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Coverpro Guide Part 4: Sewing tips & sample projects
Janome Coverpro CP900/CP1000, Elna 434
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Date: 6/26/09 4:27 PM

Coverpro Guide Part 4: Sewing tips & sample projects

This thread contains Part 4 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.

Dedication:

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.

Janome's Tips on Turning Corners

You must remember that the coverstitch is created with two or three
needles so a perfect 90 degree pivot at corners will not be possible.
But with planning and patience a corner can be achieved in this manner:
Stop slightly ahead of the corner and manually turn the hand wheel until
the needles are in the lowest position. You will hear a slight "tick"
when the needles are in the lowest position. Lift the presser foot and
turn the fabric slightly in the direction you need to achieve either an
inside or outside corner. Manually turn the hand wheel until the needles
have made one stitch and are again in the lowest position. Lift the
presser foot and turn the fabric slightly in the needed direction.
Continue on for as many stitches as it takes to turn the corner. When
you have made the turn start the machine and sew as usual.

Debbie Cook's Tips

Debbie Cook's Coverstitch Tutorial contains many excellent general coverstitch sewing tips, and you will learn much by reading them carefully.

Here is a link to Debbie's Lazy Cover Stitched Hem

Vonnevo's Tips

PR's Vonnevo has a number of ingenious tips that will improve the look of your coverstitched garments. These are listed below:

Whenever you're getting ready to sew something new, always sew a sample on a scrap piece of fabric first.

When you're working with a difficult fabric like rayon/lycra jersey, start stitching on a scrap of fabric and butt your garment fabric up against it. This will prevent the fabric from stretching and eliminate the possibility of skipped stitches. Necklines on these garments should be finished with a binding.

For necklines and armholes on difficult fabrics, turn the edge under about 3/8" (1 cm) and stitch with a narrow coverstitch, lining the edge of the foot on the edge of the hem, with the two needles set to the right.

For hems on difficult fabrics, use a 3/4" (10 cm) width. Hems on higher quality RTW tops tend to be wider.

Glue stick is a great way to hold down turned edges. Be sure to let it dry completely before sewing. The glue, which washes out completely, firms up knit fabric and makes it more stable for stitching. Wash away Wonder Tape and Steam-A-Seam2 are also good options. Temporary adhesive spray will also hold down turned edges.

The chainstitch adds stretch and can be used to seam knits and wovens. It is particularly good for very fine knits where a serger would add unwanted extra bulk. Many woven garments are also seamed with a chain stitch, including blue jeans which are then coverstitched on top to secure the seam. The chainstitch can also be used to stitch bindings and as a decorative for curtains and other home dec items.

To achieve straight corners when hemming, leave one needle, the longest one, just in the fabric, lift the foot and turn the fabric.

The white Janome Extension Table is a must
a) because it supports the weight of the fabric to prevent needle drag = skipped stitches
b) because you can buy the ebay binders and attach them to the table.
c) because the table gives you a large flat bed area on which to work. The large harp area on the CP can be used to stitch anywhere on a garment. eg, twin/triple (reverse decorative too) stitching in the centre of knits, around the edges of larger facings, topstitching on woven garments etc.

To help deal with thick or lumpy seams use a "hump jumper" or Jean-A-Ma-Jig. Place it under the rear of the foot, just as the front of the foot is approaching the raised seam. It essentially raises the back of the foot, so that the foot rides horizontally over the seam. Hump jumpers are available at sewing notion stores or use a Schmetz needle box or folded piece of cardboard.

Increase the setting on your differential Feed to "tighten" turnover hems, back necklines and long hems across the front

If you're having trouble binding lightweight knits, feed a strip of water soluble stabilizer through with the fabric. Put it underneath the fabric and the feed dogs will grab that instead of stretching the mesh.
Immersein water when you are finished, and it will dissolve completely.

To sew fleece, Vonnevo recommends the following settings:
Top tension = 3
Looper tension = 2
Differential feed = 1.0
Stitch length = 3.5
Foot pressure - white knob is wound out far enough for the lower edge of the knob to be level with the top of machine.
The knob measures about 14 mm high.

Soft rayon/viscose/lycra knit is finicky to coverstitch. For this fabric reduce the foot pressure and the differential feed.

You can sew off edge of the fabric and clip all the threads. Just be careful not to pull on the looper thread until you have either sewn across it or knotted it, otherwise it will unravel. This procedure is fast and easy when you're topstitching on seams or when two pieces of fabric are being joined by a seam. The seam stitching will nearly always anchor the coverstitching.

To coverstitch over serged seams see Gigi Lewis's tutorial. But sometimes Vonnevo doesn't snip the seam. Instead she stops just before the seam, raises the pressure foot to relax the fabric at the seam line, and realigns if necessary.

For binding, Vonnevo suggested cutting the binding a tiny bit narrower than called for and applying spray starch to give it more body. For turning and pressing necklines use one of the very light stay tapes, especially at the back neck and the shoulders.

