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Machine Review: Brothers 2340CV Cover Stitch

For the majority of my sewing life, I’ve had only a sewing machine and a serger.  A couple of years ago I decided to up my game and add a cover stitch to the arsenal.  At first it seemed like a frivolous purchase because it is a bit one-purposed.  I don’t mean to make “one-purposed” sound like a bad thing because it’s not.  My straight stitch sewing machine would also be called one-purposed as it only does a straight stitch and it is invaluable.

Brothers 2340CV

 

 

Show Me the Money

I bought my Brother’s 2340CV from Amazon.  I have Amazon Prime so I got free shipping.  It is currently $350 which is a lot if you considering I can purchase 140 lbs of fabric from the Michael Levine Loft instead. Michael Levine Loft I was really frustrated with twin needling or stretching a straight stitch on knits and having stitches break with wear.  I really wanted to have a durable and nice looking knit hem.  I researched for a long time and for the cost and benefits this was the best machine for me.  The other machine I considered was the Janome 1000CPX for the same stitch options but it was quite a bit more money.

 

 

Stitches

The Brothers 2340CV has 3 needles so it can produce 4 different stitch types.

All Stitches

Triple Stitch: This stitch uses all 3 needles and is the sportiest of the stitches.  I’ve seen this stitch more on RTW active wear.  Personally I’ve only used it once.

Triple Stitch

Twin Narrow (3mm):  This stitch uses two of the needles.  Either the left and middle or middle and right.  I use this stitch the most because it is the closest to RTW garments I have.

Twin Narrow
Twin wide (6mm): This stitch uses the left and right needles.  I use this stitch occasionally when I want a wider stitch for thicker fabric or I’m trying to get a particular look.

Twin Wide
Chain Stitch: The chain stitch uses 1 needle.  I’m not sure if it matters if it’s the left, middle or right needle.  The chain stitch can be used as a basting thread because it’s super quick to unpick.  You can undo a long row in literally seconds.

Chain Stitch

Threading

Threading this machine is really easy if you’re familiar with threading a serger.  Threading is color-coded and numbered.  The looper hook pops out so I don’t have to use a crochet hook like on my serger to thread it.  Most of the time, I simply knot the new and old threads together, zero the tension and pull it through.

Threading Diagram

 

 

Presser Feet

If you have the Brothers 1034D serger the location of the presser feet lift, on the right side, will be familiar to you.  All the sergers and sewing machines I’ve used have the presser feet lift behind the foot so that’s where I’m always reaching for it.  It takes a while for new muscle memory to kick in.  The cost of additional pressure feet is where I think they make back their money.  $80 for a foot?!  I’m not use to paying more than a few bucks for a foot so this was a bit of sticker shock.  So far I haven’t had use for anything other than the foot that comes with the machine.  Fingers crossed.

Presser Foot Lift

 

 

Tension

The tension release is a bit difficult.  On most machines when you raise the presser foot the tension is released so you can just pull your fabric out.  On this machine the tension is released by holding the little, plastic-y tabs near the tension dials over to one side.  So it takes a little finger gymnastics to hold 3 or 4 little plasticy things to the right to release the tension while pulling out the fabric with your other hand.  There are quite a few tutorials out there on how to get your fabric out using a little tool thingy to pull out the needle thread(s), cutting it and then pulling the fabric out.  Again, not easy but very doable.

Tension Release

 

 

Harp space

The harp space is small like a serger.  There is a cover stitch machine by Janome that has a harp space like a sewing machine.  On a few occasions I had to fiddle with the fabric a bit because of the lack of space.  It takes some pre-planning and rolling up the fabric but the tight space hasn’t stopped me yet.

Harp Space

 

 

Final thoughts

So far I’ve used the cover stitch on hems of all sorts:  shirt, sleeve, pants, skirts, dresses.  I’ve also used it to topstitch.  What else have you used a cover stitch for?  I’ve really enjoyed having this machine as I’ve been sewing almost exclusively knits these days.  With my ever fluctuating weight and desire for maximum comfort I’ve even resorted to sewing knits that look like wovens.  I’m so bad, I know.

