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Forum > Sergers, Coverstitch and Blindhemmers > Cover Stitch Machine or Serger for Sewing Underwear ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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Cover Stitch Machine or Serger for Sewing Underwear
BoyBobbins
BoyBobbins  Friend of PR
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Date: 5/15/13 5:14 PM

Hi

I am new to sewing. I have had my Janome 1050 for less than two months. I would really like to make underwear. I plan on starting out with Jalie 3242. I have been seriously considering buying a Viking serger, but I had another thought. I have read that the standard way to attach exposed elastic to the waistband of underwear is with a cover stitch. I know a serger is a more versatile machine, but could I assemble the underwear with a Cover Pro alone? Could the Cover Pro handle all the seams? Is this a wacky idea or would this produce as good as or better results than a serger alone?

Thank you
-Ian

PattiAnnJ
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Date: 5/15/13 5:42 PM

How many of these garments do you plan on making?

Make a couple without the benefit of a serger/cover stitch machine. Then visit a couple dealers and have them demo their products.

We can manage without a serger/cover stitch machine, but not many of us want to do so.

------
I dont give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think its Hell. Harry Truman

"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

Marie367
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In reply to BoyBobbins <<
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Date: 5/15/13 10:35 PM

I wouldn't think you could do an entire garment with just a coverstitch. I could be wrong about that. I started with a Brother 1034 serger. I learned alot and didn't spend much money on it. I recently bought an Elna combo machine that does both serger and coverhem. The coverstitch does not seem as strong a stitch as a serger stitch. The serger also cuts as it sews which creates a really nice seam that looks RTW. A coverstitch does not do that. I agree with the other poster. Go and check out some machines and see the difference. I sewed for 40 years without a serger. Now my sewing room will never be without one.

simplystitches
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In reply to BoyBobbins <<
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Date: 5/15/13 10:56 PM

Quote:
Could the Cover Pro handle all the seams


No. It does a chain stitch and a cover stitch. Neither one would do the seams on the underwear. You can use a regular machine or a serger for the seams. About all the cover stitch would be good for is the elastic.

Since you're a fairly new sewer I would suggest getting a serger first. You'll find you'll get much more use out of a serger than a cover stitch. There are serger/cover stitch combo machines. Check out a Juki 735. There are other brands available if you look. It's a serger that can be converted to a cover stitch with some setting changes. Some people say that converting can be a pain so keep that in mind if you look at one.

I'm not knocking a cover stitch. I have one and I absolutely love it and wouldn't want to be without it now. But I had a serger for 20 years before I bought the cover stitch.

Debbie

Doris W. in TN
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Date: 5/15/13 11:11 PM

You really don't need a coverstitch for underwear, especially men's briefs or boxers (if that is your project and I'm guessing since your screen name indicates). A serger and a sewing machine are all one needs, and boxers can be done completely on the sewing machine if French seams are used.

SandiMacD
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Date: 5/16/13 5:39 AM

I have both and find it is much easier to use my sewing machine to attach waistband elastic. I have more control at the start-stop point, I can use the perfect needle and thread combination, the built in elastic stitch is perfect for it and the elastic can be sewn on in less time then it would take to set up the serger with thread color and needle choice.

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tourist
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Date: 5/16/13 10:11 AM

I agree with the rest. A good sewing machine with a walking foot and a serger come well before a cover stitch. A twin needle with wooly nylon in the bobbin will make a decent fake coverstitch for hems.

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beauturbo
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Date: 5/16/13 4:05 PM

I don't think it's all that wacky of an idea. So of course you could do it if you wanted to.

Most people have a sewing machine first, then get some kind of overlocker, then even later decide they want a cover stitch machine or a overlocker with a cover stitch function in it too, last. But no reason you have to do that way at all.

Maybe even since you are a new sewer, you are just thinking "out of the box" a bit more than most. Nothing wrong with that at all.

If I had only a cover stitch machine and no overlocker and even no sewing machine I still could make that pair of underware, or a plain knit T shirt. To do it though, only on the coverstitcher, on actual garment seams I would have to use the cover stitch function for seams, instead of a zig zag on a sewing machine, or a overlock stitch that was having the fabric cut off for on seams, on a overlocker and just sew the knit seam with two needles in the coverlock machine and use a pair of sissors to cut the fabric off. Just much like you would do with a sewing machine and a zig zag stitch. And then you would still have your coverstitch to hem or apply your elastic with. So it would work.

