Coverstitch 101 – Learning the Coverstitch Machine!!


Hi All,
Today I took Beverly’s class on Coverstitch machines! – I had never used a coverstitch machine before this, so everything was really new to me- and I have to say- wow- if I could even afford to have a wish-list with things this expensive, a coverstitch would definitely be on it!

This was the BabyLock coversitch that I used today- and our first step was threading the machine, which would be different for every machine I imagine, so I won’t really go into detail about that.

The first main thing we talked about was the different stitches that a coverstitch can do. – There are three needles on a coverstitch machine- you can sew with all of them, two of them ,or one of them- it is really versatile. 
If you stitch with one needle then you get a normal looking straight stitch on the top and a chain stitch on the bottom. The really great feature of this chain stitch is that (if you don’t lock your stitch) you can easily unravel your chain with a simple tug- which is great if you want to baste something together to try it on. – Did I get a picture of this chain stitch? of course not- everyone was so excited (me included) about how it pulls out that there weren’t any left by the time I remembered to grab my camera! lol
Next is if you have two needles- which can be any two you want- if you chose right and left you get a wider stitch width, if you chose left and middle or right and middle you get a closer stitch width. 

This was a stitch using the left and middle needle, so they are closer together- and this is what your underneath looks like:

And lastly here is your three needle/thread option, which is purely decorative and not really commonly used- but it is kind of cute with the three colours!

And the back is fairly similar, just a little wider than the last

And you can see that this stitch I did as a practice hem- and I got it perfectly so that the underneath threads catch the edge of the hem and enclose it! How perfect is that!

And how you might ask did I know exactly where my hemline was? Well this genius tip from Beverly:

Put a light- in this case we used a snake-light from Ikea- and shine it right underneath your fabric- and you can see where your fold is for your hem!

So when you go to sew it is super clear where that edge is underneath! Alternatively there are hemming attachments that you can buy and screw to the front of your machine that fold your fabric- but I think this is just as easy and will work for any width of hem.

Now- the next thing that I should tell you about, which I mentioned above- is how to lock your stitches- so when you get to the end of your fabric- you bring your needles up to their highest position and raise the foot releasing the tension. Then, using a little tool (something long and thin like a thin screwdriver)- pull your needle threads towards you from under the machine, pulling them out, then cut them, now give your fabric a sharp tug backwards out of your machine. In this process your top needle threads will get pulled through to the back, locking them- and locking your stitch! Then you can cut your bottom thread and you have your finished seam! How cool is that.

Next we moved on to all the binding! Which is Beverly’s favourite- you can see her eyes light up when she talks about applying binding to the edges of panties and swimwear- and how easy her coverstich makes it!

She explained the different types of binding edges:

So as you can see the first one (double fold) is your regular binding, what you would use with a woven fabric that would fray. The second one (single fold) has the fold on the top edge, but only one layer of fabric on the bottom, which is great for knits because they don’t fray, and it reduces bulk.

So this is what a binding tool looks like for a cover hem! Really intimidating I know, but it is actually really simple! It is like a regular binding maker- but on its side, and it’s designed to feed your binding right into your machine- so you screw it on so that where there binding comes out is directly in front of your needles.

And this is what that looks like with your binding strip in there!- This one is a double binding- so it has a fold on both the bottom and the top as you can see.

Then the best part about this is that you can stick your piece of fabric in the middle of your binding like so- and it sews the binding onto the edge in one step!

Voila! How cool is that!

And just for a little more info- if you use a stretch fabric for binding, and you give a little tension on your binding as it feeds into your machine you can get this great gather! – wouldn’t that be pretty on a neckline!