Happy cover stitching,

Signature smallP.S. if you screw up, make sure you visit my unpicking a cover stitch post to see how I quickly unpick a cover stitch.  It’s magical.

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54 Responses to Machine Review: Brothers 2340CV Cover Stitch

  1. Sabrina Rodriguez says:

    Hello! i just found your blog and love your review! thank you for sharing, i want to buy an Overlook, but im deciding between the Brother 2340CV (i fell in love with this one) or the Brother 3034D, i only want it so i can give my projects a better finishing? (is that how you say it?, sorry english its not my first lenguage) nothing fancy or to professional, so i dont know if the 3034D will do the work just fine, can you give me you opinion please 🙂

    • Hi Sabrina,
      I think you’re talking about two different machines. The Brother 3034D is a serger or overlock. It finishes edges and you can use it to sew together knit fabrics. The Brother 2340 CV is a coverstitch meant for finishing hems. The coverstitch is more limited but the results are visible. Whereas with the serger you can only see from the inside of your clothing. You can use a sewing machine to do what a serger or coverstitch can do but not as well. Which one is better for you depends on what you sew and what you mean by better finishing.

  2. Kahri says:

    Aloha! I am looking into cover stitch machines and am curious on how well the Brother works with swimwear fabric. I sew a lot of swimsuits and want a more professional finish.

    • knitbunnie says:

      I have two coverstitch machines, the Brother 2340CV, and the Babylock BLCS2. For me, the Brother does not handle this type fabric nearly as well as the Babylock. With my Brother and a swimsuit-type fabric, I get skipped stitches, and I really have to do a lot of adjusting and swatching to get a decent stitch -tensions, threads, differential, foot pressure, and stitch length – all of it needs fiddling. The BLCS2 handles swimsuits-type fabric much better, with minimal adjusting.

    • I use a stretch stitch on a regular sewing machine for swim wear so I can’t really comment on how it works. Good thing knitbunnie came to my rescue with her comments. Thanks knitbunnie.

  3. Dana says:

    Hi! The hubs just gave me this machine for a combined Mother’s Day and bday (in July) gift – (whatever he needs to tell himself – I just wanted this machine!!!). Anyway – what type of thread do you recommend? I have the brother 1034 and used a wooly nylon in the upper looper, with poly in the other 3 spots…if I’m primarily using this machine for knits, do Ido something similar? Or all the same kind? Do I change them out for a different kind with wovens??? Thanks so much for your helpful review and comments!!!

    • Hi Dana,
      What a great gift. That hubs must have read your mind! I use a high quality poly serger thread. I use the same thread for my sewing machines, serger and cover stitch. I don’t have much experience with wooly nylon. I suspect it might be useful in the lower looper on super stretchy or super thin knits but regular serger thread hasn’t failed me yet. I haven’t coverstitched any wovens only knits. Hopefully you already have plenty of serger cones already. Personally I like my thread to match so I have a drawer full of threads. With serger you can get away with a completely unmatching thread because it won’t be visible. With the coverstitch the 2 or 3 topstitches do show. Have fun with your machine and post a comment if you have any more questions. Other machine owners may be able to help you out.

    • knitbunnie says:

      Wooly nylon is great in the looper for knits! Use regular thread in the needles, and use good quality because you’re going to see the threads. Nice, regular sewing machine thread looks much better than serger thread in the coverstitch needles. For wovens, I use regular thread in the looper on my coverstitch machines.

  4. Wendy says:

    Are you still loving this machine? I’m debating between it and the Janome 900. Not a huge price difference…although I can get the Janome with a hem guide and an elastic foot for $400 and the Brother for about $340. Every day I change my mind on which to get!

