Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Same but Different

I recently replaced one of the coverstitch needles on my machine and discovered that the type of coverstitch needle I use, the JLX2, that I purchased online was different from the JLX2 that came with my machine.  It is labeled as the same type but actually there are slight differences between them.  Should you encounter skipped stitches on your machine, yes, check that the threading is correct, try a fresh needle, etc. but also check to make sure the needle you are using is what you think you are supposed to be using! More below....

I own the Bernina 1300 MDC serger/coverstitch machine.  The machine came with 3 needles dedicated for the coverstitch, JLX2:

I have found that these needles help produce a very nice quality coverstitch but they are hard to find.  I could not find them at my local JoAnn's nor could I find them in the NYC garment district.  My Bernina dealer does not carry them either! Even though Schmetz manufactures the JLX2 needle, they do not have them available on their website!  Of course, you can find just about anything online if you look long enough so I found 3 online sources for the JLX2 needles: Sew4Less; they carry the Organ brand and The Colorful World of Sewing; they carry the Schmetz brand.  CTSUSA carries the Organ brand as well but only in a box of 100 needles.

Since I felt a burr on the needle that produces the left row of needle stitches, I decided to replace it with one of the Schmetz JLX2 needles I purchased online and got this result:

Upon comparing the needles, I discovered that the JLX2 needles I purchased online were just a tad bit shorter than the JLX2 needles that came with my serger.  See the photo below.  The JLX2 needle I purchased online is the 3rd to the right in the photo below.  The eye is just a bit smaller too.

In order from left to right:  Stretch needle, JLX2 needle that came with machine, Schmetz JLX2 needle purchased online
The center needle is the one that came with my serger.

I compared the needle that came with my serger to other needles in my stash and was happy to discover that the stretch needle (much easier to find) is identical in length to the ones that came with my serger and the eye is the same size.  The stretch needle is the first one in the photo.  I replaced the left needle with the stretch needle and got a beautiful coverstitch!  Hurray!

Hoping I had not wasted my money on the Schmetz JLX2 needles I purchased online, I tried replacing both the left and right needles with the online JLX2s and also got a nice coverstitch - double hurray!

So the key takeaways for me:

1.  Compare the new needle with the old needle that has worked well to see whether there are any major differences.

2.  The stretch needle produces a nice coverstitch for the Bernina 1300 MDC.

3.  I can use the JLX2 needles I purchased online as long as all of the needles for the coverstitch I am working on are the same length.

Of course, the fabric can also make a difference so always test on swatches before working on your project.

Happy sewing!


  1. Great information. I just purchased the Juki MO-735, was reading the manual & noticed the suggestion for JLx2 needles if sewing thick materials. Your post was to the point and informative (picture was a big help). Much appreciated.

    1. You are welcome Mike! I am so happy to know that you found the post helpful.

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  3. My MO-735 (same as 1300MDC) is doing a fine job with overlocking, but the coverstitch has started skipping a lot. Based on other online discussions this actually seems to be weakness of these machines. With JLX2s being hard to find, what brand/size stretch needle did you use (the left one in your photo) ?

    1. The stretch needle in the photo above is the brand Inspira stretch needle 130/705 H-S in size 90. I purchased this needle at my local JoAnn's a few years ago when they had a sewing machine center in the middle of the store (which is now gone). Schmetz also has a stretch needle with the same model number: 130/705H-S. Good luck with the stretch needles. I hope they work for you.

      Sorry I did not reply sooner. I have this blog set up to notify me when a comment is posted but sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't.

  4. Hi Tomasa, I’m new to coverstitching and hoping for some help. I just purchased a Bernina 1300MDC. I’ve read the manual back to back and I can’t seem to get the left-most needle to capture so I can’t do a wide three thread coverstitch or a 4 thread coverstitch. I have managed to figure out the narrow three thread using the centre and right needle on the bamboo French terry I typically sew with but when I go back to trying to use that left needle I end up with a mess. I tried re-threading 3 times... It also came with special coverstitch needles (JLX2) and I was scratching my head over that so I’m grateful for your post!

  5. ive been fighting with this same issue for 2 days...i accidently found your post in looking for needles...i can't wait to try the schmetz stretch needle ( i have those) and hope this solves my problem as well. THANX SO MUCH!!!!!

  6. what size was the stretch needle you used?