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Date: 6/26/09 4:14 PM
Coverpro Guide Part Three: Learning to use your Coverpro
This thread contains Part Three 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 thread.
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.
Unpacking your Coverpro and getting started
This section contains only the basics you will need to know to use your Coverpro on very simple projects. More advanced topics are covered in Part Four of this guide.
As soon as you receive your new Coverpro, you should take it out of the box and relax. The machine comes prethreaded with the needles already installed. It's a very simple mechanical machine -- very easy to thread (even if you've never owned a serger before) and very easy to learn to use. The best thing is it's practically indestructible -- you aren't going hurt it no matter what you do. Within a few minutes, you'll be sewing your first coverstitch. And within a day or two you'll be turning out projects like a pro.
After you've taken your Coverpro out of the box, it's a good idea to snap some extreme close up photos of the machine and all its thread guides while it's still prethreaded. That way, you have a backup visual guide to follow in case you find the diagrams in the manual to be confusing. If you don't have a digital camera, you can refer to the photos posted in this guide, but it would probably be more helpful to you if you took your own.
Then you should look through the instruction manual that came with your machine. Pay particular attention to the page that identifies the knobs, dials and guides on your Coverpro. These are a little different than those you would find on a regular sewing machine.
In particular, learn to identify the Pressure Foot Knob that lies at the top of the machine on the left side. This knob has been tightened at the factory and you will need to readjust it by turning it before you start sewing. Take a small ruler and measure the height of the knob. If you will be sewing a medium weight fabric, turn the knob until it reaches a height of 3/8". For light weight knits, the knob should be 1/2" high. The biggest mistake beginners make is that they forget to adjust the Pressure Foot Knob, so please remember to do this.
The other controls you should familiarize yourself with include the left, right, and if you have a 1000, center needle tension dials. These dials are located on the front of the machine towards the top. They are very easy to adjust by number -- from 0 to 9. In general lighter fabrics need lower number settings
At the side of the machine in descending order are the handwheel and the knobs for stitch length and differential feed. The handwheel turns easily and works just like a sewing machine's handwheel. The stitch length knob is numbered from 1 to 4, but you will only use stitch lengths of 3 or 4. The differential feed knob is numbered from 0.5 to 2. You will probably use a differential feed of 1 or 2 on most projects.
Machine settings for different fabrics
Here are the Coverpro settings I use for lightweight, medium weight and heavy weight fabrics. You may wish to modify them depending on your particular fabrics.
Left, Right Needle Tension: 2, 2
Looper Tension: 5
Stitch Length: 3 to 4
Pressure Foot (knob on top): 1/2" or 13mm (measure with a ruler)
L, R Needle Tension: 4, 4
Looper Tension: 3
Stitch Length: 3 to 4
Pressure Foot: 3/8" or 10mm (measure with a ruler)
L, R Needle Tension: 6, 6
Looper Tension: 0
Stitch Length: 4
Pressure Foot: 3/8: or 10mm (measure with a ruler)
It's a good idea to jot these settings down on a little index card that you can keep beside your Coverpro. One place to store this card is in the little plastic accessory box that comes with your machine.
The pressure foot leaver is black and located behind the machine. It works just like the one on a sewing machine.
Threading your machine
The next thing you need to learn how to do is thread the machine. It may look a little complicated at first but it's actually very simple, and you'll be able to do it from memory after a few tries. If you haven't taken close up photos of the threading guides at the top of the machine and above the spool guides please do so now. Note the way the thread passes over these guide holes. Then note the path the thread takes all the way to the needles and take some close up shots.
Finally open the machine by placing your thumb in the recessed oval on the lower right hand side of the front of the machine. Turn the handwheel slightly and see how the looper thread take up leaver moves to allow you to line it up for easy threading. Pull on the little gray knob at the lower left side in front and watch as the looper is released. Note the simple path the thread takes through the looper and snap a closeup photo. To return the looper to its proper position simply push it to the left and then close the door.
Vonnevo offers these threading tips. "Simply thread the two needles and poke the threads through the hole in the foot so that they lie underneath the foot and off to the side or back.