    • Margaret says:

      Hi. I do like this machine. I still have not done a lot of projects. It does produce a very professional hem. I recommend practicing on scrap material, also use a ball point needle. I do wonder about the hem guide. Sounds helpful. I am going to practice more on necklines. It is hard to keep perfect spacing when stitching. Hope this helps

    • Hi Wendy,

      I still love my machine but I haven’t tried the Janome 900. Ignorance is bliss. **I think** the Janome 900 only has 2 needles. If this is the case I would prefer the Brothers. With 3 needles you can do a narrower and wider coverstitch. The narrower coverstitch has less tunneling with thinner knits. Though all my machines struggles with tissue knits. I don’t use any of the other foots. They are expensive so if you think you’ll use the elastic foot and hem guide maybe the Janome is a better deal. If you’re buying for a local dealer, they can help you with the machine. I do find some dealers aren’t very familiar with the coverstitch machines. If they have it in the store you can try it out for yourself. The Janome does have the larger harp space which makes it a larger foot print. The Brothers is serger shaped so it takes up less space if you’re concerned about that. **I think** the Janome has an auto-tension release which isn’t a big deal for me. You still have to do all the funky stuff to release the thread on either machines. Decide what features are most important to you and that will make you decision easier. To me I had to have the narrower coverstitch. Get off the fence!! You’re wasting precious sewing time.

  5. margaret baldree says:

    hi, enjoy reading all the comments. i just purchased this machine and was wondering about skipped stitches. how do you fix that problem?

    • I rarely have skipped stitches. When I do it’s usually when I’m going too fast. Slowing down to a crawl usually fixes it. Have you noticed any commonalities on when you get skipped stitches? Is it a particular fabric? Thread?

      • margaret baldree says:

        thanks for the quick response. this is brand new and i have only used one fabric, knit, medium weight. i am going to re thread today and see if that fixes it. i thought maybe it happened when i stopped and started, but i ran without any hesitations or stops and still had skips. i will let you know what happens.

  6. Mary Robertson says:

    Hello, I have the Brother 2340CV, and for the most part I love it! I’ve gotten used to things I need to do with it, like getting the fabric out. That was a learning curve. One thing that I’m still having trouble with is holes in knit fabric. Not all knits, just some. I use fresh Schmetz needles on projects, wooly nylon in the looper, and cotton quilting thread in the needles. I’ve fiddled with the tension, presser foot tension, and diff feed. Its so frustrating, because the coverstitch is the last step with certain pieces I make- and then they get ruined. Any feedback is appreciated greatly! ~Mary

    • Oh Mary, that is frustrating. I’ve gotten holes in very thin knits. Are you finding the same thing? I’ve tried a ball point needle and it still got holes. I think it has something to do with the thin knit being pulled and essentially torn by the stitching. I’ve got 3 ideas. Both are preventative measures since you can’t unhole a hem short of cutting it shorter.
      1) It’s probably a good habit to test the cover stitch on a scrap first. I usually do this anyway to make sure the tensions are correct. If you can’t get it to stitch correctly it’s better to hem in on the sewing machine than to ruin the garment.
      2) I haven’t tried it but maybe some sort of stabilizer like a knit tricot interfacing would keep it from hole-ing/tearing so easily. That would help with any tunneling with the thin knits.
      3) If the holes are happening on a particular type of fabric (thin knits, in my case) I would just avoid using them. Or plan on hemming them with another method.
      Good luck.

  7. Bernadette says:

    Hey, Thank you for your in depth review. Haven’t shopped at Michael Levine loft for quite some time. I need a cover stitch machine but the tie off thing is bothering me….? bernadette

    • I haven’t been to the Loft in a long while. If your stash is like mine, it’s best to stay away. I’ve gotten pretty fast at tying off so it doesn’t bother me. I do love the clean finish of the coverstitch so I think it’s worth the effort. Maybe what you need is someone to tie off your ends.

