Serger machines were first invented back in 1881 by Merrow Machine Company. Since then, they have gained popularity in the sewing industry for activities such as stitching over the sides of one or two fabrics for seaming, edging, and hemming. However, unlike regular sewing machines, you can use the serger for cutting. A cover stitch is a unique type of hem that resembles two rows of stitching with one on the top and a serger like a stitch on the backside. The best thing about the cover stitch is its stretchability and its covering of raw edge all in just one pass. With these unique features and capabilities, a user recently asked me, can I do a coverstitch on my serger? Here’s what I have to say…
Yes, you can do a coverstitch on a serger! Most sergers come with a cover stitch, but you can find some without. They do an excellent job of making cover stitches while giving a pleasant and professional look.
When making cover stitches for the first time, it might seem so complicated. But this should not be your worry since the more you do, the better your skills become. Also, ensure you choose a serger with a cover stitch option for the best results.
Table of Contents
How to Make a Cover Stitch With a Serger
If you follow these steps, rest assured of ending up with a perfect cover stitch on your serger:
- Step 1: Set up your serger. After this, you now thread the needles and rotate the hand heel in one complete turn in your direction.
- Step 2: After setting up, slide the tweezers’ tip under the presser foot. Doing this allows you to drag the needle threads under the foot.
- Step 3: In this step, you need to position the cloth to be sewed under the foot with the right side up, after which you can start sewing.
- Step 4: You would never wish to rethread the machine after you’ve started to sew. For this reason, you should not sew the material to make a chain. Also, remember to discontinue it at the end of the fabric so that the thread cannot break.
- Step 5: You will have to spin the handwheel again until the needles are at the uppermost point at the end of the threads, then release the thread.
- Step 6: The next step involves raising the presser foot, then using the tweezers to pull the needles in your direction.
- Step 7: Here, you’ll cut the threads to create at least a 4” tail on both needles.
- Step 8: The final step involves lifting the looper thread by pulling the fabric gently from the presser’s foot. After this, cut off the thread directly. You will realize that it drags on the opposite side around the cover stitch.
How to Make a Cover Stitch With a Sewing Machine
Apart from using a serger to make cover stitches, you can also use a sewing machine. It would help if you chose the twin needle since it has a needle shaft with two needles. Using it is straightforward. You only need to insert it in an ordinary zigzag sewing machine like how you insert other needles.
Here is the procedure of making cover stitch with a regular sewing machine.
- Step 1: For this step, you need to have acquired the twin needle to replace it with your standard one.
- Step 2: After changing the needle, take away the presser foot and replace it with a zigzag foot. You can effortlessly do this using the little push button included in the machine.
- Step 3: The third step involves threading the usual spool of thread. Even so, you must ensure it’s going clockwise around the spool. The thread will go behind the needle bar thread guide as it would have done on the ordinary needle. After this, pull it under, then insert it into the right needle. Unlike the case in regular sewing, where you always put the thread underneath the presser foot, here you’ll only have to pull it through the needle.
- Step 4: Here, you’ll require an extra thread and pool pin, which you’ll put in a different slot on your machine. You will then thread it, but ensure you do it in the clockwise direction. So, instead of going behind the needle bar, the thread passes through the left needle. Now take the excess and place it with the other one but don’t place it under the presser foot.
- Step 5: Finally, after ensuring everything is in place, your twin needle is now ready to make cover stitches. Remember to check your manual to know the types of stitches you can produce with your twin needle. The perfect stitch for making cover stitch is the standard straight stitch. Beneath the machine, a beautiful zigzag ladder-like stitch looks outstanding, like that made by a serger or a cover stitch machine.
The stitch is flexible, robust, and excellent for sewing clothing. Before you begin the sewing process, take some time to test things such as the tension. It will save you some disappointments. If you want to have more elasticity on the seam, consider using a wooly nylon thread.
Watch the video below on how to make a coverstitch using a sewing machine:
How to Lock Your Cover Stitch
Sewing is a delightful skill, especially when you are good at it. Therefore, you’ll not want to get frustrated while working. With this in mind, you’ll find it essential to know how to lock your cover stitch. It will make your transition process seamless, and beginning the next step will be straightforward.
Here are the steps you require.
- Step 1: Ensure you always start and finish sewing with the fabric underneath the needles. After sewing and you want to raise the presser foot, start by rotating the handwheel so the needles get to the highest position.
- Step 2: With the help of the included tweezers, grab the needle threads and drag them out from below the foot. Doing this might also create a loop through a looper thread.
- Step 3: In this step, you’ll have to drag the threads in front of the machine then cut their ends to get a tail of approximately 4”.
- Step 4: Lastly, you’ll have to move your fabric towards the back of the machine. Doing this will loosen the looper thread, then drag the needle thread tails below your material where the threads get locked. After this, trim the remaining looper thread again to leave a trail of around 4″. That’s the simple way of locking your cover stitch threads. If you make this a habit, you’ll always find the correct number of threads for your next stitch. Even better, you won’t experience any breaking or tangling of threads.
