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When I bought the Janome Coverpro binder attachment last year for my 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,
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 very uneven seaming. Not fun at all!
So I decided to do some diligent research, reading blogs and Facebook groups and then just do some extensive testing and practising with the mindset that it is possible to achieve good results with the binder attachment.
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
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.
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. I like the clear presser foot from Janome (Amazon affiliate link)
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. Experiment with the foot pressure
I found sewing over bulky binding much was easier when the presser foot pressure was reduced. On the Janome Coverpro, I found 13mm was a great setting. Normally this is counterintuitive as you are supposed to increase the presser foot pressure on thicker layers. Experiment and see what works for you.
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 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 Schmetz ELX 705 overlock needles (Amazon affiliate link); they are the best for coverstitching.
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.
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 practising 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.
The Janome Coverpro Binder Attachment (Amazon affiliate link)