Creating professional looking hems on garments or sewing projects using a standard sewing machine is a notoriously difficult task. Even confident sewers are often reluctant to finish a garment by sewing machine – especially knitwear. As a rule, the stretchier the fabric, the tricker it is to finish the hems without distorting the shape.
However, that doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to a life of constant fighting with hems on your sewing machine! Instead, why not invest in a coverstitch machine?
A coverstitch machine performs an overlocking stitch, which is similar to knitting vs sewing. It creates a secure seam that is flexible and stretchable enough to move with the fabric.
A coverstitch machine differs from a standard sewing machine in a significant way. These machines have thread on 3 or 4 paths, including a looper. The looper is what does the “knitting” part of the overlock stitch. The overstitch machine has one essential job and that is to put a professional finish on your hem. (Technically, they can also be used to attach lace or other trims to your project, but the hems are the main thing.)
Many sewing beginners are completely unfamiliar with coverstitch machines and can completely get away with finishing raw edges using a zip zag stitch…for a while at least. If you get into garment sewing you eventually consider getting a overstitch machine to make your work more efficient and your life easier! Where this is the case, it can be tricky to work out which machines are the best ones.
Today, we’ll be introducing you to our top 4 best coverstitch machines for all your hemming needs!
In a hurry? We’ve got you covered. Here’s our top pick: Janome Cover Pro 1000CPX Coverstitch Machine
- 1,000 spm
- Executes cover and chain stitches
- Double and triple needle width
- Highly adjustable
- Large work bed
- Carry handle for portability
- Free arm included
- Includes tools and accessories
4 Best Coverstitch Machines Reviews
If you’re looking for a high-performing, high-quality coverstitch machine, we’d recommend you start your search with the Janome CoverPro 1000CPX.
This is probably the most popular (and widely available) coverstitch machine on the market. It can execute double and triple-needle stitches in both 6 mm and 3 mm widths, ensuring hem versatility. The machine is also capable of chain stitching.
Thanks to the extensive workspace or ‘bed’ measuring 5.5 x 4 inches, this machine doesn’t feel restrictive or cramped to work with. Better still, it comes with a free arm to make hemming cuffs and pants even easier!
This machine can reach impressively high speeds of 1,000 stitchers per minute (over 16 stitches per second!), so you’ll never be forced to slow down your work. With that being said, the 1000CPX also allows for complete control.
With help from the seam selection reference sticker on the front panel, you can choose and adjust your desired stitch.
Then, you can adjust it using the seam tightening system, foot pressure adjustment function, and tension release device.
But that’s not all! In addition to the machine itself, buyers will receive a wide selection of accessories, including a set of needles, a needle threader, 2 screwdrivers (large and small), a pair of tweezers, spool holder caps, thread nets, and a lint brush.
Attachment screws for optional accessories are also provided, along with a handy accessory box to store everything safely.
The machine even features a carrying handle to make it more portable. If sewing is your livelihood, you’ll easily be able to transport the CoverPro 1000CPX to and from work.
All of this comes at a price, of course, and the Janome CoverPro 1000CPX isn’t exactly budget-friendly. However, given how expensive sewing and coverstitch machines can get, this model can still just about be considered mid-range.
All in all, if you choose to buy the Janome CoverPro 1000CPX, you’ll be ready to start hemming and chain stitching the moment you take it out of the box, and thanks to its durable internal and external construction, it’ll last you for years to come!
- Double and triple-needle stitching for versatility
- Chain stitch function
- High levels of adjustability
- Up to 1,000 stitches per minute
- Large work space
- Includes free arm for sleeves and pants
- Accessories and tools included
- Relatively expensive
Next on our list, we have the Juki MCS-1500 Cover Stitch and Chain Stitch Machine. This model is the CoverPro 1000CPX’s main competition, and we can see why.
The MCS-1500 may not look quite as aesthetically sleek as the 1000CPX (although we love the retro look!), but that doesn’t impact its performance.
This machine delivers elasticated stitching, making it perfect for stretchable and knitted fabrics. It can do both chain and decorative stitching thanks to the adjustable differential feed, so whether you just want a simple finish on a shirt cuff or an elaborate neckline, the MSC-1500 is up to the job!
Like the 1000CPX, THE MCS-1500 is portable thanks to the addition of a carry handle at the top of the machine.
Juki’s MCS-1500 machine is designed to make the process of hemming more ergonomic and less stressful. For example, it has a specially shaped presser foot that’s raised at the tip, allowing thicker materials (up to 10 mm) to slide into place with less resistance.
It also features an exterior thread cutter to speed up the thread cutting process. A guided presser foot is even included with the machine for those fabrics that need to be pressed down on both sides for precision.
The presser foot pressure is adjustable for enhanced control.
The only downside to this machine’s ease of use that we noticed is the fact that the threading system is tricky to master. The lower looper is extremely small and difficult to locate, let alone pass the thread through.
If Juki were to redevelop the MCS-1500 coverstitch machine with a more ergonomic threading system, however, we would have very little to criticize.
- Chain and decorative stitches
- Stretchable stitching
- Easy fabric insertion
- Adjustable presser foot pressure
- Includes guided presser foot for precision
- Can be challenging to thread
Believe it or not, the CoverPro 1000CPX isn’t Janome’s only popular coverstitch machine. The CoverPro 900CPX is a close contender and very much deserving of a spot on this list.