After you finish sewing the seam, you can now pull the stitches you began with to the backside of your fabric. Doing this will leave you with a neater working place. The method also helps in locking the stitches in place. It would be best if you also noticed that the stitches only detangle at the end.
What Hems Can You Coverstitch Using a Serger?
You’ll get to decide the number of hems depending on the number of needles and the finish you desire. It doesn’t matter if it’s three thread, two thread, or chain stitch. Suppose you need high-end detailing. I recommend using the three thread needles.
The two-needle hems are ideal for quick finish hems, while the chain stitch is best for decorations. You can also use it as a temporary seam which you can remove quickly.
Can an Overlocker do Coverstitch?
Yes, it can! Even though an overlocker and a cover stitch are two different machines that perform two diverse tasks, some advanced overlockers do the cover stitches. It would help if you had both of the machines to beautifully and professionally produce quality garments.
The decision depends on using a complicated overlocker to perform both tasks or go for a separate serger and cover stitch machine.
What is the Difference Between Overlock and Coverstitch?
- The Serger or Overlocking Machine
Even though a serger and an overlock sound different, they all refer to the same machine. Mostly, it’s the Americans that refer to this machine as a serger. The unit is ideal for performing an overlocking stitch which is more like knitting than sewing. You’ll do overlocking or serging trims and bind seams to prevent the fabric from unraveling.
An overlocker is ideal in construction rather than finishing. That’s why there are rare occasions when one might use an overlocker to embellish outside seams or finish hems. In addition, an overlocker is different from the standard sewing machines since it requires threading of up to three or four pathways, including two loopers.
The loopers are ideal for accomplishing the knitting involved in the overlock stitch. The other best thing about overlockers is that they have knives that help cut seam allowances as it serges them.
Although this machine does not replace the standard sewing machine, it works besides accomplishing tasks that no sewing machine can perform.
- The Coverstitch Machine
The cover stitch machine is ideal for finishing tasks. It does this beautifully on most types of garments. However, since stretchy fabrics can sometimes become tricky on a regular sewing machine, many people shy away from sewing seamstress on knit garments. Instead, some opt to use a serger commonly known as an overlocker, but the best machine to employ for this task is the cover stitch machine.
With a stretchy seam that can’t break, the cover stitch can beautifully and quickly turn and hem seams. Not only this, but you can also use a cover stitch to attach lace, elastic, or any other trim to any garment in a hurry with a stretchable seam that will not break.
If you compare the overlocker and a cover stitch machine, you’ll realize that the cover stitch machine resembles a sewing machine than an overlocker does. Besides, it’s less uncomplicated to use. A cover stitch only has one lopper with no knives, making the threading process a straightforward task.
Difference Between a Coverstitch and a Serger?
- A serger is designed mainly to serge the edges of fabrics while trimming them, bringing out the main and the most time-saving difference between these two machines.
- You can use the cover stitch machine to sew fabrics like a traditional sewing machine. The only difference is that cover stitches produce a dual line of stitches that provides a visible finish on hems.
- While sergers have two looper threads, the cover stitch only has one.
- The majority of sergers have only two needles, while sergers have three. However, there are new models of sergers that come with either three or four needles. Coverstitches have no knives. On the other hand, sergers feature two cutting knives that help trim the uneven fabric edges while you stitch. Thus, they create an even working area.
- The serger has a small work area when compared to a cover stitch machine. Even so, several new model sergers come with extended work areas.
- On a serger, the right-hand needle and the machine housing have very little space between them than a cover stitch.
- On both machines, there is an adjustable differential feed with a control dial.
- They both work best with fine and robust threads and very smooth or slick surfaces.
- The two machines include a free arm ideal for working on sleeves and small areas. There is also an adjustable presser foot to accommodate thick or multiple fabric layers.
- The units feature robust needles that are seldom universal types that don’t resemble home sewing machines.
- They both have a knob that you can use to adjust the length of the stitch.
Can You Have Both The Overlocker and Coverstitch Machines?
Yes, you can; in fact, you need both of them. You will find some machines known as combo machines since they combine both the serger and cover stitch. You can go for either the combo or separate units. But it would be nice to note that a machine with many moving parts is prone to breaking down with ease than the one with fewer moving parts.
If you have a fixed budget, consider going for the combo since it will be cheaper than buying the two machines separately.
How to Hem on a Coverstitch Machine
Below are the few steps involved in making cover stitches.
Step 1: Preparing for hemming
While preparing for hemming, ensure the edges on the fabric are evenly cut. I recommend using a rotary cutter since it makes it easier to get the edges even. Also, clipping the side seams at the fold and laying the clipped seam in the opposite direction will make the hemming easier when working on bulky seams. You only need to ensure that the cut is minimal and the hem is sturdy to withstand a little clip.
Step 2: Fold the hem.
