Saturday, April 30, 2011

Coverstitch or Blind hem machine?

I need want a new toy. I thought I wanted a coverstitch machine, and the lady at my quirky little Eunice Farmer fabric store almost had me convinced to get a BabyLock a few weeks ago. Now I'm not so sure.

What's the difference between a blind hem machine and a coverstitch machine? I basically want the ability to make clean finished hems on knits (the double-needle version without using two machines), and I'd also like to be able to add some of those fancy external seams on knit shirts that are all over my ready-to-wear clothes.

To see an example of the fancy seams, check out this jacket from Lululemon. If you look at the detailed picture, you can see what I mean. Maybe I could replicate the look just by topstitching on my sewing machine? I've convinced myself I'd sew more for my boys if I could make knits that have those details.

Any insight y'all could give me would be awesome, as I'm totally clueless when it comes to anything outside of a serger or sewing machine. Let's face it, the serger is a mysterious creature to me, too, but we've developed a happy little friendship despite the fact that I never change her needles.

Also in the news around here, I've found a new source of inspiration. My next door neighbor is a bench scientist at Wash U. His lab has some sort of sister-school-lab in Sweden, and this year there is a young couple from Sweden doing a rotation here.

The wife, Elin, is one of the most chic women I have ever met. The first time I saw her was at a barbecue, where she was wearing an adorable shift dress in the most outrageous red and purple zebra stripe I've ever seen. Somehow, instead of looking garish, it was phenomenal. The next time we met, she was wearing black leggings under a taupe silk tunic/dress with military details like gold buttons and epaulets on the shoulders. Even their baby girl dresses better than I do.

Oh, and before I forget? She's pregnant. So she probably looks even more pulled together when she's not pregnant. Anyway, I've decided to try to track down Swedish fashion resources as inspiration because I am completely dismayed at my frumpy closet. I've spent the last few weeks pulling out my summer things and putting away winter, and it disgusts me.

I'm dressing so casually I think I've have to dress up to go to yoga class (not that I do that, but if I did). I only wear pants or shorts. My tees are overworn and overwashed. My work clothes are OK, not phenomenal by any means, but it's the casual clothing that's embarassing.

I have a stack of darling silks just ready to make up, so I'm going to work on my plans while I wait for my sewing machine to come back from the shop. {sound of fingers drumming on desk} Where is that machine already?!!


  1. A blindstitch machine uses a curved needle and is used for classic hems like on dress pants, every dry cleaners that does alterations has one. A coverstitch machine uses the two (or 3) needles. Babylock is the only company that makes a coverstitich with the screw in plate that you can feed binding through and get perfect binding. If you are going to spend any money on a coverstitch get this model. I can hook you up with the one we use at the Japanese company "Knit Sewing Club". I already have a pfaff coverstitch and I will be buying the Babylock because the binding attachment is so amazing.

  2. I just ordered a coverstitch, and it should get here Tuesday. I got the Brother, which actually does offer a binder attachment. There are a couple of bloggers very experienced with coverstitchers. The most comprehensive resource is on Debbie Cook's blog - She has a Babylock, but she links to Belinda, who has all the info on the Brother.

  3. I would go with a coverstitch if you had to choose just one new toy. Super easy to finish knits and Debbie Cook's tutorials on using the binder attachments are phenomonal! I picked my coverstitch up off of Craigslist for $75.00...a little cleaning and TLC and she stitches like a dream!

  4. I have been thinking the same thing Heather. I have yet to fully master my serger. And of course I do love using it to assemble clothing. But I want to do those exposed seams on the front of the garment too. I really need to buy a new sewing machine first. I will be waiting patiently to see which you choose.

  5. It sounds like you want a coverstitch machine - it will do a twin-needle stretchy hem that doesn't "tunnel" (make a ridge of bumped-up fabric between the stitch lines), and the reverse side is the looper stitch that is often used on the public side of sport clothing. I have the Janome Coverpro 1000cp, which is mostly good but occasionally skips stitches (grr... but I just last night thought of another reason why it does that). Anyway, it can do a twin-needle hem or a triple-needle hem, both look very nice when the stitches don't skip. I also have a blindstitcher - it makes beautiful hems (also stretchy, also fine with knits), but doesn't make a stitching line that you see from the front or a pretty underside stitch.

  6. I have the babylock coverstitch and LOVE it. Go for it.

  7. I agree, it sounds like you want a coverstitch machine. Beverly, at that same Eunice Farmer fabric store, convinced me to buy a Babylock Evolution when the Huskylock serger I purchased off of Craigslist died. (I didn't have space for two machines). I love it! My husband even thinks its cool. I've made at least a dozen knit shirts and a dozen pairs of fleece PJ pants (holiday gifts) with it since I purchased it in December 2010 and its never had an issue. The cover stitch function is SO much less finicky than twin needling and the results look very RTW. I'm not sure it can make the decorative stitches a la Lulu Lemon but the two and three thread coverstitch looks great.

  8. Bernina 2500 DCET is the perfect machine