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What is a Coverstitch?

 

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by Sara Snuggerud in Sewing Tips

We get asked all the time, “what machine sews this stitch?” as they point to the hem of their T-shirt. This stitch on store bought garments is called a coverstitch. A coverstitch is a professional looking hem that looking like two rows of stitching on the top and a serger like stitch on the back. The benefit of a coverstitch is its stretchability and the covering of the raw edge all in one pass. A coverstitch as stretch with the maximum stretch of the fabric – think arobic wear, fleece, sweatshirt fabric, lycra and super stretchy knit fabric.

Coverstitch machines offer utility stitches for those of you who want everything to look awesome all the time! A coverstitch can be sewn with two needles for a double stitched look or three needles for a triple needle finish.

For most people, the easiest way to achieve a coverstitch is with a serger/coverstitch combination serger. You get TWO machines in one! Or you can purchase a coverstitch only machine such as the Bernina L220 shown here. The benefit of a coverstitch only machine is that it is ALWAYS set for coverstitch with no extra converting from serger to coverstitch required.

 

When coverstitching with two needles the coverstitch can be either narrow or wide. A narrow coverstitch is ideal for lighter weight fabrics and will keep the fabric from tunneling. A wide coverstitch setting is the preferred setting for a bit sturdier or thicker fabrics. It really all depends on the final look desired.

A side benefit of a coverstitch is that if you sew a seam and it is not correct, there is a loop on the back that can be pulled and the stitch practically removes itself! (Don’t worry, there is a secret way to lock this stitch so it will stay put when its perfect).

Of course, if only one needle is used in the coverstitch mode it creates the perfect 2-thread chainstitch! Watch this video to see the chainstitch in action.

Sara’s Time Saving Tip:

When sewing a project or a handful of similar projects, get all the sections sewn to the same step and then switch the serger to coverstitch for an afternoon of coverstitching. This is a much better use of your time than switching back and forth for a coverstitch seam here or there.

Coverstitch machines and stitches are not glamorous. Coverstitch machines at least are 10x easier to operate than when they first arrived for home users.

Not Using the Coverstitch Machine You Own?

If you already own a coverstitch machine and are not using it, we highly recommend the online Craftsy class “Coverstitch: Basics & Beyond” with Gail Yellen.

Lessons include getting familiar with your coverstitch machines, differences between all the hems options, working with bulky seams, coverstitching on difficult fabrics, coverstitching zippers and adding decorative threads to the coverstitch and chainstitch stitches.

This power packed class will guarantee you will master the coverstitch portion of your serger and remind you why and where to use the coverstitch stitches.

Over at SewingMastery.com we have completed videos on three models of serger and coverstitch combination sergers. These video can help you decide which model would be right for you!

1 Comment
  1. Fiona says:

    I have found that a dedicated CoverStitch like my Janome is far superior and much less hassle than the combo machines. I think people should know it exists before fighting to convert a serger.

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