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When I first started writing this Brother 2340CV review, the title was “Why I Hate Everything About This Machine.” Now, after mastering the learning curve and becoming more sensitive to my machine’s quirks, this review is more about “my love-hate relationship” with my Brother 2340CV.
It’s absolutely no secret that I love the Brother brand. Right now, my sewing room is filled with mostly Brother machines. I have a Brother SE1900 sewing and embroidery machine, a Brother 1034D serger, and Brother CP60X and CS7000X sewing machines. I know Brother machines. I’ve never had problems with Brother machines.
But phew, this coverstitch tested my patience the first several months I had it. I will admit about 50% of my frustrations were total user error. Coverstitch machine settings aren’t quite like serger settings. The other 50% of my frustrations were learning how to gently coax this little stinker into doing my bidding.
When prices for this Brother 2340CV grossly inflated during the pandemic, and I had to opportunity to sell it for a profit, I still hung onto it. Am I crazy? I don’t really know. Because now I’m almost fond of this machine. And when set it up correctly, it actually stitches with excellent quality.
Want to learn more? Let’s get started with this Brother 2340CV cover stitch review. I’ll go through some of the main features, answer some common questions regarding use, and then compare it to a few other machines on the market.
What My Coverstitch Machine Does for Me
Before purchasing the Brother 2340CV, I hemmed knit fabrics with a twin needle on my sewing machine, and I topstitched necklines using a narrow zigzag stitch. I also usually shied away from knit neckline bindings because using my sewing machine made my projects look more “homemade” rather than “handmade.”
Quite simply, while you can somewhat recreate the parallel lines of a coverhem with a sewing machine, a cover stitch looks more professional on the inside and out AND, as a plus, has more stretch.
A coverstitch machine can also sew a chain stitch, which is more functional and aesthetically pleasing than a narrow zigzag when topstitching necklines.
And lastly, thanks to the binding attachment, my coverstitch machine makes binding necklines, armholes, and legholes a breeze and gives them a much more professional appearance.
What comes with the Brother 2340CV?
Now, here’s what was included in my tiny little box.
- Brother 2340CV coverstitch machine, foot pedal, and power cord
- One presser foot on the machine and one small, narrower foot
- Accessories: tweezers, 4 thread spool caps, 4 thread nets, 4 foam spool mats, a wrench for changing needles, and a cleaning brush
- Three 90/14 universal Schmetz needles (NOT what works best in my experience, though!)
- Dust cover (I’d recommend sewing a prettier one.)
- Operation manual (SO not detailed enough!)
The machine was threaded for instructional purposes, but the thread ends were tied around the spool holder. You’ll need to buy threads yourself.
Brother 2340CV Review of Features
Here’s a quick chart showcasing some of the main features of this machine.
|Threads||up to 4|
|Needles||up to 3|
|Stitch Length||2-4 mm|
|Cover Stitch Width||3mm or 6mm|
What stitches can the Brother 2340CV do?
There are three main types of stitches that you can make with this cover stitch machine for a total of four stitch options.
1. Chain stitch (two threads)
The front of the chain stitch looks like a simple straight stitch, and the back has a chained appearance. It’s constructed using one needle and the looper thread, has tremendous stretch, and can be used for basting. You’ll commonly find it used in topstitching on ready-to-wear necklines and even on denim jeans.
2. Two-needle cover stitch (three threads)
The traditional coverstitch uses two needles and one looper thread. The front of the stitch features parallel lines while the back has a crisscross appearance. This is commonly found on t-shirt hems, both on the arms and on the bottom.
Depending on the two needles you use, you can stitch either a wide (6mm) or narrow (3mm) coverstitch.
3. Three-needle cover stitch (four threads)
Using all three needles and the looper creates three parallel stitching lines on the top and a triple coverstitch appearance on the underside.
This is a common appearance on athletic wear, although most sportswear is stitched with a double-sided triple coverstitch, which requires a machine with five threads like the Brother CV3550.
