you HUGELY, and all commentators! 💕💕
The commentators have been brill’ and soooo helpful! So glad I wrote this post xx
I have the Babylock Ovation. I saved up for it for some time. It’s made a huge difference in the finishing of garments. Consider waiting and buying the best because the best tools make a huge difference in the quality. Also the air threading is fantastic.
Well, between you and me (will anybody read this!!) i’ve gone for the ovation. I wanted it for so long, and I’ve saved more than what it will cost since I stopped smoking. 🙂
I HAD the Janome Coverstitch machine and we just couldn’t get along – she and I hated each other after a couple of weeks and no matter what I did, she just wouldn’t make a nice stitch – she’s a diva and I don’t care for divas!
I returned it to the shop and the owner very kindly talked me into the Babylock Evolution, combo overlocker/coverstitch. I just love this machine more than words can express. My previous Babylock had manual threading which on occasion caused palpitations and necessitated sewing black garments with white thread!
In an ideal world I would definitely buy a coverstitch only machine. Changing between coverstitch and overlock happens a lot when making a garment and I think the hesitation to switch leads to inferior garments.
PS I have a Janome 1600P straight stitch semi industrial that I often kiss, we’re of the ‘happily ever after’ camp!
Test different threads, Test wide 2 needle coverstitch and narrow. Test how to end the coverstitch so it doesn’t run – that has to be idiot proof. Test coverstitching over many layers – as a top stitch you are often sewing over 8 layers in a seam then rolling down the hill to 2 layers of fabric. I’m easily intimidated in machine shops but you really have to put that thing through its paces. Best of luck in your decision.
Thanks so much for all your comments! It all makes so much sense. After many sleepless nights I’ve gone for the Ovation! It’s coming today, Yikes!! 🙂
Oh Crikey, stock the freezer with ready made meals!! Just absolutely love the Babylock overlockers. If Juki were represented here in Oz I’d have one of those, but that feels weirdly like cheating on my babe ‘Janome’! Have fun xxx
I don’t have a coverstitch machine. Good luck with your choice. I did have a look when I wanted a new overlocker as my (very) old one died. I was thinking of getting a combination machine (a Pfaff) but was put off by the changing from one to the other and decided that separate machines would be better. If changing is no bother then that doesn’t apply. However, if your overlocker is satisfactory would you not just go for the dedicated machine?
I’m thinking my overlocker won’t last forever, and I want one that does flatlock seams for when I’m making leggings and gym stuff. Don’t want any wardrobe malfunctions!! My older overlocker only does a basic overlock, and rolled hem. I nearly chose the Pfaff 3.0 cover stitch, but then read loads of horror stories about changing it between the 2. 🙂
I’m going to try and bookmark this page for future reference as you’ve done all the hard work for us! I’ve never tried a cover stitch machine but I know I’d find it as invaluable as my overlocker, although I’d definitely stick to a single purpose machine. I’d liken it to a washer-dryer where both elements are average and neither are excellent. Also, having two separate machines means they can both be permanently set up, ready to use.
It really does make sense, but I’ve ended up going with my heart and choosing the Ovation. It’s coming today hopefully, it feels like Christmas has come early! 🙂
Wahay – can’t wait to see how you get on with it!
I know your busy with SS but did you get the email about the curtains? I only sent it last night.
Haven’t checked emails yet – going out, will check later. Xx
I haven’t got a cover stitch machine – nor even tried one – so I’m of no use to you. I am in need of the same sort of advice about overlockers as my (cheapo) one has died after 3 years and I might invest more this time as I do use it quite a lot being a knit fabric fan. Somebody mentioned ‘air threading’ above and that sounds a hell of a lot easier than ‘hour long threading’ which is how long it usually takes me 😦 Good luck on your rampage with the credit card – but I’m sure your hubs is glad you’re being sensible about it and taking your time with your choice.
