Monday, April 11, 2011

Coverstitch Machine?

I've always been hesitant in working with knit fabrics, I haven't been satisfied with the finishing I could get on seams and hems.  My attempt at baby merino singlet (without a pattern) although very functional lacked the professional finish I like. It was the first item of clothing used on my newborn - I was worried about the neck size so got that big enough, but the armholes were probably a little small for a singlet! It's getting a bit small for her now and looks more like a muscle T!

Now wanting to do some work with merino and bamboo knits, I started to investigate how I could get the 'double line with back overlock' stitch used on bought clothing.

I initially thought it was just a different type of overlocker I needed and I did one for many $$$$ but then learnt I really only needed a coverstitch machine not a combination overlocker/coverstitch machine that had the added hassle of switching between the two stitch types.

Coverstitch machines are still quite expensive especially when you are trying to reduce expenses with only 1 income and an extra new person in the house :-) I finally decided that a Merrylock 3564 (which I gather is the same as the 3040) would do the trick - now just to sell more items on Trademe (New Zealand's answer to eBay) to raise the money.

All was well till this morning when I realised/remembered that I would probably need a binding attachment to do those necklines and sleeve edges so common on baby clothing.... panic over ... although there doesn't seem to be an attachment for the Merrylock it looks like a generic binder attachment will do... even if I do need to use blu-tack to attach it!


Heatherz said...

I am interested in how you find the Merrylock cover stitch machine as I am thinking of getting one. Are the instructions clear and easy to follow?
Does it sew OK? etc.

Helen Borrie said...

Time passes but in case you're still interested, I bought the Merrylock 3564 coverstitcher from that TradeMe trader in May. The instructions are clear and easy to follow but the trouble is, they are missing essential information about how to actually do stuff with the thing! It works OK once you get that sorted out.

Supremely missing is anything useful about working with knit fabrics! You'll go through a lot of YouTube videos, frustration and bird's nests in the guts of the machine before you finally get it right. Nothing about this coverstitcher is intuitive for the experienced user of a sewing machine or an overlocker. And nowhere in the docs does it tell you that you have to remove the needles you aren't using for your chosen stitch style.

Apart from the bad documentation, the two big things I don't like about this machine are (1) the presser foot lever goes UP to engage for stitching and DOWN to raise it and is very hard to find "by feel" from the front; and (2) there is very little clearance between the presser foot and the bed when the foot is up. For practically any job you have to drag and jiggle the fabric into the starting position using the supplied long tweezers.

The after-sales service is completely NIL. The supplier doesn't answer emails about replacement parts or anything else; nor does he respond to questions on his listings. I just wish there was another Merrylock supplier in an English-speaking country but there isn't.

When I've succeeded with a task (thanks largely to blogs and YouTube) the work is neat and more than satisfactory. This machine doesn't seem to suffer from skipped stitches or fights with the threads or tensions as some brands seem to. That said, forget the recommended settings that are in the manual for tension, differential feed, stitch length and presser foot pressure: they are just plain WRONG and will cost you a lot of agony if you assume they are correct.