Coverstitch is the stitch you see on the hems of t-shirts, and clothes made of stretchy material: in my case, the wrap dresses which form my uniform. Typically you see two parallel stitches on the outside of the garment, and on the inside it’s a little web of stitches. The big benefit to it is that it stretches – if you tried to sew a regular seam on these materials, every time the material stretched the stitches would all break. You either need an overlock/coverstitch serger or a separate coverstitch machine to do this, though there are great “cheat” methods using a twin needle on a regular sewing machine. I’m using my Bernina 1300dc convertible machine.
Here’s how I do it:
1. Mark the *fold* line with a Mark B Gone washable marker.
4. Get yourself some “Lite Steam-a-Seam 1/2″ ” tape. Basically it’s an iron-on interfacing tape, which non-sewers can use to fix hems. However, it also serves a very useful purpose in keeping material stuck together before you sew it (otherwise, especially in the case of doing coverstitch, the fabric often slips as you’re trying to sew).
6. Gently peel off the paper backing, leaving the (almost invisible) interfacing on the fabric. Then, fold the fabric up, press to stick the hem together, and iron again on the top to make the bond stick.
7. Put a colourful thread into your bobbin, and then using a regular sewing machine, baste stitch on the wrong side of the hem, as close as you can get to the edge of the fabric. If anything, you want to be slightly on the double-fabric side rather than the single fabric side.
Here’s what it looks like: I used purple thread in my bobbin and white in the needle. You can see that on the right side of the fabric you now have a purple line which is showing exactly where the folded over fabric ends… (clever, eh?)
8. Now, use the purple line as a guide to get the coverstitch in exactly the right place (if you don’t do this, it’s incredibly difficult to blindly sew in the right place). You want your serger left needle to be just *slightly* to the right of the purple guide line.
*UPDATE!* I thought I’d share a little tip that I’ve learned from another 2 years of doing coverstitch 🙂 It’s quite hard to hit the exact edge of the turned up hem, so sometimes you end up having a little raw edge, which while it doesn’t unravel, it doesn’t look great. Solution? Serge the hem first (without trimming any fabric) before you turn it over! That way, even if you don’t hit the hem perfectly with the coverstitch, it’s still all finished.