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Date: 6/26/09 3:13 PM
Coverpro Guide Part 1: Buying your Coverpro
This thread contains Part One of the four part Coverpro Guide. I hope you find this guide helpful. If you have any questions or comments about buying your Coverpro that aren't covered here, please post your message on the original Janome Coverpro CoverStitch Machines CP900 & CP1000
This guide is dedicated to PR's Vonnevo. Vonne, without your inspiration, expertise and guidance, we'd all still be cursing at our twin needles.
Thanks are also due to the dozens of people from the US, Austrailia and other countries who contributed their sewing and money saving tips to PR's Coverpro thread over the past three years.
And a special mention should also be made of Debbie Cook's excellent Coverstitch Tutorials which provides information about all brands of coverstitch machines and how to use them. No wonder so many of us call Debbie the Coverstitch Queen.
In 2005, Janome introduced the Coverpro 1000 CP and the Coverpro 900 CP two dedicated (standalone) coverstitch machines for home use. In April 2006, PR's Vonnevo started a thread where people could exchange information about the new machines that few dealers seemed to know anything about. The Coverpro 1000/900 thread eventually became the longest running thread on the Message Board and the best source of information about the Coverpro.
But as the thread grew to over 350 pages, it became hard for people to find the information they needed. This guide boils down the most important information for new users and anyone thinking about buying a Janome Coverpro or Elna 434. It will tell you how to buy your Coverpro at the lowest possible price, explains which accessories are the most useful and includes basic coverstitching tips. We hope you'll find it helpful.
What Does the Coverpro Do And Do You Need One?
The Janome Coverpro coverstitch machines basically do only one thing, but they do it very well. They allow you to quickly and easily duplicate the double row of stitching seen in RTW (ready-to-wear) knits quickly and easily.
Examine a typical RTW knit top or tee shirt and you will see the hem is finished with two parallel lines of sewing. The stitches are uniform and even, and the surface is almost completely flat without any ridges or "tunneling." Turn the top inside out and you will see a criss cross network of stitches that alternates between the two rows. If you stretch the garment you will see that these stitches allow a lot of give. It's these features that make the coverstitch ideal for hemming knits or casual woven garments.
You can approximate the look of a coverstitch with your sewing machine using a twin needle, but you can't duplicate it. A hem made with a twin needle has far less give, and it is far more prone to tunneling. You can minimize twin needle tunneling by loosening your sewing machine tension and by lengthening your stitch length, but you can't get rid of it entirely. If you want the completely smooth surface and the flexible give of a RTW coverstitched hem, you need to use a coverstitch machine.
In the words of PR's Nancy K, coverstitch machines "will absolutely help you make your sewing look like rtw. The big difference for hemming is that the cs machine has a differential feed, so there is no stretching on the difficult to sew cross grain."
Some sergers, those which have at least five threads, include the coverstitch as one of their functions. But these combination machines must be reset whenever you switch from regular serging to coverstitching or back again. This process can be time consuming, and some people who use combination machines have quickly tired of the hassles of switching.
Sergers with four threads or fewer lack the coverstitch feature. But many people who own these sergers, and even some who own the combination machines, have purchased dedicated coverstitch machines like the Coverpros and the Elna 434.
PR's Debbie Cook has prepared an excellent Coverstitch Comparison Chart that compares the five main coverstitch brands and models which include the Janome Coverpro 1000 CP and 900 CP, the Babylock BLCS, the Brother 2340 CV, and the Bernina 009DCC. Anyone who's considering a coverstitch machine should study Debbie's chart to learn the features, advantages, disadvantages, and relative pricing of each machine.
For many people, the Janome Coverpros and the Elna 434 represent the best combination of price, capability and ease of use. For just a few hundred dollars you can purchase an easy to use but reliable machine that can give your clothes the professional finish found on better RTW. No wonder so many of us on PR have switched over to the Coverpro and retired our twin needles.
The Coverpros and the Elna 434 have an important advantage over other brands. Their long sewing machine-style harp enables you to coverstitch over seams in the interior of the bulkiest garments quickly and easily, even after the garments are constructed. This is harder, or perhaps impossible, on the other brands. Consider that the area around the Coverpro's harp is four times larger than that of the Babylock BLCS.
The Coverpro 1000, 900, and the Elna 434
The Coverpro 1000 and the 900 are almost identical. They differ from each other in only one way -- the 1000 has three needles, and the 900 has two. The Elna 434 is manufactured by Janome for Elna, and it is identical to the Coverpro 1000 in every way with one exception, the exterior is painted more boldly. This trivial cosmetic difference has sometimes been called "a redesign."
The Coverpro 1000 and the Elna 434, produce four stitches: a 6mm wide two row coverstitch, a 3mm two row coverstitch, a 6mm wide triple row coverstitch, and a single row chainstitch. The chainstitch is sometimes used by dressmakers and tailors during alterations because the chainstitch is easy to remove. It is also used as a decorative stitch.
