Coverstitch Machine: A Beginner’s Guide


See that two rows of stitches on your T-shirt hem? They are not just for looks — but they do look kind of cool! – they allow the garment to stretch without breaking stitches.

Fancy meeting the machine behind these stitches?Janome coverstitch machine 01

Coverstitch machines are primarily used to create professional-looking hems to garments. It has the dual function of covering raw edges of a fabric and also retaining fabric stretchability. This is especially handy for people who like to make clothes from knit fabrics or require seams that retain stretch – think active wear, bathers, children’s clothing, etc.

You will commonly find coverstitch on sleeves hem, pants hem and necklines.

I already own an Overlocker, why do I need a Coverstitch machine?

Well, the short answer is they are really two different machines and do two different things altogether.

Janome coverstitch machine

With overlockers, it’s main purpose is to tidy up seams and prevent fraying. Your overlocker will trim excess seam allowance and at the same time sew a run of neat stitches over the edge.

A coverstitch machine on the other hand, has a looper like an overlocker but doesn’t have a blade. Its job is simply to hem your finished garment edges or do decorative chainstitching.

Coverstitching works well on woven fabrics by keeping them from ravelling. They are especially useful for hemming knit fabrics. The stitch it makes maintains the stretch in the fabric and doesn’t pucker as is the case when you sew stretchy fabrics with a sewing machine.

How many needles do I need?

Janome coverstitch machines have the capability to sew with one, two or three needles, plus a looper underneath.

Used with just 1 needle, a coverstitch machine will knit a chainstitch, which is a beautiful stretchy seam.

Single needle coverstitch produces the straight line stitching seen on a garment’s outside and a braided chain stitch on the garment’s inside.

If three needles are used, then three lines of parallel stitching appears on the right side of the fabric.

A triple needle coverstitch offers both strength and stretch.

By far the most common arrangement is to use two needles to achieve a classic double needle coverstitch.

Typically, you’ll see two top threads on the right side of the fabric.

As there are three needle positions, you can either choose to remove the left or right needle for twin rows of stitches, which are fairly close together. The narrow coverstitch is ideal for lighter weight fabrics or when sewing smaller garments such as children’s clothing.

You can also choose to remove the central needle to create a wider set of stitches. This is the preferred setting for adult clothing and sturdier fabrics. But it really all depends on the final look you desire.

If you’re an avid dressmaker or already own an overlocker, a quality, stand-alone coverstitch machine such as the Janome CoverPro 2000CPX will be an ideal addition to your lineup. This way you can have dedicated machines all set up and ready to do their jobs.

If you’re short on space, the Janome 1200D Professional combo coverstitch / overlock machine is our favourite option. You get two utility stitching functions in one compact machine!

Got a sewing question? Get help here or speak to your local Janome dealer.


Janome Sewing Machine Serial Number


Having trouble looking for your machine’s serial number / model number?

You will usually find the information located on the back of your machine.

Janome Sewing Machine Serial Number

Your machine’s serial number is a unique 9-digit number and is a very important part of the warranty process with any Janome product. It will help us identify the machine and what model it could be.

The machine model can also be located on this plate should you need to purchase any accessories or replacement parts for the machine.

Also printed on the plate is the place of manufacture.

If you own a Janome sewing machine, don’t forget to register your machine online.


Top Tips For Choosing A Sewing Machine


Are you a beginner sewist shopping for your first machine? With literally hundreds of options, choosing the right one can be a little overwhelming. Here are some handy hints to look out for…

Janome Sewing Machine


One of the key things to consider when buying a sewing machine is the number of stitches that are available. Standard stitches include straight stitch, zigzag stitch, buttonholes and blind hem stitch. However these are pretty basic stitches and may not be sufficient for all sewists. You may decide to start out with a basic machine and upgrade later once you have worked out what you want to sew.

The other decision is to have a think about what you are likely to sew and if this will change in the future. If you already know the projects you’ll be working on or have a general idea of which stitches you would like and need, then this can be a simple starting point for selecting a machine. It is usually recommended if you are unsure of what to buy that you look at a sewing machine that can cater for later on as your skills and experience expand and evolve – you will thank yourself for that later!

Janome Sewing Machine

Mechanical or Computerised

While both types of machines perform the basic task of making uniformed stitches, factors such as skill level, needs and budget will influence which machine is more suited for you. With computerised models, you get additional features and extras that can save you time and enhance your sewing experience.

Some features that we love about computerised sewing machines include:

  • Auto-threading
  • Stop/start buttons
  • Automatic buttonhole
  • Automatic tensioning
  • A wide variety of stitch length and width selection
  • Presser foot up / down selection


Janome Sewing Machine

Attachments and Feet

Attachments and feet will be specific to what you plan to sew. Quilters will want a walking foot, free motion foot, and a 1/4″ foot. Garment sewists may look for a zipper foot, overcast stitching foot, buttonhole foot, and button attaching foot. Many machines may come with all of these feet, however, they are also available as optional accessories within the Janome range of genuine parts and accessories.

