My Crazy Coverstitch Machine

If you’ve been following this blog carefully (and who wouldn’t?) you may have noticed that I made a T-shirt, but didn’t use my new coverstitch machine to sew up the hems.  I did the hems using a zig-zag stitch on my conventional machine.

That’s because the coverstitch machine it’s now on its way back to Amazon.

My first clue that something might be wrong with the machine happened as soon as the package arrived. It was shipped by Amazon in the original manufacturer’s box, and was not placed inside another box with padding, as my previous machine purchases have been.

Two sides of the box were ripped during shipment, the side closest to the presser foot/needle taking the most damage. The rip didn’t make it past the inside styrofoam, but this is highly unusual for Amazon shipping.

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The next clue came right after unboxing. The machine wouldn’t run! The motor made a buzzing sound and didn’t go, and the handwheel was locked solid and wouldn’t turn. Not wanting to risk burning out the motor, I powered it down and worked the handwheel until it finally broke loose, and the machine parts started moving.

The machine worked properly after that. Or at least I thought it did.

I set it up next to the serger filled it with some Maxi-Lock thread, and did some test runs. The stitching that came out looked pretty poor, but I wrote that off to need for adjustment. After a few practice runs on scrap , and getting a passable line of stitching, I threaded it with some peacock blue Coats and Clark thread in the left and right needles, and some turquoise serger thread in the loopers. I attempted to hem the sleeves of my gray and pink-striped T-shirt.

The coverstitch machine promptly ate my sleeves.

Among the problems I faced:

  • Feeding problems caused the fabric to jam, and the machine to deliver several stitches in place, tearing holes in the fabric.
  • Thread getting tangled or slipping out of guides while ending the cover stitch, causing the next stitches to turn out badly.
  • Tension issues that gave uneven stitching on the top and sloppy looper stitches.

I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening in troubleshooting mode with the machine.

The feeding problems and torn fabric are partially due to the fact that the machine came with size 90 needles pre-installed. They are way too large for the thin jersey knit I’m sending through the machine.  But when I tried size 80 needles (Klasse) in the thing, it bent one set, and broke a needle on another.

As for the tension issues causing sloppy stitches, I  never got satisfactory results. I rethreaded the machine with different colors of serger thread and spent a lot of time experimenting with different tension settings. While I can get the right needle to behave and produce a nice stitch on my test fabric, the left needle is producing uneven stitches both top and bottom.

(Click/tap on the photos for larger versions).

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3-thread coverstitch, inside. Coats Dual-Duty XP on needle threads, Maxi-Lock on looper, Tension setting 4,4,4,4. Topmost sample is with #90 needle included with machine. The bottom two samples are #80 Universal needle (Klasse).

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Same set of samples, on the outside.

After spending three evenings threading, re-threading, and doing loads of test stitches, I finally broke down and asked for help on the Pattern Review serger/coverstitch forum. The consensus there was that my machine was a lemon, and I should return it while I still have the chance.

Just to be sure, I spent some time over the weekend making another set of test stitches. But the results were inconclusive – I couldn’t get a totally satisfying set of results. In the end, I simply decided I can’t trust this machine near any of my projects. So I’m sending it back to Amazon while I’m still in the return window.

While on Amazon’s site deciding between refund or replacement, I looked through the review feedback and came across another customer who ordered their 2340CV within a week of mine, and described a very familiar problem. From the Amazon review:

Not even 1 hour out of the box! I had threaded the machine and when I pressed the pressure foot, found out the hand wheel was frozen solid! Called Brother, she said she was sorry to take it to a warranty center.

That’s the exact same problem mine had. I think Amazon got a bad batch of 2340CVs from somewhere.

So, that made my decision easy – I opted for a refund, and will likely order a new one from Ken’s Sewing Center once Amazon refunds my money.  I was surprised to see that Ken’s Sewing has the 2340CV for the same price as Amazon, so I’m not losing out money-wise by going there.

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Goodbye.

6 thoughts on “My Crazy Coverstitch Machine

  1. Josie Huber

    Hi

    After reading your troubles with the coverstich machine. Here is my two cents. I have been sucessful with a babylock Diana. I purchased last year. Nothing fancy, I learned how to thread this machines a while back. The price? $400, at a local dealer in Simi Valley, it comes with free lessons for 5 years.
    Good luck. Hope you find what you are looking for.
    P.S. I follow Brian too, he has not been posting much lately. I enjoy reading a men’s sewing point of view.
    All the best

    Josie

    Reply
    1. mportuesisf Post author

      I’ve only heard great things about the Babylocks, especially their sergers/coverstitch combos, and they sure look nice when Nancy Zieman uses them on TV. But I don’t really need their high-end conveniences. I can thread the serger myself rather than use their Jet-Air threading. Plus they’re expensive, and you have to buy a new one from a dealer.

      All that said, you’re probably right that I should scout Craigslist to see if I can score one for cheap. My Brother 1034D works great and I love it, but it was really cheap and if I upgraded from it to a fancier model that would be fine (assuming the fancier unit actually works better!)

      Reply
  2. Elizabeth

    I got the 2340c from Ken’s sewing center. It’s a bit finicky in my opinion but it’s been working for me well for the past year. I only use ballpoint needles and for the loopers wooly nylon thread. I also do a few stitches manually turning the wheel. To me the most annoying part of the 2340c is the awkward way you have to hold the tension buttons and gently tug your fabric out.
    The machine I really wanted was a Janome CoverPro® 1000CPX. But you can’t order it online (the 900 can be ordered BUT it is missing some essential options). And the nearest Janome dealer I could find was hundreds of miles away and the machine was hundreds of more dollars.

    Reply
    1. mportuesisf Post author

      I’m annoyed by the way you have to hold the tension buttons on the 2340cv as well. It is the reason for some very angry 1-star reviews on Amazon. But if you take the time to learn the technique, it basically ends up just being an annoyance. I may yet do a tutorial video for YouTube showing how to get the fabric out on this machine.

      Reply
  3. Josie Huber

    Hi Margaret
    In response to your comment at “Line of Selvage”, you are right the Jenome 1000 CPX MUST be purchase at a dealer. However, I got one in 2011 from ebay. I like it. I use for tape binding practice, and hemming. It takes practice to look RTW. I want a professional garment look. It is a slow process with any sewing project. The machines can help…
    Have you look at ebay or craigslist? I got mine from Phoenix, UPS delivery at Christmas (free shipping to Hawaii).
    Mahalo to all for sharing your knowledge. Happy New Year

    Reply

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