The Right Stitch

Published: 19th February 2008
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How Do You Choose The Right Stitch And Properly Adjust It? How To Adjust Sewing Machine Stitches?

If you include all the hand stitches, sewing machine utility stitches, sewing machine decorative stitches, serger

stitches, and industrial manufacturing stitches, you have a bunch of stitches. On a moderately priced home sewing

machine you will find twenty to two hundred different stitches plus variations in stitch length and stitch width as

well as stretch factors. A top quality home sewing machine will have eight hundred to a thousand different


There are several distinctly different types of sewing machines and each type uses slightly different systems to

select and form stitches.

Mechanical sewing machines are the least expensive sewing machines and use the most primitive technologies. An AC

electric motor turns a belt which turns the upper sewing machine shaft. The upper shaft transfers the mechanical

energy along the shaft past the cam system to the needle system. A lever on a parabola connection transfers the

mechanical movement down to the lower sewing machine shaft which may be split into a dual lower shaft one to drive

the hook and a second to drive the feed dogs. Stitches are formed in a mechanical machine by aligning cam trackers

(levers that rub against a cam gear with bumps and shallows) with the cam gear so that when the cam gear moved the

tracker lever will bounce back and forth. This movement is then transferred by lever to the needle assembly moving

the needle bar back and forth and up and down to form the desired stitches. The alignment of the cam trackers is

achieved by use of levers, buttons, or dials protruding on the top or face of the sewing machine. The user moves

the stitch selector to the proper position, and the trackers line up to form that stitch. Additional dials or levers

are used to adjust the stitch length and stitch width.

Electronic sewing machines use electronics to control the power drive system and the stitch selection system. Note

many machines are blends of mechanicals and electronic technologies, and others are blends of electronics and

computer technologies. Fully electronic sewing machines use electronic circuits to manage motor output giving the

sewing machine greater torque, increased consistency, and smoother sewing. Stitches are selected with electronic

buttons that control the production of stitches. Electronic sewing machines usually offer more different stitches

and more dependable sewing.

Computerized sewing machines use the most advanced technologies to produce the greatest number of different

stitches, smoothest sewing, and most dependable operations. Computer input is made either by touching buttons on

the computer keypad or a touch screen. The computer takes the signal and manages a set of DC pulse motors to create

and manage stitches. It is common for computerized sewing machines to offer hundreds of different stitches.

To choose a stitch on a mechanical sewing machine turn a dial, move a lever, or press a button. On an electronic

sewing machine, press a button attached to an electronic switch. On a computerized sewing machine, press a button on

the computer keypad or touch the selection on a computerize touch screen.

Three basic types of stitches are used: Utility Stitches, Decorative Stitches, and Button Holes.

Utility Stitches include the straight stitch, the zig zag stitch, the blind hem stitch, stretch stitches, the

overcast stitch, the blanket stitch, and other useful stitches for practical purposes.

Decorative Stitches include many varieties of satin stitches, outline stitches, and specialty stitches.

Button Holes include four step button holes, one step button holes, darning stitches, and eyelet stitches.

What stitches does your sewing machine have?

Take an inventory of your sewing machine. Cut a long piece of test fabric and begin sewing a short row of each

stitch your sewing machine offers. One by one make your way through every stitch your machine offers sew out each

one and adjust the length and width of the stitches to see all the variations you have available. You may be

surprised by what your find. If your sewing machine is a cheap mechanical machine, it may only have straight and

zig zag stitches of various stitch function settings (varied stitch length and/or width). If you have a more

expensive machine you may have twenty, fifty, a hundred, or even hundreds of different stitches.

Make your own stitch set book. Cut your stitch selections into pieces about four inches long. Stack all your

pieces one on top of each other. Sew a seam along one side and keep this stitch set for later reference.

Now you know how to select the various stitches on your sewing machine. You also have a visual example of each


To learn more about which stitch is used for what; get all your sewing answers at sewing answers. Com. Read more

about stitches at

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