  8. knitbunnie says:

    I bit the bullet and got the 2340CV, and I love it. I’ve learned that the pressure foot needs adjusting, depending on the knit – a swimsuit-type synthetic knit fabric, for me, needs to have the pressure foot loosened, or I get skipped stitched. I need to have my thread feed in very smoothly, so sometimes I throw the spools in a cup behind the machine because I often use regular spools of thread and they can be rough around the edges. If not, I get spots where my stitches are closer together with even the slightest hang-up of the thread. For ending off the thread, I’ve gotten pretty good at taking things off the machine, and then I use a thin, blunt tapestry needle (it’s easy to get all 3/4 threads through it) to do a sewn knot into the hem and then thread a few inches of the tail back into the hem. If it’s really stretchy fabric and for one of my grandchildren, rough & tumble little guys, I may dot a bit of Fray-Check there, too.

  9. Maggie says:

    Thinking of getting this machine, do you still love it? Also, what is the brand name of the thread you use?
    Thanks

    • Hi Maggie. I do still love it the Brothers Cover stitch machine. I’ve had the machine for several years now and it gets used on most of my projects. The thread that I use doesn’t have a brand. I get it from LA Image Supply on ebay. http://stores.ebay.com/laimagesupply/ It’s the thread on the cardboard tubes, sold in a 4 pack, shrink wrapped. I buy the assorted packs so I have lots of colors and it saves on shipping. Love that these tubes take up a lot less space than a serger cone.

  10. Linda Rodriguez says:

    I have this machine and i hate the ending off. So much so that i am considering selling it and buying another brand. The feet are so expensive I just made a spectacular hem on a tank top. Now if the ending off wasn’t such a pain…… please someone talk me down off the new machine ledge 🙂

    • WALK AWAY FROM THE LEDGE!! It’s a great machine. The ends do get tedious when you’re doing necklines, hems and sleeves. I use the blunt side of a seam ripper to pull the threads and conveniently cut the thread. Don’t you think the finish is so nice looking and super functional?!? I only own the one feet but I agree that they are too expensive. I’m assuming that’s where they make their money. A bit like cheap printers where the ink costs you an arm and a leg. If you bought another machine wouldn’t the machine be more expensive, offsetting the cost of additional feets?

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  12. Denise says:

    Thanks for your detailed review. I’m about to purchase this machine and was doing some last minute research to make sure this is the right machine for me.

  13. Alana says:

    Hi, 1) Does this cover stitch machine need a special table and motor? 2) Does it work like a portable table top machine that I can pick up and move around? 3) can it sew spandex &stretchy fabrics?

    • Hi Alana. Thanks for the questions. 1) The machine doesn’t need a special table. The table should be sturdy or it may vibrate the table. It does not need a special motor. The motor comes with the machine. 2) yes it’s a stand alone machine that you can move like a home sewing machine. 3) Yes it can sew knit fabrics. I think it’s meant for knit fabrics.

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  15. knitbunnie says:

    I have a Brother 1034D serger, and one thing I love about it is that it can use standard sewing thread. Do you need special thread with their coverstitch machine, or can regular, household sewing thread be used? I live in the boondocks of northern California, and even the simple task of buying thread is at least an hour’s worth of driving, which means a trip to Walmart, which I HATE! A “real” fabric store is a 100mile plus trip.

    • I’m not sure about standard sewing thread because I haven’t tried it. I use a high quality, low lint, strong industrial serger thread (not “Crappy Lock”) on everything… sewing machine, serger, cover stitch and hand sewing. Way cheaper than using regular sewing thread. I looked at the manual and it doesn’t specify the type of thread. It does info on how to use different thread spools. One picture has a cone like a serger cone. The other picture is a flat spool like a Clarks & Coat. I would think that with regular sewing thread you may have more issues with bulk as you can have up to 4 threads. But if you’ve done it successfully with your serger, it might not be a problem.