For the lower looper, follow the threading guide. Pull the knob forward to bring the looper out to thread it, push the knob back in and just close the cover. The bottom looper thread doesn't need to come up to the top No need to try and poke the thread up to the top. Leave just about 4" of thread hanging. The top threads will automatically pick up the looper thread when you start to stitch."
If you prefer, you can use the tie on method to thread the lower looper of your machine by simply tying the beginning of the new thread to the end of the old and pulling it through. This is the recommended method for dealing with wooly nylon, which is harder to thread. But if you're using regular thread, it's very easy to thread your machine in the regular way from scratch.
Take a few minutes to read the manual. It's fairly straight forward, but it does have have one serious error. To increase the presser foot pressure, turn the presser foot knob clockwise (righty-tighty, lefty loosey), not counterclockwise as the manual suggests.
Now try your hand at sewing a coverstitch on a swatch of fabric. If you don't want to plug it in yet, just use the handwheel. Place your fabric directly under the presser foot and begin. Sew a few stitches and stop.
This is Debbie Cook's method for ending a coverstitch.
To release the fabric from the coverstitch machine, Nancy K recommends that you lift the presser foot and taking a narrow long tool from the left side, back to front sweep the threads in front of the foot by several inches and cut. Then pull the material to the back and voila, the threads are on the bottom and are locked.
To obtain maximum clearance under the presser foot (extra high lift), simply raise the presser foot lever in the normal way -- then raise the lever again, this time all the way up. You should get an extra 1/8" of additional clearance, which can be useful when you're working with fleece and other bulky fabrics.
Vonnevo recommends the following technique for undoing coverstitches. "The stitching for all the coverstitches, will undo when the lower looper thread is pulled from the end where you stopped stitching. Separate the top stitch from the teeny loop on the underside at the finishing end and then pull on the looper thread. You can stitch off the edge when using the CP machines and this will make undoing the stitching easier, as the threads won't be knotted like the the method shown in Debbie's tutorial."
The best way to become proficient with your new Coverpro is to start using it. Practice coverstitching with fabric scraps. Take a few old garments and give them new hems. Then start using it on real projects. Before long, you'll have mastered your machine and will think of interesting, new ways to use your Coverpro. See the sample projects in the last section of the guide to inspire you.
The Coverpro is easy to use and very reliable, but occassionally things can go wrong. Fortunately, almost all problems are very easy to fix.
The biggest mistake beginners make is they forget to adjust the Foot Pressure Knob at the top of the machine. This knob has been tightened at the factory and needs to be loosened in order for you to obtain an acceptable coverstitch. Please see the section above for directions on how to do this.
If your stitches seem unacceptable or if you get tunneling, check to see you're using the right machine settings for your fabric. See the chart posted in the section above. Note that tunneling is often caused by a looper tension that is too high for your fabric.
Another problem might be that your machine needs to be rethreaded. Check to be sure the threads are nestled into all the proper guides and slots, and rethread if necessary.
One or more of your needles might need to be replaced. Some users change their needles frequently, others use the same needle on many projects. But from time to time, needles become damaged and need to be changed. Please refer to the Coverpro manual for directions on how to change your needle. Note that only Schmetz ELX 705 or Organ SY2922 coverstitch needles should be used on your Coverpro.
To prevent skipped stitches Vonnevo recommends: use the extension table to prevent fabric drag, support the fabric with your left hand and guiding it but don't pull it. Pulling the fabric will lead to skipped stitches.
Vonnevo reports that the main reasons for thread breaking include:
* Thread not feeding off the spool evenly - use spool caps.
* Thread getting caught on a rough spot on the spool.
* Thread falling off the spool and getting caught underneath the spool - use thread nets.
* Thread getting tangled or looped twice on the wire thread holder - the one that is the first threading point from the spool.
If thread is looping on the underside of the fabric, Vonnevo recommends that you make sure the thread is seated competely in the tension disc. Try pulling the thread before and after the tension disc to be sure it is firmly seated between the discs.
Debbie Cook recommends that spool nets (thread nets) be used over all spools of thread even bobbins to prevent the thread from "puddling."
-- Edited on 1/20/10 2:52 PM --
No sewing project is ever a complete success nor a total failure.
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