It would be best to remember that some materials take a little more heat than others. Therefore, I recommend ironing the fold to make hemming easier.
Ways of keeping the fold in place
You can use wonder clips.
You shouldn’t over pin when cover-stitching. Instead, add a few pins and remember to remove them before you get close to the machine.
Use extensive and loose stitches to hand base the hem.
The more you keep practicing, you’ll realize that you can hem using just your fingers to hold the fold even.
Step 3: Start sewing.
Before you commence sewing, ensure you begin at the back of the garment after the side seam. Also, ensure the threads don’t get snagged once you start sewing by pulling all of them back towards the left before you start sewing.
If your machine does not have an inbuilt ruler, consider using a seam guide for an even hem. Finally, you can sew straighter utilizing a piece of Lego attached with some sticky pads/Blu Tack.
Even more, you can gently guide the fabric by not pulling to ensure even feeding to avoid twisted seams. You should also notice the pink basting threads that assist in keeping the material in place.
Step 4: Finish the seam.
Suppose you are sewing on the round. Remember to sew on the beginning stitches for some centimeters, preferably an inch or less. After this, you can lift the presser foot to release the tension in the thread.
If you are not sure of how to do this, ensure you check your machine’s manual for the instructions on how to release the threads and tension.
You’ll not want the threads to unravel quickly. Therefore, you need to know how to secure a cover stitch seam. I have briefly elaborated on how to this in the below context.
Here’s How to Hem on a Coverstitch Machine:
How to Finish and Secure a Coverstitch Seam
Unlike the regular sewing machines, you can’t backstitch on a cover stitch unit. Therefore, it would be nice if you properly secured a cover stitch seam. But you shouldn’t be worried since there are a couple of ways that you can use to secure the seam. The only issue is that the methods vary from one machine to the next. Below, I have briefly explained the two standard forms of securing a seam.
Securing a Coverstitch Seam Using Clip and Pull Method
This method is straightforward, and it involves pulling the end needle threads towards the reverse side, then automatically tying a knot. Even though it’s the perfect method when hemming a garment on the round, you can also use it on flat pieces.
Tools You’ll Need to Secure The Coverstitch Seam With a Pull.
- You will require a thread clipper or a pair of scissors for cutting the thread strands.
- You will also need an awl, tweezers, a crochet hook, or some other narrow tool for pulling the threads.
The Steps on How To Secure The Coverstitch Threads
- Step 1: prepare for securing the seam.
The first step involves closing the seam by sewing the beginning stitches for a few centimeters, approximately an inch or less. After this, you can sew the last stitch using the handwheel then stop at the highest point of the needle. Also, remember that the needle needs to be in the most elevated position for this method to work correctly.
- Step 2: Pull the thread
It would help if you now lifted the presser foot then use tweezers, a crochet hook, or any other narrow tool to pull the needle thread in your direction. Ensure to make the loop around 2” (4-5cm) long.
- Step 3: Clip the thread loop in the middle.
The most important thing about this step is to open the threads so you can pull them to the reverse.
- Step 4: Pinch the fabric.
Using your index, thumb, and middle finger, grab the fabric behind the presser foot and pinch it firmly, ensuring you have a firm grip.
- Step 5: Pull the fabric
You can either pull the fabric diagonally towards you or towards the back then left in this step. You only need to test and see which direction is ideal for you. Using either of the methods helps to secure the seams. In addition, pinching the seam with your finger helps prevent tunneling when you pull the thread.
Securing a Coverstitch Seam by Hand Using Thread and Needle
In this method, you’ll need to have a sewing needle. However, the technique is proper, especially when sewing decorative cover stitch seams like reverse cover stitching. In addition, you’ll have to use a needle when pulling the thread strands into the garment.
Then, by running the threads under a few stitches, attached thread strands in the cover stitch seam. You can then finish up by tying the threads as knots for better security.
Suppose you are doing regular cover stitching. You can also secure the seam with the hook under the fabric to pull the needle threads to the reverse side, making it easier to secure using the sewing needle.
Some machines are advanced and can chain off like a serger so you can continue sewing outside the fabric, creating a long thread strand. You can also choose to end the stitch after inserting a fabric scrap then securing the seam after closing the seam, such as on leggings hem or sleeves.
What if you mess up things? In such a case, use a sewing machine to sew a few straight stitches back and forth at the ends to prevent the cover stitch from unraveling.
A serger might seem like a highly complex machine to use, but you’ll always enjoy serging if you follow the right steps. We have seen all the tips involved in cover stitching and that you only need some practice to gain the necessary skills to have outstanding results. Even with the information I have provided, it would be better to wrap it all with this question…
Can I Do a CoverStitch On My Serger?
Yes, you can. Sergers are perfect for cover stitching, but not all of them can do this task. So when choosing, consider a combo serger that can serge and cover stitch.
I would love to appreciate the time you have spent on this article. Supposed you have any observation, a question, or a suggestion, the comment section below is all yours.