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Coverstitch Necessary?

HKseam | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on


I am still looking for a serger and was wondering if finding one with coverstitch capabilities is worth the (more than double) investment.  I’ve only used a serger a few times, so I don’t understand much about them.  From what I can gather from online research, switching the machine from overlock to coverstitch can be time consuming and therefore most people opt for seperate machines.

I mostly sew garments, including knits.  Will the overlock machine alone hem knits?  Is there any other function of the coverstitch? 

Also, if there is anything I should be looking out for in an overlock machine, I would appreciate the advice!  I’ve mostly narrowed it down to a Janome, Pfaff, Bernina or Singer (due to availability) and will chose an appropriate model based on function and price.



  1. stillsuesew | | #1

    I had a serger that had both capabilities and I had to look up  how to change it over  every time I wanted to do it.  And it didn't give specific directions on how to return it to its original function.  That may seam simple but there were parts to replace, needles to move and multiple settings to change.  It wasn't intuitive.  I prefer to use a knit double needle.  I used it for years even on hems I was doing for a store's alterations.  I had less skips and I could secure the ends.  I decided the cover stitch wasn't worth it.

  2. Palady | | #2

    As with a sewing machine, I'd say you want a serger that speaks to you.  It matters to be "comfortable" with your machine.  The post mentioning using a double needle is well said.  they can do a notable "coversttich" finish.  The caution is to sew slowly when using a double. 

    Converting to make a cs has a learning curve on any machine.  How steep this is depends on the individual person.  MO.


  3. alotofstitches | | #3

    I think I already posted a comment re:  the CS.  I do not take the time to rethread my serger to sew the CS for just 1 or 2 tees, I just use the twin needle instead for 1) it's less trouble 2) I can match thread to knit better--most of what I do is shorten sleeves and tee length on the body of RTW since I can purchase tees on sale for less than fabric cost.   Whether I use the Cs or the twin needle I always use a fusible knit interfacing in the hem allowance because I like the end result better than without it.  It does still have SOME stretch.  The interfacing is a must to get good results with the twin needle.

  4. Palady | | #4

    Before I opted to purcahase a dedicated CS, I found the double needle did a suitable hemming stitch on the knits I was working on.   As with any fabric, there's a difference in how it was manufactured.  So, you might find using a double needle on some less than your goal.  As was posted using a staiblizer works.  In my doing, quality wax paper has done the job.  Either under, over, or sandwiched.    Stretch was w/o issue in my efforts.

    I can appreciate your budget constraint & your choice of one machine.  If at all possible, do a test run.  Pattern Review is a fairly reliable source for information.  Yet, actually using the machine yourself, if you can, will matter.  MO.


  5. cloudyhn | | #5

    You can use serger. But sometimes I found out that serger made the trim to thick.

    I heard about a sewing footwalk specialized for coverstitching. I saw a lot of ready-to-wear clothes that had coverstitch by using that footwalk. Check it out

  6. cloudyhn | | #6

    Sorry I mean Rolled hem walking foot . There are some size of walking feet from Brothers or Singer size 4mm, 5mm and 6mm

    hope it helps

  7. HKseam | | #7

    Thanks again for all the responses.  Now I'm really on the fence!  I will do some tests with my sewing machine and a double needle to see what kind of results I get (thanks for the tips on this!)

    and try out the various machines where possible.  Although I'd like a machine that "does it all", I have always had reservations about this - if something breaks down, everything breaks down. 

    1. Aspydelia | | #8

      I bought a Babylock without coverstitch and traded it for one with a few months later. Now, however, I wish I'd simply gotten a dedicated machine. It would have been about the same amount of money. The big thing the multipurpose serger does is occupy less space. That said, the way I deal with the conversion ordeal is to post the threading guide on the wall in a convenient spot and plan ahead so that I'm not switching back and forth so much. If I'm doing a top and pants that use the same color thread, I do them in tandem so that the serger is set up for coverstitching as many jobs as possible at one time. It's not that hard if you are mainly hemming, since that's the last step on most garments. Practice helps too. You get faster with time.

      Now, would I rather have done without altogether? No. I still like it better than twin needle for knits. I'm wearing a very stretchy top right now with coverstitched hems and they are as stretchy as the fabric. No popping or  pulling  at all!

      Edit: The store I got mine from has a 6-month trade-up policy at 100% value. Shop around.

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