I don't think a cover stitch just used as a seaming stitch for a knit garment is going to be as stretchy as a zig zag stitch on your sewing machine, or a 3 or 4 thread stitch on a overlocker on all knits, all the time though, and you would have to trim off in the seams by you, with sissors, but it would still work. Plus you would not even be limited to that at all, since you still have your real sewing machine too.

So would it be as good as having a sewing machine, plus overlock stitches, plus coverlock stitches, no it would not.

But if what you want to do most, is sew out hems in knits, and apply elastic with it, way more than any garment construction ever, then it would do that. Particular since you have a sewing machine already anyways.

Everyone can't have everything they want, just when they want it sometimes, for budget and other reasons so sometimes you need to make compromises. That actually might be a workable one. If you did that and then later found yourself wanting to actually construct lots of knit garments and not use the sewing machine or coversticher in that more unusual way, then you could always get a serger/overlocker later.

It would be just much like asking if you need a vehicle, and don't want to pay much for gas, and need to haul stuff sometimes, which should you drive, a small compact car or a full size pick up truck? Neither one is just perfect then. It would be better to have both. But lots of people also might own a small compact car and just rent a truck when they need one, or maybe just have the truck and bite the bullet and pay for the extra gas all of the time, even if not hauling stuff all the time. At some point though, finances permitting, they probably would just choose to have both, and a the same time.

So go try it out, and if it works for you and you are happy with it, I would just do it. If you do that, you can always get a real serger/overlocker sometime later, if you decide you want those functions of it, even more.











-- Edited on 5/16/13 4:11 PM --

Judy Kski
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Date: 5/16/13 9:18 PM

Perhaps your focus is on a cover stitch (CS) machine because when you've looked at a pair of RTW boxer briefs, you saw that they were constructed using cover stitch seaming. Fruit of the Loom factories, for instance, have cover stitch machines that do just one type of seam and do it very well. I'm sure there are serger/cover stitch combo machines available to the home sewer that do the overlapped seam CS, but I haven't seen any. I have a 5-thread serger/CS combo and a stand alone Cover Pro CS. I haven't really been in the market for an 8-thread that probably does those lapped seams. I know that getting a straight stitching line using my CS takes a bit of grace and finese. It has more of a clunky feeling as you draw the fabric through that is very different from a sewing machine.

I've made KS3298 once for my DFIL. I sewed the majority of the pattern on my sewing machine (SM) using a zig-zag stitch set at 0.5 wide and 3.0-3.5 long to provide some 'give' to the seam. Don't forget to reduce the pressure on your presser foot. If you normally sew on wovens with 6.0, reduce that pressure to 2.0. You don't want a lot of drag on your fabric that will cause it to stretch out of shape as you sew. For the hem at the bottom of the boxer briefs, I used my CS with a narrow double needle hem. This can be achieved on a SM with a twin needle. As a previous poster already mentioned, wind some wooly nylon onto your bobbin so you have some built-in stretch. Most men's boxer briefs are made with a ribbed cotton knit that has a good bit of stretch. If you just use regular polyester thread in the bobbin, you'll get popped stitches, especially in the leg area where you need that extra stretch. I'll be quite honest. Nothing beats the stretch that a CS can provide, but at this point in your sewing journey, continue to learn how to sew with knits on a regular SM. When you find out that this is something you like to do and want to pursue, then invest in a CS machine.

------
Judy

martinla
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Date: 5/29/13 12:11 PM

Hi Ian
I have been making a lot of underwear--women's panties mostly, using rayon/lycra fabric and stretch lace for all the edges.

I have sewn the seams with both a narrow zig zag on my sewing machine and with a narrow 3-thread overlock on my (non-coverstitch) serger. I love sewing with my serger, it's a Juki MO-634DE that I got on e-Bay for $200. But, the seams I get with the sewing machine have a lower profile which is really important for underwear.

I sew the lace onto the edges on the sewing machine, using a pretty wide zig-zag. I keep reading about the industrial coverstitch machines that can do this while also trimming the fabric to the seam line, but can't really justify the expense since this is only a hobby. Honestly, it takes a little while to train your fingers to be able to do a really good job on a home sewing machine. It might be really difficult on a professional machine that stitches so much faster.

Bottom line: unless you have lots of money, I would make your garments with your sewing machine for a while and see how you feel 20 pair later. If you really think you want a coverstitch machine, I would look at the juki 735 that give you both ordinary serger stitches and coverstitches. People complain a lot about having to switch their machines, but I think everyone has really different tolerances for fiddling with their machines. I often jave to change thread 3 times for one pair of panties (seams, waist lace, leg lace)--so what? It takes 2 seconds and I get an awesome pair of panties that are way more comfortable than anything I can buy.

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