Muslins, Chainstitch, and Machines

If you are making muslins and don’t love using a seam ripper, you may want to look into having a machine in your arsenal that can perform a chain stitch. Chain stitching is very easy to pull out, so is convenient if you may have to open up seams. It can also be used to make very pretty machine embroidery.
Some, but not all, sergers are capable of making a chain stitch. I get the impression that you should expect chain stitch capabilities if your machine is also a coverstitch machine. As far as I know, a single-needle coverstitch is indistinguishable from a chain stitch.
There are dedicated chain stitch sewing machines, most of them early models, like Singer’s 20 and 24, Wilcox and Gibbs machines, and a whole bunch of others. Then you have lock-stitch machines (what most of us consider a “normal” stitch in a sewing machine) capable of chain stitch if you have the correct attachments, accessories and needle plates. Some industrial machines are dedicated chain stitchers. I see their work every time I open a bag of cat litter.
I’ve done cursory googling and searches of Facebook boards, so I’m not an expert, and you should read a manual for any machine you’re looking to purchase to see if it is supposed to be able to produce a chain stitch. It appears that almost all of the Singer Touch and Sew machines will chain stitch, with the correct attachments. These machines get a bad rap in some people’s books because not all of them have metal gears. If that matters a lot to you, they can certainly be found with metal gears – just bring a screwdriver when you’re buying and be ready to check! If nylon gears are ok with you, be prepared to replace them, if needed. I’m highly-motivated and I love bringing sewing machines back to life, so I don’t consider nylon gears a deal-breaker. (We’ll see if I still feel that way if the nylon gears I just replaced in a machine only last a year._

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