Is the Brother 2340CV a serger (overlocker)?
The Brother 2340CV is simply a coverstitch machine, not a coverstitch and serger combo machine.
As such, it cannot do an overlocking stitch like a serger, and it does not have a knife to trim fabric.
If you want to trim fabric and overlock, check out the Brother 1034DX or Brother 1034D sergers (learn the differences between the Brother 1034D vs. 1034DX). I use my sergers for creating seams on knit garments and my Brother 2340CV for hemming knit garments and making bindings.
If you’re trying to compare the Brother 1034D vs. 2340CV, there is almost no overlap.
Things I Like About The Brother 2340CV (Pros)
Any Brother 2340CV reviews you read will tell you all the pros, so I’ll keep this section pretty short. The cons are what I imagine you’ll be more interested in!
1. Good Stitch Quality
The most important pro is that when settings and materials are matched well, the stitch quality is impeccable. I rarely see skipped stitches now that I’ve mastered the learning curve. Some coverstitch machines like the Janome Cover Pro 1000CPX are notorious for skipped stitches, and thankfully that’s one thing I can’t say about the 2340CV.
2. Easy to Set Up and Thread
The Brother 2340CV is VERY easy to thread compared to threading a serger. It’s more complex than threading a sewing machine, though.
There are some helpful YouTube threading videos to supplement the astoundingly less-than-stellar manual. One of my initial issues with stitch quality was that I had misinterpreted the manual when threading my 2340CV around the guide bar.
I recommend serger tweezers or an auxiliary threading tool if you need help with fitting your fingers in the tiny workspace.
3. Clear Presser Foot
This makes lining up seams and following fabric easier. Many other brands of coverstitch machines do not have a clear foot option.
4. Tutorial & Support Availability
While there aren’t as many tutorials for coverstitch machines in general, the Brother 2340CV is a popular machine due to its entry-level price point. As such, there are more tutorials, Facebook groups, and other resources to help you learn how to use the Brother 2340CV.
Cons (Reasons I Want to Pull My Hair Out With This Machine)
Before purchasing, I recommend reviewing these cons and making sure they are things you can live with. I was able to get used to them, which is why I still have my Brother 2340CV.
1. No Automatic Thread Tension Release to Remove Fabric
You can “chain” off of sorts if you’re sewing a straight line on fabric, but when cover stitching in the round, you need to find a way to release the fabric effectively.
You just can’t remove the fabric when you raise the presser foot because the thread tension is not released. Instead, you have to use one hand to release the tension on the threads and use the other hand to pull the threads without getting tunneling on the fabric. I do not recommend using the method in the manual but instead using the method in this YouTube video!
The first few times I had to do this, I almost decided to return my machine. But, now that I’ve gotten the hang of it, it’s almost second nature.
2. Foot Pedal Speed Control Issues Like Woah
As I mentioned, I have FIVE Brother machines. However, the foot pedal on this one was nothing like the others.
When depressing the foot pedal slow like a snail, you go nowhere until all of a sudden you go breakneck speed, which means crooked stitching or skipped stitches.
It wasn’t until about six months into using the machine that the foot pedal finally loosened up and now stitches like a normal foot pedal! I guess like fine wine, it also gets better with age. I cannot explain it, but I FINALLY have the perfect pedal, thank goodness.
3. Small Throat Space
There is not a lot of throat/harp space, so if you need to sew something bulky, you have to figure out how to place it outside the machine. Or, have fun shoving it in that super small space. (As a note, the Janome 1000CPX and Janome 900CPX have a larger harp space if this is a big issue for you.)
4. No Free Arm
While I don’t use the free arm on my serger often, I kind of expected it on my coverstitch machine. Nope! You need to get creative with fabric placement, but it’s not too tricky once you get the hang of it. Above is a picture from my Brother 1034D serger to show you what a free arm is.
5. No Thread Cutter. At All.
How hard would it have been for Brother to add a tiny thread cutter to the side? Of course, it’s not like I’m asking for an automatic thread cutter but merely a tiny razor on the side of the machine.
