Make sure you have the right needles
Before you begin stitching, ensure you have the right needles for the job. One of the best needles set that is recommended for this job is the ELx705, and the pieces are compatible with most machine brands.
With these, fit in the number of needles you need in the needle bar, which could be 1, 2, or 3. Make sure the needles slide in all the way back into their slots before tying them in using screws.
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Thread the machine
Just like your regular sewing machine, coverstitch machines require to be threaded before use, but in this case, bobbin threading is not required. Instead, you must have a separate spool to use as the looper thread, which must be threaded from the spool pin above through the various guides and finally, into the looper below the needle plate.
As for the upper machine threading, simply install a separate thread spool for every needle you have fitted into the needle bar, the pass the threads through the labeled guides, finishing off with threading through the needle eye.
Note: Before threading, remember to lift up the presser foot so as to release the tension phase.
Use the right thread
This will depend on the type of project you are working on. If you are creating a hemline for a light fabric t-shirt, then a light thread will do. On the other hand, if you stitching on thick, heavy fabric such as denim, then you need thicker thread.
However, it is recommended to color match the upper and looper threads, and preferably use a big cone spool, which is designed to release the thread more easily.
Try out samples first
Always start by trying out the coverstitching on some scrap fabric before going into the actual project. This is important because it will give you a first-hand feel of the machine first so that you do not end up messing your work.
Basically, this step will help you make the necessary adjustments, which are mainly:
Thread tensioning adjustment
Remember that a coverstitch should allow for fabric stretching, and therefore, it should sit tightly on the material. You must strike a balance though; the stitch must not be too tight or loose. This is why sampling on scrap fabric is important.
Stitch length adjustment
Another important setting that you need to look at is adjusting the stitch length. Using the length adjustment knob on the side of the machine, tweak this as you sample out the results.
Ideally, a longer stitch length is loose but stretchier while a short one is tight and more rigid. Set the one you want for the project at hand.
Other settings that may need adjustments are the differential feed and presser foot pressure. Basically, go through all the adjustable settings until you get what you are looking for so that you create the perfect result on your fabric.
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Sew slowly as you begin
After all, is set and done, it is time to get down to the actual sewing. As always, begin stitching at a slow speed so that you don’t mess things up. If you are a beginner, proceed at this low speed but for an experienced coverstitch machine user, gradually increase the speed to your comfortable working pace.
All in all, remember to stitch with confidence and don’t stop to look back then start again all the time; this will most likely cause you some trouble.
Make sure to secure the coverstitch threads at the end
As you get to the end of the fabric, you need to secure the stitch and threads. Most coverstitch machines do not have a reverse function built in, which means you have to do some improvisation. There are three ways you can do this:
This is the easiest method, and it automatically ties all the threads in one move. Basically, you need to sew the last stitch manually using the handwheel then stop with the needles being in the highest position.
Raise the presser foot then pull the threads using a crochet hook. Cut the threads then pull the fabric backward then leftwards. This will pull the needle thread in reverse and automatically secure the stitch.
Manually by hand
The second option requires you to lock in the thread ends manually. Begin by turning the hand wheel manually to lower the needles until you hear a clicking sound, then rotate the wheel backward. This releases the threads.
Raise the presser foot, pull the threads, cut them, then move the thread ends to the back side of the stitch and finish of by stitching them manually using a hand-sewing needle to lock them in place.
Do a pass by
If you are hemming over the flat fabric and you must seam the sides for finishing, then you can simply sew over the coverstitch end, and this will be enough to lock the threads.
Maintain the machine in good condition
Lastly, always remember to maintain your machine in good condition. Keep it oiled while cleaning off the fluff and dust every now and then. After use, keep it covered in storage so as to reduce the amount of dust that goes into the mechanical moving parts inside.