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