How to use different Sewing Machines Stitches

May 31, 2019
Sewing Machines Stitches

Sewing Machines Stitches come with lots of stitch options. By learning about its built-in stitches expand the abilities of your sewing machine. Find the best Sewing Machines to working together with fabrics Stitches suited.

We all want to create the most perfect dress there is, but dressmaking is an art of its own. And just like a painter dreaming of creating his finest artwork, the idea gets crushed real fast because we all fall into the pressure that it must be so difficult to create one in the first place.

That might be true — sewing a dress takes a lot of effort and perseverance. It’s not for the weak and lazy. However, sewing your dream dress is not really just the stuff of legend. It’s not as hard as people make it out to be because aside from effort and perseverance, all you really need to create your dream dress is to know how to manipulate your sewing machine.

You see, you might not know this, but sewing machines can have up to more than 100 types of stitch settings. That doesn’t even include yet the other tips and tricks that they have! So, in a way, your own sewing machine is the secret to creating the dress of your dreams. But the problem still remains: there are so many stitch styles — how do I know which one to use?

Well, fear not because there is a comprehensive list of the stitch styles that your sewing machine may have and that you can use in your dressmaking endeavors.  

Stitch Styles

Straight Stitch

Ah, the most basic and most common stitch style of them all, but it is one that we shouldn’t take for granted because it can get handy. As the name suggests, this stitching style produces small and straight equidistant stitches, and that’s why it’s generally used for all kinds of construction sewing. It’s perfect for creating seams and topstitches as well. Pretty common, but incredibly versatile. That’s the essence of the straight stitch.

Basting Stitch

The basting stitch is very much like the straight stitch — it will also give you straight, equidistant stitches. The only difference between the two is that the basting stitch produces longer stitches. As a result, they’re easier to remove, making the process of sewing a lot faster and easier.

A basting stitch is more often than not primarily used to gather fabric, to hold the fabric in place, and to create a sewing guide. Other times, it’s useful when you’re fitting a garment because the stitch is easily removable so there will be no problems when you have to make corrections.

Tacking Stitch

The purpose for a tacking stitch is pretty self-explanatory: it tacks itself at the beginning or the end of your stitch. This means that you won’t have to back stitch and that your stitch is now safe from coming undone. Pretty convenient, don’t you think?

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Double Needle Stitch

As you are probably aware, many garments like T-shirts and jerseys have two rows of stitch along the hem. The purpose of those two rows of stitches is for added durability, which incredibly important in clothes. But it must be so tiring to manually stitch the hem twice, right? Thankfully, with your sewing machine, you can replicate that through the double needle stitch setting.

Triple Stretch Stitch

From the name itself, a triple stretch stitch provides you with three stitches that go forward, backward, and forward again. And the primary purpose for these stitches is to allow your fabric to stretch while still giving it some reinforcement and sturdiness.

Stretch Stitch

Very much like the previous stitch style, this one allows your fabric to stretch, but a stretch stitch is more suited to seams. A lot of the times, if you sew stretchy fabric with a straight stitch, the seam will come out wavy or, worse, the stitches will pop and break the first time your fabric stretches. Luckily, with a stretch stitch, your seam will be flexible and yet not bulky at the same time.

Zig-Zag Stitch

Another common stitch style, a zig-zag stitch produces a thread pattern that resembles, well, a zigzag, and it is an easy way to finish edges. It’s also a great stitch to use when you’re sewing something stretchy and you need your seam to have some give.

Since the stitches of this style go side-to-side, this stitch style can also be perfect when you need to cover a large area than just straight stitching (such as when sewing on trim) or when you need to create closely packed stitches (such as in satin stitching or bar tacking for reinforcement).

Multi-Stitch Zig-Zag

Sometimes known as the serpentine or triple zigzag, a multi-stitch zig-zag looks like your regular zig-zag — the only difference is that each zigzag is made up of tiny stitches instead of just one long one. As a result, this style allows for even more stretching with more reinforcement. That’s why, aside from finishing seam edges, patching or reinforcing, it is also handy when you’re installing elastic into your garment.

Overcasting/Knit Stitch

Both the overcasting and knit stitches are perfect for finishing the edges of fabrics, especially when it comes to knit fabrics. You see, if you try to finish the edge of a stretchy fabric with a regular zig-zag stitch, it can be difficult to keep it flat and uniform, thus making your seam end up all wavy.

In order to finish an edge with overcast stitches, all you have to do is to stitch next to your seam on your seam allowance — that is, the fabric between your seam stitching and the edge of the fabric. After that, you cut off any excess by cutting close — but remember, not through! — your line of overcast stitching.

Honeycomb Stitch

This is probably one of the most intricate stitches you’ll see, and for a lot of times, it’s usually utilized as a decorative stitch. However, it has other uses as well. Aside from being decorative, it can also be used as an edging to keep fabrics from fraying, and it’s also great for installing elastic since it provides stretch and can be used to create smocking.