To remedy this issue, I bought a pack of Singer thread cutters and stuck one on there. Then, I did the same thing for my serger and wrote about it in my tutorial for adding a thread cutter to a sewing machine.
6. Forget Bulky Materials and Thick Seams
More than two layers of fleece? Don’t expect frequent success.
Are you stitching over a thick seam? Make sure to pound that sucker, stitch slowly, and possibly use the handwheel to advance the needle to prevent skipped or uneven stitches.
By absolutely no stretch of the imagination is this a heavy-duty, industrial cover stitch machine.
7. The Light Gets HOT
The good news is there’s a nice light to illuminate the workspace. The bad news is it gets hot after a short period of use. So, I highly recommend you turn your machine off when you’re not immediately using it!
8. Pitiful Manual
I’ve mentioned it already, but don’t expect to learn the art of cover stitching from the manual. I recommend watching videos by on thi YouTube channel for Brother 2340CV tutorials. And, the book Master the Coverstitch Machine is beneficial for the theory of cover stitching with any machine.
Tips for Use and Troubleshooting
Here are some things I’ve learned along the way that I want to pass along.
What threads do you use on the Brother 2340CV?
I prefer to use serger thread cones for most tasks but sometimes replace the looper thread with Woolly Nylon if the inside is close to the body and the fabric is very stretchy.
I’ve written a post on best serger thread types, and that’s going to apply to this coverstitch machine in most cases. Many different thread types will work, including serger cones, sewing machine thread, embroidery thread, and even decorative specialty thread as long as you’re willing to troubleshoot settings.
I have the best luck using Maxilock serger cone thread and Maxilock Stretch (like Woolly Nylon). If you don’t want to buy four cones of every color you may need, you can wind bobbins from one serger cone to use in the needles. Or, you can try regular sewing machine thread in the needles and a neutral serger cone in the looper. (My machine does not like sewing thread in the looper.)
What needles are best for the Brother 2340CV?
Brother specifically recommends using only Schmetz 130/705H 90/14 needles. However, I do not get great results with UNIVERSAL needles like the ones included in the box. Since I mainly coverstitch knit fabric, I use either a BALLPOINT or a JERSEY needle. Here’s some more info.
First, 130/705H is just a fancy way of saying that the needles are made for household sewing machines. All needles I use on all my machines are 130/705H, so no reason to buy anything else special for your Brother 2340CV.
90/14 is the intended needle size, which Brother specifically manufactured this machine to use. I also use 80/12 often and 75/11 needles occasionally, though, and they work fine. In fact, I get even better results with them on some fabric types. So, test things out on your machine if you’re having issues.
Now, for the needle tip type. You can use a needle with a universal or sharp tip for woven fabrics with no stretch. However, if you are cover stitching knitted fabric, switch to a ballpoint needle. This has a rounded point that slips through knitted fibers rather than piercing and thus damaging them. You could also use a stretch needle on thin, super elastic fabrics if you notice issues.
I’m also guessing Brother and Schmetz have a partnership going because other brands of needles also work just peachy in my machine. Organ needles are cheaper if you like to buy them in bulk. I use both Schmetz and Organ with no issues.
Brother 2340CV Attachments and Accessories
One annoying thing about this machine is it doesn’t include attachments to assist with necklines and hemming!
Six Brother attachments can be purchased separately for this coverstitch machine. Unfortunately, they are expensive, and as such, I only own the Brother brand for a few of them. The rest I’ve rigged a generic brand to work (using Loctite Fun-Tak or painter’s tape) or just gone without. Here’s a little bit more information about these attachments.
- SA221CV Hemming Set: This hemming set folds fabric and keeps it straight for single fold and double fold hemming. Because of how unstable most knit fabrics are, you only want to use this with stable fabrics like quilting cotton. I did not purchase this one but purchased a much less expensive Janome single-fold hemmer that I attach to my machine with Fun-Tak.