Good luck with your search for the overlocker. Mine is 24 yours old, and has only been serviced once, which was 3 years ago. I think it’s worth investing in a good one. Mine didn’t have any fancy threading but I could change the thread quickly just be tieing knots in the threads and pulling them through, but the air threading does sound like a dream! 🙂
Agree with ammclure – if you are happy with your overlocker then get a stand alone coverstitch machine. Anne over at Clothing Engineer https://clothingengineer.com/2016/01/27/janome-1100d-serger-and-janome-coverpro-2000cpx-tour/ talks about her Janome.
My overlocker died, then my wonderful husband bought me a new one. He decided that threading was something to avoid so got me the Juki MO 1000. It uses the same air threading that Babylock does. I LOVE IT!!!! Auto threading is so good. I’m now saving for a coverstitch machine.
Thanks for the link and your comments. The write up from Clothing Engineer was the best one I’ve read about the Janome, and I now have another blog to follow! 🙂
Of course you can’t expect any constructive comments from me, but I would suggest you consider using next year’s holiday money on the expensive one, then you don’t have to win the lottery- I’m sure hubby won’t mind 😉
lol…that’s my most favourite advice so far!! hehe 🙂
All of the advisors here have said everything I would have, however Sewniptuck’s advice is IMO the most valuable. When I got my Elna 444 (same as Janome 1000cpx) I found this machine did the best over bumpy seams. I’m in your camp, that the BL is way too expensive so I went with one I could afford. How completely exciting, I’m very happy for you ❤
It’s been great reading all the comments, and really helpful, thanks for yours 🙂
I’ve got the earlier version of the Janome Cover Pro. Very easy to use, I love it.
But want to quiz you about Sew2Go. Do they have other machines for sale there? Knowing that they sell industrial Jukis, I emailed Eastmans last year to enquire about a domestic Juki overlocker, but they never replied. But it was before their Sew2Go shop opened.
they stock quite a lot of machines and have them on disarray and are happy to go and have a play – there’s fabric and everything on the table. I think their Sew2Go branded ones might even be Juki underneath – I can’t remember for sure. The shop is ace too – you won’t want to leave! 🙂
I’m very happy with my Janome provided quality thread is used – it doesn’t like cheap thread. I would certainly recommend a stand alone machine rather than a combination – I find I’m using overlocker and coverstitch machines together frequently and having to change settings every time I needed to change would be a real pain. Good luck!
I’ve opted for a combi, but an easy threading one, and I think I might leave my old overlocker set up initially just in case. 🙂
I love all those machines! Not much help here as I don’t have a coverstitch and want one…. I want them all. I’m looking forward to seeing what you choose though and how you like it.
Thanks Linda. Mine’s ended up coming a bit sooner than I thought, but I’m not complaining! 🙂
Hi – I own a combi machine – the Husqvarna (huskylock) 936. I’m not sure you can buy it still – it’s a big beast of a machine & has caused problems with my local dealer not being capable of servicing it! (Abakhans put me in touch with their indy service person – he sorts it out for me). It’s a fab machine but it does get tedious swapping between the modes but I don’t do huge amounts of coverlocking so a separate specialised machine is not a priority for me.
Thanks for commenting! He sounds like a workhorse and half! Your machine, not the engineer!! 🙂
I know nothing about these machines and can offer no advice but anxiously await your determination (and why!).
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I have been lurking cover stitch machines for a while too & considered the Janome/Elna but have been trying to justify the cost. I have a mid range sewing machine and an overlocker so it is an indulgence. I also wanted to buy the best I could afford & limited space makes a combo more appealing.
I decided to wait until the new year and watch out for sales hoping I would get more for my money. I decided to have a little lurk to keep me going tonight & saw an ex showroom Eastman Tailor CL 501 for less than the price of the Janome. Five minutes later it’s in my basket and my Christmas bonus is well spent!
I’m a bit anxious about the threading but very excited anout my Christmas present to myself.
I was so tempted to buy that machine, but went a bit crazy in the end and bought the baby lock.
I’m sure you’ll soon be best friends. Where do you live? The main dealer for these machines is in Huddersfield and they have it on display and I’m sure they’d be able to help you if you’re stuck. 😃