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Blind Hem Stitch

You shouldn’t stop for an average topstitched hem when you’re making garments. It’s also a good idea to learn how to use a blind hem. The way that this a blind hem stitch works is it only grabs the outside layer of fabric with tiny stitches to anchor the hem while hiding the other stitches on the inside. With that, you can see why it is helpful to learn how to use a blind hem: because blind hems will look neater and cleaner, thus making your garments look as if they were made by a professional.

Blind Stretch Hem Stitch

This is pretty much exactly like the previous stitch style. The only difference is that this is tailored for stretchy hems. The shape of this stitch includes more varied peaks and valleys, and as a result, it allows for good stretchability while keeping everything else nice and hemmed.

Overlock Stitch

Ah, the overlock stitch. Otherwise known as the ultimate stitch for finishing edges of the fabric. It resembles the stitch of a 4-thread serger, but it also uses your single-needle sewing machine to create a stitch that will keep your fabric from becoming undone.

Applique or Blanket Stitch

Named after being traditionally used to stitch the edges of blankets, a blanket stitch is a simple one yet quite beautiful. It is usually used for finished edges, decorative edges, and appliqueing.

This is one of the stitches that you probably have learned while you were still in school, and this is probably one of the stitches that you’ve used in your crafting projects. Basically, a blanket stitch is very well-sought, since it is both easy and beautiful, and luckily, you can replicate this stitch in your sewing machine.

Ladder/Rampart Stitch

A ladder/rampart stitch looks a lot like the zig zag stitch, but this time, each peak is flat instead of pointed. This stitch is usually utilized when you’re joining two pieces of fabric by butting them up against each other. Another great use for the rampart stitch is creating a couch or a channel for the elastic or ribbon to run through.

Tracking or Bartack Stitch

If you look at a pair of jeans, you’ll see a little stitch on the belt loops and the corners of the pockets. That little stitch is called a bartack stitch, and it’s a stitch that you use when you want some extra reinforcement to keep those parts from tearing or coming apart. In other words, this is a stitch that’s most commonly known for providing stronger reinforcement to your garment.

Buttonhole Stitch

Essentially, a buttonhole stitch is a series of small and tight zig-zag stitches that are sewn in an elongated rectangle or oval with a small slit of space right in the middle. As the name suggests, this stitch is used to secure the edges of buttonholes since it provides a much sturdier stitch because of the knots it makes.

There are various kinds of buttonhole stitches, and it is advisable to know them.

  • Basic Buttonhole: has square ends for the average button.
  • Rounded Buttonhole: has rounded ends, and it’s good for delicate fabrics.
  • Keyhole Buttonhole: it has one square end and one circular end, and it is good for larger buttons since the shape allows it to open a little wider.
  • Stretch Buttonhole: the stitches are more open, thus making it good for stretch fabrics.
  • Knit Buttonhole: this is perfect for knit fabrics.
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Button Stitch

From the name itself, a button stitch setting in your sewing machine means that the stitch goes back and forth through the holes of a button to securely sew it on.

Shell Tuck Stitch

A shell tuck stitch produces a decorative scallop pattern that is known as a picot shell edge. Because of this, this stitch is usually used as a decorative element to the garment as the pattern does add a cute touch to it.

Decorative Stitches

A lot of the times, sewing machines that include digital or manual stitch settings come with a bunch of decorative stitches. Some of the patterns that can be produced from these settings include leaves, vines, scrolls, feathers, hearts, geometric borders, and others. If your sewing machine offers these settings, use them to your heart’s content. These will definitely add something to the clothing of your making.

Satin Stitches

Another way of adding a decorative element to a project, satin stitches are stitches that resemble embroidery. They are unlike regular decorative stitches which have more open stitch patterns. Some of the shapes of satin stitches include triangles, circles, ovals, diamonds, and scallops. Just like the decorative stitches mentioned above, satin stitches will also add a fancy touch to your garment.

The Takeaway

Dressmaking is an art of its own, and just like a lot of art forms, one of the ways to get the best out of your craft is to master the primary art supply that you’re using. For dressmaking, that art supply would be a sewing machine.

A sewing machine may not look much at first glance. After all, it looks like any other machines, perhaps just a little bit smaller. But there’s actually a lot more to sewing machines than what meets the eyes, and as dressmakers, you should be aware of that. You should know all about the settings — the tips and tricks — that your sewing machine has to offer, and you should know how to use all those stitch settings to your advantage. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to become a great dressmaker — to be able to manipulate your own sewing machine.

So, now that you have a list of possible stitch settings that your sewing machine has, get creative. Make use of them. Mix them up together. Get experimental. And before you know it, you have now made the garment that you’ve always wanted to make for a very long time.


Essential Guide to Sewing Machine Stitches

How to Use Different Sewing Machine Stitches to Create a Masterpiece

About the author

Suki Zhang founded LoveFunArt in 2015. She has previous work experience as a Marketing Coordinator and an Art Curator Assistant. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Art Design from Donghua University and completed her postgraduate studies in Marketing Management and Professional Sales from Lambton College.

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