The Sewing Place

Over locker and coverstitch shopping


Re: Over locker and coverstitch shopping
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2019, 23:32:49 PM »
My husband surprised me with some rainbow and variegated black/white/grey cones for Christmas. They will be played with next time I get chance. I have some paint splash patterned chiffon and black and white cat print that would make lovely scarfs. I've been using fairly substantial fabric today and left delicates and knits for learning later.

Rolled hems here we come
Lurking in Lancashire, improving my sewing when life gives me time.


Re: Over locker and coverstitch shopping
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2019, 18:36:53 PM »
I entirely agree with the suggestion to avoid a combo machine and didn't want to be without both functions when it was in for service or repair. When needed I just shove the overlocker towards the back of the table for a quick burst of coverstitch (or chainstitch) which wouldn't be great for ongoing sewing but is fine for a short time.

As to machines and brands: I'm definitely in the Juki camp having both a TOL Brother and Juki. The Juki happens to have air-threading but it's the quality of machine in build and stitch along with quietness & more cutting widths that impressed me most. That said, the Brother was easy to thread and produced a good finish and was a good machine for me to start with so I've kept it as a backup but rarely use it. Whatever brand you favour I'd suggest choosing one with a 2-thread option as this will allow you to sew a very fine roll hem or lighter weight overlock and most especially if you sew lycra, you can sew the superstretch stitch. It's not detailed in many manuals but it's a 3-thread comprising of both needles and single looper which gives you a strong 2-needle stitch with lovely stretch with less bulk of thread but to do it you need a machine with a looper converter. Strangely enough, although no problem for my Brother, the superstretch stitch is one that the Babylock doesn't seem able to do because of the automation of some of their settings. I tried to talk a BL owner through it in a sewing group but she couldn't get any combinations to work and gave up in the end.

Many overlocker models and all the current Jukis have 2-thread capabilities but the MO0644D requires you to buy the looper converter arm which is included with the MO-645DE. The other differences between the two are the MO-654DE having the cutting width and stitch length knobs on the right of the machine rather than having to open the left side of the machine to access them. I'm sure you just get used to either but it's useful to be able to have a quick glimpse of the knobs if like me you use the same settings a fair bit and aren't always disciplined to check all your settings carefully before ploughing ahead. Lifting up your fabric to open up the side panel and peer underneath to see the dials might be a bit irritating if you want to make an adjustment in the process of sewing.

Until about 2 years ago Juki made the Bernina overlockers & coverstitchers but they parted ways (I believe about reducing specs and costs) and now the Berninas are made under contract by Jaguar. I've not seen enough reviews to get a good impression of the new machines but I'm a little sceptical merely on the basis of having tried one Jaguar branded overlocker which was far from anything you might describe as a refined machine. Certainly I've seen little mention in my sewing groups other than with regard to the overall Bernina reputation but I watch with interest and an eye to the future.

Janome has lots of fans, you won't be surprised to hear, and my only reservation with any of their machines would be for their coverstitchers. All the coverstitchers have a learning curve but theirs appear to have a much bigger one (judging from online groups) as they seem to require a greater range of setting adjustments for different fabrics & stitches in comparison to my Bernina L220 coverstitch (identical to Juki MCS-1500/1700). Owners of the Janome 2000 seem to have less trouble than the 900 & 1000 owners but if you're really taken by the larger harp space & more accessories it's definitely well worth taking a range of knits for any demonstrations (jersey, lycra, modal, dbp for example) to get a good idea of precisely how much adjustment is needed to get good results. The coverstitch and Janome groups do have long lists of recommended settings for different fabrics/stitches to help owners find their way through the complexities, however. There's only one detailed reference for the Juki/Bernina twin coverstitch that I know of and that focusses more broadly on techniques, threading, using generic attachments etc than lists of detailed settings but it's a great help for new owners too.

Brother coverstitchers are increasing in popularity, partly due the price but also because they have one that can do a reverse stitch on both sides of the fabric (the criss-cross looper pattern). This is often seen on rtw now and frequently considered desirable for that alone (I have conflicted feelings about that attitude in general, my age perhaps?). I'm inevitably influenced by the experience of my Brother v Juki overlockers in respect of their coverstitcher too.

Pfaff gets far fewer mentions in the groups I follow and although I have seen some complaints the apparent fewer number of owners makes it difficult to weigh up the significance of the occasional complaint. The changes made since they became part of the SVP group may have had an effect here too.

And budget...assuming you go for two standalone machines, it's your choice of coverstitch that limits your options. Janome and Brother give you several options so, as always, you're well advised to try them all out to make a choice. The cheaper new Bernette B42 coverstitch matches the Janome 2000cpx price at £200 cheaper than the  Juki MCS-1500 so that's feasible too but I can't but help wonder what impact the reduction of spec from their L200 model will have had on its performance and longevity in comparison to its Juki twin. Apparently it's noticeably louder but that's about all I've heard in comparison.

Another option is to look for a good quality used overlocker. Because they're still all mechanical (with the exception of the Juki MO-2000 which does have a computerised screen but not controls) they don't have the vulnerability of computerised sewing machines so can easily last for several decades if well maintained with any issues reliably repaired with replacement parts. Not sure looking for a used Baby lock Imagine coverstitch would be easy or perhaps a great option with their high starting cost but then having yet more options isn't always a kindness, is it?  ;)

As for trying out a Juki there are more and more dealers carrying them all the time as they seem to sweeping the whole globe in popularity. You can do a search for your local dealer here or go to any quilt or sewing show attended by Franklins and get a better show price. They are the UK importer of Jukis and take their overlockers and coverstitchers to all the shows for sewers to try out due to demand these days. That's where I bought my overlocker in the end.

Apologies for the huge screed but I hope some of it is helpful.  :|  I went through so many of these thought processes myself a couple of years ago that it sticks in the mind. Good luck with whichever machines you eventually go for.
Stash Busting 2020
Goal: 50m
So far: 5.5m fabric; approx 40m crin (horsehair braid)


Re: Over locker and coverstitch shopping
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2019, 16:06:03 PM »

Does anyone have a view on the Pfaff Hobbylock 2.0 ?
Its a free arm and quite compact to look at which makes it appealing to me.


So Chic

Re: Over locker and coverstitch shopping
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2019, 16:32:33 PM »
annieeg,  I had a Pfaff 788 which I hated as it never seemed able to keep a setting. I would sew a seam and then on sewing the next one I would have to re-set it.  I did a lot of unpicking.
So Chic
Bernina Artista 630, Bernina 800DL, Janome Cover Pro 1000CP with  elderly Singer Touch & Sew 720G and Pfaff Overlocker 788 hiding in loft