Tag Archives: Coverstitch Machine

Another Oliver + S Raglan T-Shirt (For Ezra)

Ezra loves his last Oliver + S Raglan t-shirt so much that he wears it as often as he possibly can. So I decided it was time for another one for sure.

I made this one orange and white, and he calls it his “Emmet shirt” ( he just watched the new Lego movie for the first time).


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I wrote before about how I had to take my coverstitch machine to get fixed. I got it back and although it definitely works better, it still skips whenever it goes over any thickness of fabric. It can only handle two layers of thin jersey. I am disappointed because I’ll have to take it back to get fixed.

For this t-shirt, I used a chain stitch around the neck to topstitch the seam allowance down. A regular coverstitch was out of the question. But by being very careful, I was able to hem the bottom and sleeves without too much trouble.

I finally got a little smarter while making this t-shirt and I figured out a good way to mark where I need the stitching to go for the hem. When you use a coverstitch machine, the outer needle needs to go just to the inside of the raw edge of the hem. If it goes too far to the left, both needles won’t catch the raw edge. If it goes too far to the inside, then you need to trim the excess off or it won’t look clean.

So, first I put the shirt wrong side up on the machine and made sure the outer needle was just to the inside of the raw edge of the shirt hem. Then, I put a small piece of masking tape there to mark where the folded side of the t-shirt needed to be to keep a nice, even hem.

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Then I flipped the shirt over and aligned the folded edge with the tape and I had a cheap seam guide to help me make a clean stitching line and not accidentally miss where I needed the needles to go.

Of course I removed the masking tape promptly after so I didn’t get sticky build-up on my machine.

Sometimes when I try to pull my thread ends to the back of the shirt they get stuck and won’t go to the back easily. So I use a needle to thread them to the back of the shirt. It’s way easier than trying to use the tweezers from the wrong side of the fabric, which is what my manual recommends to do.

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Take those threads straight to the back!

Anyway, another t-shirt is done for Ezra. We drank berry smoothies the first day he wore it and he spilled all down the front of it. I was pretty sad because it didn’t come out in the wash even with my heavy duty stain remover. So I followed the advice in this article and poured boiling water over the stain, and then soaked it in vinegar for awhile. It completely took the stain out. Woo hoo!


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Cuff That Cardigan

I have been working on making a cardigan similar to this one that I love:

My first attempt came out ok.

But there were a few things I wanted to change about it. One of them was the sleeves because they were a little too baggy. I also needed to ease the neck area more.

I fixed the pattern up and made it again. This time the sleeves were too small. Rrrr!

I chopped the sleeves down because they were tightest at the bottom so at least I can still wear it, and I think I finally have the sleeves right. I guess I’ll find out for sure when I cut out another one!

Here’s the second one:

I love the bands (cuffs) on the cardigan. Bands are my favorite way to hem sleeves and bottoms of shirts because they’re so cute. If you don’t have a coverstitch machine, bands are the easiest way to hem because you don’t have to worry about your sewing machine stretching out the seam. The stretching happened to me a lot before I had a coverstitch machine, even if I used a walking foot and a twin stretch needle.

We’ll talk more about those awesome bands in a minute but first, if I’m going to keep going on about my coverstitch machine then maybe I should tell you a bit more about what it is exactly.

My coverstitch machine.

A coverstitch machine is a kind of overlock machine. A serger is also an overlock machine, but a coverstitch machine doesn’t cut anything away as it sews and the loopers don’t pass the thread above the fabric.

Coverstitch looper.

You can buy a serger and a coverstitch as one machine. I have separate machines though, and I like that because you have to disengage the cutter to coverstitch if you have the two functions together.

The best way to see what a coverstitch does is to go find one of your store bought t-shirts and check out the hem. That double row of stitching at the bottom is from a coverstitch machine.

Top and underside of a coverstitch hemmed t-shirt.

It comes in handy for much more than just hemming, though. But we can talk about that another day.

Now, back to those cuffs. To add a cuff to a sleeve, the first thing you need to do is figure out how wide you’d like your finished cuff to be. We’ll say we want to have a two inch finished cuff.

To figure out the width of the strip we need to cut, we need to double the finished width. That will give us four inches. Then we need to add a seam allowance to both sides of the strip. We’ll use a half inch seam allowance. That means we need to add one inch for the seam allowance (one half on each side of the strip). So we need to cut a strip that is 5 inches wide.

Width of cuff = Finished width x 2 + seam allowance x 2.

Now we need to figure out the length of the cuff. I think the easiest way to do this is to measure around your arm where the cuff will go with a tape measure. Cut your strip the correct width, and as long around as your arm is. You will probably end up cutting some off since the cuff will stretch, but this will give you a good length to start with.

If you like your cuffs really loose, then you could add a couple inches to your arm measurement.

Wrap the strip around your arm and decide how tight you would like it to be. Pin it to mark the desired tightness.

Then, add a seam allowance to both ends of the strip and cut the rest off. Now you have your strip. Cut another one for the other arm.

Fold the cuff so that the short ends are together and right sides are together.

Serge or sew down the short end of the strip, using our half inch seam allowance. Press the seam.

Now we have a circle. Fold the circle in half the long way, right sides out. Press.

Now, pin your cuff to your sleeve with the shirt seam and cuff seam aligned, right sides together and raw edges aligned. Gently stretch the cuff to fit the sleeve and pin again on the other side.

Serge or sew the cuff to the sleeve, gently pulling the cuff to match the sleeve length if needed.

All serged.

Press seam allowance toward the top of the shirt. Coverstitch or topstitch the seam allowance down and you are finished!