The 900 sews two stitches: the 5mm wide two row coverstitch and the single row chainstitch. The 900's 5mm wide coverstitch is slightly narrower than the 1000's 6mm wide coverstitch and quite a bit wider than the 1000's 3mm wide coverstitch.
The Coverpro 1000 CP is being discontinued by Janome and will be replaced by the 1000 CX, which we understand is identical to the CP, except for the color of the logo (purple) and the addition of two feet. For the time being the 1000 CP is not sold online and must be purchased from Janome dealers, but that may change in the coming months.
The Coverpro measures approximately 13.5" high by 13.5" long by 9.5" deep.
Which model is right for you?
Some people believe the 1000 is worth the extra expense because it provides a narrow coverstitch that's more often seen on dressy clothes and looks good on neckline bindings. The 1000 also provides a triple coverstitch that's a refreshing alternative for sporty clothes, especially when the coverstitch is applied to the reverse side of the garment.
On the other hand, some people prefer the low price and simplicity of the 900. The 900 has been discontinued by Janome, and is it no longer easy to find, especially at substantial discounts. But many people on PR purchased one online in 2008 through ebay and other websites for as little as $250, including shipping. Note that the quality of the 900's coverstitch is identical to that of the 1000.
The Elna 434 is the third option. It is manufactured by Janome for Elna and is identical to the Janome 1000 in every respect except color. You can expect to pay $100 more for the 434 than you would for the 1000. Coverpro accessories can be used on the 434, and vice versa.
We understand a machine called the Nina is available for sale in South Africa. It is manufactured by Janome, and it, like the Elna 434, is identical to the Coverpro 1000.
Cost range and how to buy your Coverpro for the lowest prices
Prices for the Janome Coverpros range all over the map. Some individuals have paid a premium price at their local dealers, but others have gotten the same machines for hundreds of dollars less. This section of the guide is intended to help you find your machine at the lowest possible price.
Unfortunately, the Coverpro 900 has been discontinued and is now hard to find at bargain prices, or at all. Until a few months ago, 900s were widely available on ebay and other online vendors for $250 or less, including shipping. Recent searches did not show any 900s for sale. But if you're lucky, you might still be able to find an online vendor that sells the 900 at a good price.
From time to time, used 900s show up on PR's Classifieds section and on the SewItsForSale yahoo group. Craig's List is another option.
The Coverpros are extremely hardy mechanical machines and hold up well over time. So you should be able to purchase a used one without problems. You should expect to pay less than $200 for a used Coverpro 900 without accessories.
Local dealers may still have a few 900s in stock, but these may be at highly inflated prices. One local dealer in the Southeast wanted $699 for the CP 900; another demanded "no less than $549."
There's no reason to pay inflated dealer prices for a 900 since you can purchase a 1000 for far less money if you shop carefully. Also, the Coverpros are extremely easy to learn to use. They come prethreaded, and most people are able to master the machine by themselves in a few days. And since most dealers know little or nothing about the Coverpro, you'll be on your own, regardless of whether you buy your machine from a dealer or online.
Prices for the Coverpro 1000, which cannot be sold online, range from the ridiculously overpriced $1,000 down to as little as $350, with a price between $400 and $500 considered competitive.
Dealers are generally not able to ship the 1000 out of state. However, it may worthwhile to contact the following dealers who offer attractive prices on the 1000, especially if you or a friend live within driving distance. It may be worth a special trip if you can save hundreds of dollars on your Coverpro.
The dealers listed below have been mentioned on the boards as charging low or reasonable prices for the Coverpro 1000. Note that these are not the only dealers who offer good prices on the 1000 -- they are simply ones that have been discussed on the boards.
Neverett's Sew and Vac, Nashua, NH ($399)
Tony's Sewing Machine, Biddeford, ME ($349)
Mr. Vac and Mrs. Sew, Wantagh, NY ($399)
Audrey's Sew and Vac, Salem, NH ($399)
Value Plus Vacuum & Sewing, Eugene, OR ($399)
Meissner's Sewing Center, Sacramento, CA ($399)
Odegaard's, Flagstaff, AZ ($429)
Ken's Sewing & Vacuum Center, Muscle Shoals, AL ($499)
Prices for the Coverpro 1000 are generally lower in England than the US. One member believes the least expensive place to buy a Coverpro 1000 in the UK is through Sewing Machines Direct.
GUR Sewing Machines has also been recommended as a good place to buy a Coverpro in the UK.
The Elna 434
The Elna 434 was recently introduced, and we have little pricing information from our members. However, it appears to run about one hundred dollars more than the Janome Coverpro 1000, ranging from $499 to $599. One dealer charges $499 for the machine, which puts it at the upper end of the Coverpro 1000's competitive range. Another dealer charges $599. Keep in mind, the Elna 434 is identical to the Janome Coverpro 1000 in every way except for the color of the exterior. So if you'd like to keep your costs down, you'd be better off with the Coverpro 1000.
-- Edited on 8/27/09 5:00 PM --
No sewing project is ever a complete success nor a total failure.
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