- SA222CV Bias Tape Holder: This folds and attaches 1/2″ bias tape flat to fabric. The bias tape DOES NOT actually encase the seam. You can also use this for making belt loops. I prefer to use Fun-Tak on generic sewing bias tape makers for this function, which allows for much more variety in size.
- SA223CV Belt Loop Maker: Skip this unless you need to make a ton of belt loops. It only makes belt loops 1/2″ wide, and this is also easily done with a sewing machine.
- SA224CV Bias Tape Binding Set: You can attach 6 or 12 mm bias tape to fabric, encasing fabric edges. This is NOT for making knit necklines but rather attaching woven bias binding to fabric. It’s a little easier to do this with my sewing machine, in my opinion.
- SA225CV Double Fold Binder: I highly recommend getting one of these. But, not necessarily Brother’s one. (More info below.) The Brother double fold binder doesn’t make a single fold binding, and it only produces a 1/2″ wide binding anyway. It does attach much better to the machine than the generic ones.
- SA226CV Topstitching Set: I own this one, and it’s helpful. It has a groove on the bottom of the foot that holds the fabric seam edge, helping you topstitch straight. However, if your serged seam is too wide, it won’t fit well under the groove of the foot, making it difficult to use. I do use this on all necklines that get topstitching.
Binders for the Brother 2340CV
If you want to bind necklines, armholes, leg holes, and more, a binder is going to be your friend. They are a little tricky to master at first, but there are good YouTube videos available.
A double-fold binder encases the raw fabric edges on both the inside and outside of the binding. In contrast, a single-fold binder encases the raw binding edge on the outside but leaves the raw edge exposed inside the neckline. This raw edge is then stitched over by your coverstitch. A single-fold binder thus produces a less bulky binding. This is usually my preferred type of binding.
Each binder you buy will produce a different size of binding. So, if you want to make three different sizes of single-fold binding, you will need three different sizes of single-fold binders.
I’ve not used the Brother brand double-fold binder because the price was a huge deterrent for a double-fold only binder of just one width. However, I have a double-fold binder that makes 5/8″ double-fold binding and a single-fold binder that creates 3/8″ single-fold binding.
A Few Hemming Tips for the Brother 2340CV
There are MANY methods for achieving the perfect cover stitched hem, but here’s how I make mine. (I first tried the “Hail Mary” fold as I go technique, which never produces great results. I end up getting puckering and distortion of the hem as well as uneven edges.)
The first step is making sure you have the correct settings on your 2340CV. Then, check on a scrap piece of folded fabric to make sure the differential feed, stitch length, presser foot pressure, and needle tensions are going to do the trick.
Now, fold and press the hem up to the wrong side of the fabric, making sure it’s even. Then, secure the hem. I often fuse the hem using hem tape. This absolutely keeps the hem from moving around while stitching. You can also pin, clip, use water-soluble tape or use temporary fabric glue if you do not want hem tape there permanently. As a note, if you want to use hem tape and need the hem to still stretch with the garment fabric, make sure you’re using stretch hem tape.
Then, use painter’s tape, a stack of small post-it notes, a Lego on Fun-Tak, or your favorite method to the right of the presser foot to make sure you’re stitching straight.
Alternatives to the Brother 2340CV
Now, there are better coverstitch machines out there. If you have a larger budget, I’d recommend considering the Juki MCS1500 or an air-threading Babylock. The Babylock is the queen of all coverstitch machines, and the Juki MCS1500 is generally touted to be easier to use and more robust on heavier fabrics.
But if you, like me, don’t want to pay a premium price, then the Brother 2340CV is probably looking pretty good right about now.
Brother 2340CV Review – Conclusion
If you don’t expect greatness at first and plan for a steeper learning curve, the Brother 2340CV is a good machine for a great price. You’ll eventually learn to work around its quirks and be thankful for its steadfastness.
However, if you have high expectations and want a less touchy machine, you might want to save up for a more expensive machine!