How to succeed with the coverstitch binder attachment

- Coverstitch, Sewing knits, Tutorials

coverstitch binder attachment tutorial

When I bought my binder attachment last year for my Janome Coverpro coverstitch machine, I had high hopes that I would be able to achieve professional looking binding on my knit garments. I even took a class at my dealer’s store to really learn the technique. But I soon realised that only a particular pre-cut cotton interlock fabric works well with the binder attachment (available through Erika’s Syskrin ).

Whereas all those stretchy lycra fabrics that I love to work with was a nightmare to sew. Skipped stitches and uneven feeding was the norm, plus the binding tape kept slipping sideways when sewing, which resulted in a very uneven seaming. Not fun at all!

coverstitch binder attachment tutorial

So I decided to do some diligent research, reading blogs and Facebook groups and then just do some extensive testing and practicing with the mindset that it is possible to achieve good results with the binder attachment.

coverstitch binder attachment tutorial

It took me over eight hours, spread over three days before I was able to sew binding that I felt met my standards. Yes, it was a lot of time devoted to this task, but I did end up with something that looked pretty good, especially considering the fabric I used was a very slippery sports lycra fabric.

 

So let’s take a look at what worked for me

Coverstitch binder tutorial

coverstitch binder attachment tutorial

1. Use a piece of lego

This is a tip I got from several Swedish sewists. Placing the lego pieces on the right side of the presser foot prevents the binding from slipping. A longer piece is better than the regular size ones. Attach it with blue-tack. Fellow sewist Laura also directed me to something that is called a magnetic seam guide which could work the same way.

coverstitch binder attachment tutorial

2. Use a clear presser foot

A clear presser foot makes it easier to sew straight as you can see how the binding lines up and also when the tape starts to slip.

3. Max stitch length

Another tip I picked up from fellow Swedish sewists. That means 4 on the Janome Coverpro. This setting will help with feeding the tape binding through, plus it won’t look large like it would on regular hemming.

4. Lower the foot pressure

Feeding the bulky binding will be much easier when the presser foot pressure is reduced. On the Janome Coverpro, I found 13mm was a great setting.

 

coverstitch binder attachment tutorial

5. Lower the differential feed

This might sound odd, but to get to get a balanced seam without wrinkles I had to lower the differential substantially. I had mine down to 0.5, but I think 0,75 would have been optimal on the Janome. Normal setting is around 1.3.

6. Use 90 needles

Skipped stitches is an another problem when it comes to coverstitching binding. I found that a 90 size coverstitch needle worked better than the 80, as you will sew over many layers. I only use Schmez ELX 705 overlock needles; they are the best for coverstitching.

 

coverstitch binder attachment tutorial

7. Roll the tape on a  toilet roll

Another tip I picked up from a fellow sewist. Roll the tape on an empty toilet roll and put it on a paper towel stand, This will help to feed the tape evenly and keep it from collapsing before it is fed into the binder attachment.

 

coverstitch binder attachment tutorial

8. Secure the plates

On the Janome coverstitch binding attachment the plates don’t keep very still, so I ended up taping them in place.

9. Gently guide the tape when sewing

Use a narrow tool such as an awl or tweezers to guide the tape back if it starts to slip. Don’t tug and pull the tape with your hands while sewing, this is a recipe for messed up stitches. This is something I learned in my class and found it to be very true.

10. Practise. A lot.

This could be the number one key factor to success I think. I noticed the same thing when I took the class. After a lot of practicing it just went smoother, even though the machine at the store was already set up correctly. So even if your setup is spot on you might still need to spend a lot of time sewing scraps before moving on to the real thing.

 

Want more suggestions? Check out Fehr Trade’s post on tips and tricks for the coverstitch binder attachment.
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13 Comments

  • Reply
    Anthonia
    October 5, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Wow! The blue top looks more than professional.

    I don’t have a coverstitch machine as I hardly sew with stretch fabrics but I loved reading this post.

    Are they of any use for woven fabrics?

    • Reply
      Johanna
      October 6, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      Yes the binder attachments works for wovens too, but I have not tried it myself but I imagine the finish would look beautiful

  • Reply
    PsychicSewerKathleen
    October 5, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Thank you Joanna! I noted all your points on paper to have it at the ready when I want to use my binder attachments with knit banding. I don’t know if I have your patience! I’ll give it a whirl but if it’s too frustrating I have a STRONG feeling I’ll end up resorting back to my old way on the serger and sewing machine 🙂

    • Reply
      Johanna
      October 6, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      Hehe, yes it does require some patience and just like you I already felt confident in my old ways of making a knit binding. But I will say the finish looks so nice once I got it right I felt it was worth it!

  • Reply
    Mary
    October 6, 2017 at 5:33 am

    Thank you for putting the hours in to come up with these tips. I have just asked my children for a lego block (out of the thousand pieces of lego they own)! I’m thinking about getting an extension table and attaching a binder to that. In theory the table supports the weight of the fabric and there is less drag causing skipped stitches. Planning to buy a generic binder off ebay and using blue tack to attach it. This is a cheaper solution than spending Australian$199 for a Janome binder/plus plate. I’m terrifed of spending heaps of money and then it just not working to a standard that I can live with.

    Your binding looks great and the tips you have provided are wonderful. I find it interesting that you still had to tape down the plate even when it was screwed to the attachment points.

    • Reply
      Johanna
      October 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      I think getting a good generic binder will be a better investment than shelling out $$$ for the brand one. I got my cheaper as part of my coverstitch packet, but I’ve tried a generic that only cost 1/3 of the Janome and it was just as good or better. If I had known this beforehand I would have bought that one instead of the Janome.
      Those screws just don’t sit tight enough to stabilize the plates. I’ve changed screws and everything but I just can’t get them to keep the plate still. Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but when I took the class the plate wasn’t stable either on that machine.

  • Reply
    Adrianne
    October 6, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    Wow, thanks for all the tips! That lego trick could work on lots of things; my mind is working on the possibilities.
    Your garments are fabulous and you inspire me to keep trying, so THANK YOU!

    • Reply
      Johanna
      October 6, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      Yes, the Lego was a game changer! I can also see many uses for it now, weird that it isn’t a better-known hack since many of us have access to those plastic pieces 🙂

  • Reply
    Celeste
    October 7, 2017 at 6:08 am

    This is awesome. I have the same machine, same problems. Thank you!,

    • Reply
      Johanna
      October 9, 2017 at 9:21 am

      Happy to hear you found it useful, it was so tricky to learn so I’m happy to share my findings!

  • Reply
    Valerie
    October 7, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    In reading your post, I am confused as to whether you used the clear view foot or the foot that came with the binder. I have the binder and foot AND the center guide clear foot which is not working for me because the fabric wants to come between the space where the rudder would go. Thinking of investing in yet another expensive attachment, the clear view foot which does not have that gap. You give me hope.

    • Reply
      Johanna
      October 9, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      I tried both the included and the regular clear presser foot. The clear one was superior, it is a bit longer but I didn’t find it to be an issue. And no scrunched fabric, but yes another $$$ accessory

  • Reply
    Sade Williams
    December 3, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    I can’t imagine if we didn’t have people like you, I’d give up! Thank you for the information!
    I have noticed some tape binder attachments with an elastic feed on the top but I can’t seem to find it or any info on this at all, how else can you add elastic in between the binding without having to serge it on.

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