There is a wide variety of sewing machines available, each with their own strengths and purposes. Although most people use a standard model, more advanced sewers may be interested in purchasing sergers or even coverstitch machines such as the Janome 900CPX or the Juki MCS1500. While these units may be helpful for some, it is important to understand the difference between an all-purpose machine, a serger, and a coverstitch, since each is typically used for different things.
Standard All-Purpose Sewing Machines
Standard all-purpose sewing machines are great for those looking for a model that can do almost anything and are available with many accessories and functions. An experienced sewer can usually create a type of overlock stitch on some of the better equipped all-purpose units available, although doing so is much more labor-intensive and time-consuming. When made on standard models, these stitches usually require special presser feet or attachments and may not achieve the preferred finished look from a dedicated serger or coverstitch. For those who infrequently make clothing , investing in a coverstitch or serger may not be needed.
Sergers are great for those who sew a lot of clothing because they produce durable, finished, and professional-looking seams. Sergers use two needles and as many as eight threads, with each additional thread giving the machine a greater ability to make different types of overlock stitched seams and hems. One of the main differences between a serger and both regular and coverstitch machines is the built-in knives that trim the fabric as it is being sewn, making precise, finished seams. Sergers can make flatlock stitches which neither of the other units can do.
While sergers can perform the same stitches as coverstitch machines, doing so involves removing the knives and making considerable adjustments to the machine. Many find this to be inconvenient and time-consuming. Those who spend most of their time sewing quality garments tend to prefer sergers, as they make the creation of strong and attractive seams easier and faster.
A coverstitch machine like the Janome 900CPX or the Juki MCS1500 is considered by many to be the simpler version of the serger. These models do not automatically create finished seams or trimmed hems as they do not have the knives; however, they are still useful for making various locking stitches, strong seams, edging, and manual hems. Coverstitch units are especially useful for working with fabric such as knit and jersey as well as make gathers and sew on fabric trims. For those who do not need all of the functions of a serger, a coverstitch may be a great and more affordable alternative.
When deciding whether to purchase a serger or coverstitch machine or stay with an all-purpose sewing machine, sewers need to think about the type of projects they enjoy doing the most in order to know which of these options will best serve their needs. Some may purchase all three types, while others may have no need for specialty models like the Juki MCS1500, or the Janome 900CPX. Those who do enjoy making some clothing but do not actually need a serger may find a coverstitch is the perfect model to give them just the amount of flexibility they need!