Janome Sewing Machine

Additional Features

Many machines come with some awesome features that once you have them, you can’t go back. A few of our favourites include…

• Automatic Thread Cutter: Push a button to cut the thread. Once you start using it, it turns into a “must have” feature.

• Foot Pressure: Allows you to adjust the pressure that is applied to your fabric while it is moving under your sewing foot.

• Knee Lifter: Allows you to lift the presser foot while your hands are holding the fabric in place. Ideal for curves and sharp corners.

• Janome AcuFeed™ System: Top and bottom feed dog system makes it a breeze to sew through multiple layers and heavy fabric. Highly recommended for quilters or working with multiple layers.

• Wi-Fi capability: You can easily send embroidery designs from an iPad or computer straight to the machine.


What are some of your favourite features?


Cleaning Your Sewing Machine


When was the last time you cleaned and maintained your sewing machine?

Make your friend sparkle

Like cars, sewing machines do need some TLC in order to stay at their peak. We’d recommend a thorough clean every time you change your needle, or approximately every 8 hours of use. If you haven’t done that for a while, you’ll be amazed at the accumulation of dust, thread and lint. Don’t be surprised what else you’ll find in there that could be harmful to your machine.

When maintaining your machine, always refer to your sewing machine’s instructions manual. If you don’t have one, speak to your local Janome dealer, and they can order one in for you. Some dealers even run basic maintenance classes, so it is worth also asking them if they facilitate this service.

A clean machine is also a quiet machine

The “dirtiest” part of your sewing machine is generally the bobbin holder area, as that’s where fluff and lint accumulate from the needle going up and down through the fabric. Grab your lint brush and give it a few good swipes. If you don’t have a lint brush, a small, clean makeup brush should do the trick (it’s not advised to re-use the make-up brush for glamming yourself up after this).

If a bobbin holder cleaner is included as part of your accessories, you can apply a few drops of the cleaner to a soft cloth and wipe the bobbin holder both inside and outside.

It’s critical that you don’t dismantle the machine in any way other than what is explained in your instructions manual.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to change your needle often. We recommend changing out needles after 8 hours of active stitching or after four full bobbins. Always put in a fresh needle if you feel that your needle has hit something other than fabric, or notice that the machine seems to be struggling when going through layers of fabric. A bent or dull needle will not only damage your fabric, but your machine as well. It’s also vitally important to use good quality needles – Janome needles are designed to work with your Janome machine, giving you optimal stitch results with little fuss in the process.

Changing to a new needle can eliminate poor stitching, skipping, fabric snags, and can even cut down on lint accumulating in your machine!

Here are some other good maintenance practice to keep you machine running like a champ:

  • Protect your sewing machine by covering it with a case or keeping it in a carry bag. This way you can keep out dust, lint and pet hair from getting into your machine in between projects. It also protects it from the being damaged if knocked or moved.

  • Try not to eat and sew at the same time. A little grease and sauce can make a big mess of your fabric and your machine. Don’t ask us how we know that.

  • We recommend sending your sewing machine to an authorised Janome dealer for an annual tune up and service. Your dealer will be able to perform a more thorough maintenance regime, ensuring that your machine is working at its optimum, and maximising the longevity of your machine. They also have access to all the genuine parts and accessories that you may need for your machine.

Sewing machines are delicate creatures but with proper care, all machines – sewing, embroidery, quilting or overlockers – will continue to run smoothly and beautifully!

Tips & Techniques


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Saving Files for Janome Embroidery Machines

.jan, .emb, .jef, .jpx. No, we’re not talking gibberish, we are speaking Janome embroidery language.

One of the most important things you need to know about embroidery designs are the correct format – more specifically the file type in which your Janome embroidery machine is able to read. In today’s post we do a quick run through on the formats that current Janome embroidery machines can take:

.jef is a “Stitch Data” file and is the default format for all current Janome embroidery machines.

It’s made up of Janome machine readable files, with instruction for every stitch in the design, and coordinates to move the hoop.

If you’re purchasing embroidery designs from websites, you need to choose the. jef format. Same applies if you buy a CD of designs; be sure to check that it has the .jef format. If this format is not available, you will need software to convert the design to .jef.

.jef+ is an editable “Stitch Data” file created in Janome software programs.

It’s made up of two or more .jef file created in the edit function of the machine HMC15000, HMC14000, HMC12000, Skyline S9, MC9900, MC11000SE, MB-7, MB-4, MC500E and MC400E or Horizon Link/Suite. This means that each of the .jef that were brought into the edit screen can be moved, rotated, resized, etc. at any time. (Previous generations permanently grouped all designs when confirmed in the edit mode. All designs became a .jef and could no longer be edited individually.)