The CoverPro 900CPX is an earlier model of the CoverPro 1000CPX, but despite this, it’s really not too far behind its successor in terms of performance and ease of use.
This machine produces hem stitches between 1 and 4 mm in length and widths up to 5 mm. Stitch length and width can be easily adjusted using the ergonomic and clearly labeled rotary dials.
However, the absence of a third or ‘triple’ needle means that this machine can’t execute the same extra-wide stitches as the 1000CPX.
That being said, the reduction in potential stitch width is made up for somewhat by the machine’s extra-large work bed and free arm, which make the 900CPX ideal for hemming large, more ‘awkward’ garments.
All stitches can be executed at the lightning-fast speed of 1000 stitches per minute.
Moreover, thanks to the adjustable presser foot pressure and tension release mechanism, this machine still manages to offer a sense of control and flexibility despite the restricted stitch width.
Similar to the 1000CPX, the 900CPX comes generously supplied with all the accessories you’ll need to get cover stitching! The standard pack of needles is included, along with a needle threader, thread nets, spool caps, attachment screws, screwdrivers, tweezers, and a lint brush.
All accessories come packed in a convenient accessory box, and the purchase even includes a soft protective cover.
- Large workspace
- Includes detachable free arm
- Adjustable presser foot pressure
- Stitch tightening and tension release functions
- Accessories and box included
- Includes soft protective cover
- No triple needle for wide stitches
Bernette’s B42 Funlock Coverstitch Machine is an affordable and beginner-friendly choice of coverstitch machine.
The Bernette B42 has 3 stitches in its repertoire: cover stitches in either 2.8 or 5.6 mm widths and a chain stitch. This isn’t an extensive stitch range, but it’s enough to hem most pant legs, shirt sleeves, and necklines. Beginners, in particular, are sure to appreciate this functional minimalism.
This machine is made even easier to operate by the color-coded stitch adjustment dials and ergonomic looper threading mechanism, which allows the machine to be threaded in moments with minimal eye strain.
However, the positioning and brightness of the LED light could use some adjustment. While bright work light is essential when it comes to machine stitching, we found the glare from the light to be more offputting than helpful.
Given the incredibly high speeds (1,300 stitches per minute) that this machine is capable of reaching, a light with less distracting glare would be safer.
Provided accessories include a needle set, needle threader, tweezers, a small screwdriver, a large screwdriver, 4 spool holders, 4 spool nets, and 4 spool caps. A protective dust cover is even included.
- Ideal for beginners
- 1,300 stitches per minute
- Choice of 3 chain stitches
- Easy to thread
- Color-coded rotary dials
- Comes with accessories and dust cover
- A lot of glare from LED light
If you want to know exactly what to look out for in a coverstitch machine, read on! Our buyer’s guide discusses everything from stitch range to ease of use to help you make the right decision.
We’re assuming that if you’re thinking of buying a coverstitch machine, you’re doing so for the specific stitch functionality. Therefore, the first thing you’ll want to investigate in a coverstitch machine is the available stitch range.
Look for the inclusion of a triple needle, if you can do so within your budget. Being able to use a triple needle for wider stitches will make your life easier and enhance the versatility of your machine.
If you feel like getting creative, why not opt for a coverstitch machine with decorative stitches built in? These stitches are great for enhancing necklines and adding some extra personality to your work.
Make sure that your machine is capable of executing standard hem stitch lengths and widths. Widths should be able to go up to at least 5 mm, if not 6. Ideally, the differential feed ratio should be adjustable to allow for more versatility.
Ease of Use
Coverstitch machines are supposed to make hemming easier than it would be on a standard sewing machine. If your machine is difficult to use, its purpose is more or less negated.
The first feature for ease of use that we’d like to emphasize is a large workspace or ‘bed’. We’d recommend no less than 5 x 4 inches if you regularly work with larger garments.
Additionally, a free arm can be a lifesaver when it comes to pant legs and cuffs, so make sure you prioritize machines that come with a free arm included if these garments make up a large portion of your work.
Clear labeling and color-coding on dials can make a coverstitch machine easier to use, especially for beginners.
Finally, we’d also recommend choosing a machine that features LED lighting if you can. This will help to reduce eye strain and minimize accidents, especially when working at high speeds.
Of course, not everybody needs or wants their coverstitch machine to be portable, but a carry handle can be a blessing to those who need to transport their machine to and from work or take their craft on vacation.
If you’re thinking of transporting your coverstitch machine regularly, we’d also recommend a protective cover (either hard or soft) to minimize the risk of damage. These covers are also useful anytime your machine isn’t in use to keep dust at bay.
The Finishing Touch (a.k.a. Our Final Thoughts)
The title of overall best coverstitch machine has to go to the Janome CoverPro 1000CPX.
While the other machines featured in today’s article are indisputably high-performing and well worth considering, there’s no denying that the CoverPro 1000CPX comes out on top in almost every area.
From its 1,000-stitch-per-minute speed rating to its triple needle stitches and extensive adjustability, the CoverPro 1000CPX ticks all the boxes: speed, versatility, and ease of use.
However, if the CoverPro 1000CPX falls outside of your budget, we feel confident that any of the machines we’ve showcased today will facilitate and even revolutionize your experience of hemming garments.