  16. KelySews says:

    I’m looking at getting this machine as well, in June thanks for the review

  17. Carrie says:

    Thanks for this great review! I’m really coveting a coverstitch machine because, like you, I don’t like twin-needles or zig-zagged hems (especially with thin drapey knits). Like my serger (Brother 1034) I’ve been looking at this model to just try it out and see if I like the machine or not before even thinking about getting a nicer model. My biggest concern is around the small harp-space….it’s just so tempting to buy immediately from Amazon!

    • Carrie, if you’re ever in Southern CA feel free to come try the machine. In regards to the harp space, if you go through garments you’ve sewn and think about what you would have cover stitched had you had the machine, you may find that you don’t need the harp space. The small space is plenty of room for deep hems. Where I’ve run into a little fabric gymnastics is using it as decorative topstitching like on a princess seam or the inseam of my pajama jeans.

  18. aleah says:

    Oh, I am so coveting a coverstitch! I do hem a. lot. of knits. But the twin needle generally works well for me… But the wrong side is so pretty! I see a lot of activewear and hoodies and things that have the wrong side of the coverstitching used as topstitching and I like it a lot.
    The small “harp space” (I’d never heard it called that) is slightly worrisome, it seems like I’d prefer a freearm style, but if you’re making it work maybe it’s okay.
    Perhaps I’ll just have to save some knit hems and come try yours out!

    • What a great idea to have the underside on top. I’ve seen spaghetti straps of active wear also use a cover stitch. So many uses. The Janome 1000cpx is probably closer to what you’re looking for. It’s configured like a sewing machine with a larger harp space and a free arm. I think harp space is the right term, is it not?

  19. Kathleen says:

    Could you please advise me of the videos or sites to show using this machine? I got one for Christmas, and don’t feel very confident using it yet, due to the problems I’ve had releasing the fabric after hemming. I appreciate your help and advice! Thanks, Kathleen

  20. June says:

    I had a Janome CP1000. It was a lemon and dropped/skipped stitches constantly. After 2 years of trying every solution ever posted online (plus a professional tune up and hour-long troubleshooting lesson with a dealer), I gave up and traded it in for a Babylock BLCS. Best move I ever made. Coverstitching rocks.

    • Ack! Sorry to hear about the Janome. What a waste of precious sewing time, money and energy. The Babylock BLCS looks like a great little machine. I didn’t realized it has the 3 needles also. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Raye Ann Clayton says:

    Nice review! I love my coverstitch machine, and consider it a necessity. I also sew primarily knits, and use it for hemming, top stitching, binding (i use an industrial binder attachment), and sewing elastic waistbands on all of the kids clothes.

    • Oooh. I need to see this binding attachment of yours. Sounds really useful. I’ve never thought to sew elastic waistbands with the cover stitch. Thanks for the great idea. I have to check out an example next time I see you.

  22. Annette says:

    Thank you for the review. I have decided this is the machine that will be arriving on my doorstep some say in the future. When, I’m not sure yet. I’m trying to decide which of the feet I want. I’d like to use it for binding as well as the hemming. My son’s want me to get it for the decorative stitching on knits.

    • I’m so excited for you!! I don’t have any additional feet. I have seen people stick generic binding attachments with that blue gummy stuff used to put up posters and not leave a mark. Maybe worth trying before plunking down $$$s in accessories.

  23. Vanessa says:

    Thanks for the review! This machine is on my list of things to buy. I, like you, prefer sewing mostly knits.

  24. rtrittel says:

    Hey, I have the same coverstitch! I got mine on
    Amazon as well. I’ve enjoyed everything but the tension – I do wish they had a quick release. Do you tie off the end threads? I was told that if you don’t, the seam can come undone. I find it extremely annoying and time consuming; if I don’t need to do it let me know! Thanks for the review!

    • Hey we have twin machines! 🙂 I do tie off the ends. Yes, it is time consuming and annoying; especially, if my thread ends are short. A cover stitch doesn’t come undone very easily so maybe it’s worth testing. The other thing you can do is cover stitch the hem flat and then sew the side seams. This finish is not as nice but then you don’t have to tie off.

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