The format will also recognise hoops that are bigger than earlier generations of Janome embroidery machines.

Designs sent from the machine or Horizon Link/Suite to computer/USB are .jef+.

Note: The following machine models can only read .jef files: MC10000, MC9700, MC9500, MC370E, MC350E, MC300E, MC200E.

.jan is the “Master Data” file created in Janome Digitizer up to version 4.5. This is a working file whilst in the software. It’s made up of object data, thread colour, fill pattern, density and dimensions. This is the stage that you can make changes before sending it to become stitches and save as a .jef or .jef+.

.emb is the “Master Data” file created in Digitizer MBX V5. This is a working file whilst in the software. It’s made up of object data, thread colour, fill pattern, density and dimensions. This is the stage that you can make changes before sending it to become stitches and save as a .jef or .jef+.

.jpx has exclusive information that the current generation of Janome machines may need for special functions i.e. Cutwork, AcuFil and graphics.

You will need Digitizer MBX V4 and upwards to create a .jpx file. Digitizer automatically writes .jpx when writing to the USB or directly to the HMC15000, HMC14000, HMC12000, Skyline S9, MC9900, MC500E and MC400E.

AcuFil automatically writes to USB as *.alf.

.jpx contains both the stitch data and a background image together (.jpeg). This allows the HMC15000 and HMC12000 to display a .jpeg on the screen (this can be an image of your fabric) while positioning the design for improved positioning accuracy.

Additional Tips:

If your machine is WIFI enabled, you can transfer the design wirelessly using the iPad or computer.
With current Janome sewing and embroidery models, when you insert a blank USB stick into the USB port on your embroidery machine, your machine will automatically create 2 folders on your USB stick, an EMB folder and an ORD folder. Your designs should be in the EMB / EMBF sub-folder. This is the folder that your machine will look for embroidery designs.

Have you tried out the range of Janome embroidery machines with brilliant functionalities that make life so much easier to be creative?

Finishing Your Decorative Stitches


In sewing 101, we learn to lock our stitch when we reach the end of a seam. Lock, simply means to tie off the end of the thread within the stitch and prevent it from coming undone.

With straight or zig zag stitches, reverse stitching is a fast and convenient option to locking your stitch – you go forward, back and forward again to complete the locking stitch. With decorative stitches, there are different ways to complete your stitching pattern.

When you press the reverse stitch button for straight and zig zag setting, the machine will sew in reverse; with any other decorative stitches, the machine will automatically lock off and stop.

All of Janome’s computerised machines have a locking stitch button, which allows you to lock off the stitches with a simple press of a button instead of reversing over the previous stitching. Decorative stitches are programmed to lock off once completed however there are two options you can choose to lock off your stitches.

When using the auto-lock button, it allows you to complete the pattern repeat before locking the stitch. For example, if you wish to have five oval shaped stitches once it has started the fifth pattern repeat you press the Auto Lock Button and it will tie off once the repeat has completed.

However, if you are using the reverse button, it will stop stitching as soon as you press it and lock off. For example, if you want to sew three and a half ovals once you have completed to the point you wish simply press the reverse stitch button and the machine will commence locking the stitch and then stop immediately.

Option 1: If you want the machine to finish its current pattern repeat then sew the locking stitch at the end, press the auto-lock button – it will give you a perfect end to your stitching.

Option 2: If you want the machine to immediately stop and start sewing locking stitches, press the reverse stitch button. The machine will then stop at any point within the pattern and complete a locking stitch.

Speed Up & Slow Down

Janome start stop button

As a sewist, one of the most important relationships you have is with your sewing machine. How well do you know your Janome machine? We are sharing some of our favourite Janome features with you today.

One of the most common comments we hear from people is about the tricky little foot pedal. You barely step on it and your machine zooms away at the speed of light?

No it doesn’t have to be so scary – there is an option on Janome machines called speed control. It’s usually a little sliding dial that can be adjusted manually from very very sloooooow to super sonic speed if you crank it up (well, maybe not that fast).

speed control slider

Speed control slider

Here’s something else – if your machine has a start-stop button, it has a very neat trick. When you first lower the presser foot and press and hold the start/stop button, your Janome machine will sew at the slowest speed so you can make sure your fabric is moving properly as desired, ultimately giving you full control. Once everything looks good, release the button and the machine will speed up to the desired speed you have set on the speed dial.

When you come close to the end of the stitching or are trying to sew around a tricky corner, press and hold the start/stop button once more. Again, the machine will sew at the lowest speed to give you better control. When the needle has reached the end, release the start/stop button and the machine will immediately stop.

Happy stitching!