Also handy- If you are just interested in making straps or belt loops you can do a simple stitched binding. You don’t even need to have the fancy attachment for this!  you can using your regular binding maker, and tape it the front of your machine! Gotta love tape! 
This just feeds a binding strip right through to your needles and makes amazing little straps! That are nicely finished on the underside!
So there is a brief overview of what I learned on the coverstitch today! The stitches, the hems, the bindings! It really gives such a professional finish! I will definitely be playing around on these machines in the future! 
Do you have a coverstitch machine? what do you do with it? I would love to see your projects!
Also do you have any questions that I didn’t cover? I’m not really an expert on this yet but I do know one! 
Let me know in the comments! 
xo erin
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25 Comments
  • Pamela
    Reply

    Some very interesting questions are being asked and would be very interested in your answers to the questions. Please can you show your replies. I’m particularly interested in the question, how to sew on a three sided bias tape. Thank you.

  • Pat in CO
    Reply

    Don’t have coverstitch BUT I see the last picture of an awesome way to put binding around the terry and quilted fabric of my thick aprons. Plus make the ties

  • shm
    Reply

    Thank you very much for your tips! I actually learned two new things. Can you please tell me the Binder itself can it be changed to be Type b ( 3 layers) or we must buy another binder? As the one I have is a 4 layer binder. Also! Is it possible to use the single needle, for just joining seams???

  • Reply

    I have a Bernia Coverstitch and want to try wooly nylon for shortening yoga pants to shorts for bathing suit bottoms and under sun dresses. Not even sure where to use the thread..any thoughts? Found you on Pinterest and thrilled you share !!!

    • Reply

      Hi Cindylee, beyond this little beginner class, I'm sorry to say I don't know much of anything about coverstitch, I still do everything on my serger and sewing machine 🙂 Good luck with your coverstitch though 🙂

  • Reply

    Hi! Can you share the location for this class? I have a coverstitch and would love to learn from someone. Thank you!

  • Reply

    Hi Erin….Thank you for this tutorial. I have a Brother Coverstitch and the binder attachment which I love. I have been working on onesie's for my new Grand-Babies X2 and I am having a hard time keeping the fabric in the binding around the hard curves on the bottom? I either sew off the binding around the corner or it fabric pulls out of the binding….I have practiced and practiced these corners and still 1 out of 5 comes out close. Do you have any suggestions on curves?

  • Reply

    This is so incredibly awesome! It was so hard for me to find any kind of coverstitch machine tutorials online. Do you have any tutorials for how to attach foldover elastic (FOE) with a coverstitch machine?

  • Reply

    Love this. I am currently coveting a coverstitch and am contemplating the different functions and machines. Thanks for this little peak into your experience.

    • Reply

      Thanks for reading and commenting! I'm coveting a coverstitch now- if only to hem some of my too-long t-shirts! But they seem so useful if you like to sew with knits!

  • Reply

    I have been thinking of getting a machine. This is the best explanation of how it works. Thank you.

  • Reply

    Thank you Erin for the update. I think I need to get out all those binders and give them a good workout!

    I must admit, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the coverstitch machine, and yet it sat for 6 months before being unpacked, and now is seldom used. Time to change.

  • Reply

    Thanks for the pics and the great explanations. I have a cover stitch but like Ann am intimidated by it so haven't used it. I got it 2nd hand and it hasn't got a couple of bits for the thread so I must order and just go for it. Very neat finishes. And I love the light tip!

  • Reply

    Loved all the pics and explanations Erin! I have never seen the binder attachment before. I have a coverstitch machine, so I should check to see if mine has an attachment that can be ordered for it!

  • Reply

    Loved all your pictures. I just got one in March for my birthday and LOVE it! 🙂 It is great for sewing on knits – my kiddos no longer pop those hems! And I enjoy using it to topstitch certain things or for attaching binding.

    • Reply

      Oh that sound great! I love the idea of being able to hem any knit fabric projects on a coverstitch and the binding options are great! I may have to sneak in and use Bev's until I can afford one of my own lol!

  • Reply

    Hi Erin, So cool that you got to take a class on the cover stitch machine. I have a cover stitch/overlock machine but am a little intimidated by it! I need to deal with it and start practicing with it.

    Also, I loved your red and black bra you made last week. Super pretty.

    • Reply

      Thanks Anna! I love the coverstitch- but I found it was completely about practice and making samples, by the end of the day I felt so much more comfortable on it! So definitley just spend a couple hours testing it out and doing samples!

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