Christine Carson | Date posted: May 5th, 2011
Some sewing machines have technology that rival a space shuttle, but regardless of the machine you use, understanding stitch length is an important part of machine sewing.
How stitch adjustment works: The stitch width adjustment determines how far from side to side the needle moves during a stitch and the stitch length adjustment controls the feed dog or the length of the stitch. This is the machine’s component that controls how much fabric is fed under the presser foot before the needle lowers to make the next stitch.
Long stitches have more fabric pass under the presser foot between stitches while shorter stitches have less fabric passing resulting in a shorter stitch length.
Stitch measurements: Depending on your machine, stitch length is either measured in millimeters (mm) or in stiches per inch (spi). A typical stitch length setting for a straight stitch on a mid-weight fabric would be between 2.5 to 3 mm and 10 to 12 spi. Typically lightweights are set in the 2 mm range and heavier fabrics use the 4 mm range.
Consider sewing a test swatch from your project fabric before beginning so you can fine-tune the adjustment to your machine. If you find that your fabric is puckering, try increasing the stitch length-often this will solve puckering issues. If you are basting use the machine’s longest setting—since these stitches are intended to be temporary and the long stitch is easy to remove.
You can also gather and ruffle fabric using a very long basting stitch. To do this, sew two rows about 1/4 inch apart. Tie off the thread at one end and securely hold the top unsecured thread while gently adjusting the fabric. After it is sewn in place, the basting stiches can be removed. Voilà!
TAGS: Sewing Machine
Sewing has always been a part of Christine's life, One of her earliest & fondest memories is that of her mother sewing in the family room. Christine started making doll clothes by hand at a...