Go snoop shopping and inspect RTW knit garments for exciting, new ideas on how you can use your Coverpro.

Before you invest a lot of money in binders and other accessories, it's best to practice and master the basics of your machine. There is a learning curve.

kka's Tips

Select the proper binder size relative to your fabric. Heavier fabrics need wider binders.

Binder Tips
1) Keep the tip of the binder as close to the pressor foot as possible. put them at a slight angle so that the tip is almost touching the foot.
2) Always test your differential, tension, pressor foot pressure, stitch length, etc. without using the binder first. Be sure to use the same number of layers of fabric that you will have when the binder is being used.
3) Don't use fabric that is too stretchy.
4) Don't let the binding fabric hang down and stretch out as it is entering the binder. Use an extension table.

If you experience skipped stitches when using binders, kka recommends the "lengthen, loosen, lighten-up" rule:
1) Increase the stitch length.
2) Loosen the looper tension (and tighten the needle tension).
3) Lighten up on the pressor foot pressure (turn in).
4) Change to 90/14 needles.
Spraying the binder with silicone spray can also be useful.

To attach elastic using the binder:
1) Trim the seam allowance of the garment where you are going to be binding.
2) Stitch the elastic onto the wrong side of the garment. The serger trimsthe fabricnext to the elastic (without cutting the elastic, of course!). Or zigzag using the sewing machine.
3) Feed the garment into the binder right side up as you would if the elastic weren't there.

Sewing 1/2" fold over elastic (elastic folds to 1/4")
1) Use center guide foot WITH the rudder
2) Use right needle only (produces a chainstitch)
3) Fold elastic so the fold was on the right.
4) Line the raw edge to be sewn just slightly to the right of the rudder.
5) Sew

When working with woolly nylon set the tension to 0. Thread the wooly nylon through just one of the holes at the top of the thread stand and then one of the holes right before the tension disks. In other words, don't wrap it around the top of the thread stand and don't wrap it around the guides right before the tensions. Just use the guides as "guides" instead of "guides that create extra tension."

Other Tips

From time to time, other users have posted Coverpro sewing tips.

If you'd like to slow the speed of stitching down, you will have much better control if you operate the foot pedal with your bare (or stockinged) foot. Place a sandal with a two inch heel perpendicular to the foot pedal so you can rest your heel on the sandal and operate the foot pedal with your toe. If you try this, you'll find you can slow the machine down to a turtle's crawl.

To remove a chainstitch, Ruth T recommends that you start at the end where you stopped stitching. If you locked the stitches, clip or pick out the straight stitched side thread. Hold it that thread end. Then pull the chained side thread end. Voila.

Suchtreasures recommends that you do not use threadnets with wooly nylon.

Syke recommends that if you use heavier thread in the needles for topstitching you need to increase the needle tensions.

Tear away stabilizer, water soluable stabilizer, spray starch, and liquid starch and iron on interfacing have been mentioned as ways to tame problem fabrics

Christine S recommends the chainstitch be used as a basting stitch. It holds seams firmly but unravels quickly when pulled.

According to Ken at Ray's Sewing, the only place you would ever need to apply oil is around the loopers below.

If you are sewing on really light weight knit, Nancy K recommends that you loosen the tensions and add a wash away stabilizer or iron on interfacing to the hem. This should help prevent tunneling.

To sew rayon/lycra knits, Nancy K recommends that you fold and press the hem and use temporary spray adhesive to keep it in place. Reduce the foot pressure when coverstitching.

To prevent a gaping neckline on lightweight knits, diane s recommends you cut 3/8 inch bias strips of iron on tricot interfacing and press them on the wrong side neckline edges on knit tops. It stabilizes the knit and makes it easier to sew. Just use a low temp and a press cloth. For heavier knits use 1/4 inch swimwear elastic.

If your binding is twisting and folding and not attaching neatly, Bryden recommends that you check to see whether you've fed the binding strip in properly through the last bit of the binder. Sometimes it is not wrapped around the metal guides properly. Floss the the strip back and forth a couple of time and visually check.

Sample Projects to Inspire You

Many Coverpro users believe their machine has revolutionized their sewing. A coverstich is far superior to the twin needle both in look and function. You can use your coverstitch on projects where the twin needle wouldn't stand a chance.

The double or triple coverstitch can be used to hem knits and wovens flawlessly without the tell tale tunneling of a twin needle. You can coverstitch the reverse side of a sporty garment to knock off the look of Nike athletic wear. You can coverstitch over seams to highlight the look of high fashion designs. You can apply professional bindings quickly and easily as they do in the most sophisticated garment factories. You can add decorative chain stitching to your clothes or you can chainstitch seams the way a tailor would for quick alterations.

Here are a few sample projects to stimulate your imagination. The sky's the limit so let your creativity soar.

Debbie Cook used embroidery thread in her coverstitch machine and produced a three needle decorative hem

Cal W's pillows coverstitched with embroidery thread

Please note that more projects will be added in the near future.

------
No sewing project is ever a complete success nor a total failure.

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