Stitch Length: everything you need to know
Stitch length isn’t something you think about when you first start sewing, but as you progress, you’ll want to vary the length of your stitches to suit your fabric and the purpose of your stitch. Here’s everything you need to know about stitch length.
What is stitch length?
Changing the stitch length adjusts the feed dogs, which control how much fabric is pulled through with each stitch; for a shorter stitch, less fabric is pulled through; for a longer stitch, more fabric is pulled through.
What do the numbers on stitch length control indicate?
The length of a single stitch on most modern sewing machines is measured in millimetres; a length of 3.0 indicates that each stitch is 3mm long (or just under 1/8u2033). Stitch lengths typically range from 0 to 5, but can be as high as 7.
Why change the length of your stitches?
A longer stitch is faster to sew and easier to remove (if needed) for basting; a shorter stitch results in a stronger seam, but a shorter stitch can shred some fabrics! If you’re using a seam ripper, you don’t want stitches that are too small!
How to adjust stitch length
On a basic sewing machine, you select the stitch with the appropriate length, and the length is fixed for each stitch; on a computerized machine, there are either buttons to press to increase and decrease the length of the stitch, or a selection somewhere on the touch screen to increase and decrease the length of the stitch.
What stitch length should I use?
Here are some guidelines to help you decide. The length of the stitching is determined by moving the fabric under the needle by hand; for free motion quilting, the stitch length may be set to zero and the feed dogs dropped.
How do you increase stitch length on a sewing machine?
Changing the stitch length (on models that have a stitch length dial)
- Turn the handwheel counterclockwise toward you to raise the needle so that the mark on the wheel points up.
- Adjust the stitch length dial to the stitch length you want to sew.
What is a long stitch on a sewing machine?
The stitch length control on most modern sewing machines indicates the length of a single stitch in millimetres; for example, a stitch length of 3.0 indicates that each stitch is 3mm long (or just under 1/8u2032u2032). Stitch lengths typically range from 0 to 5, but can be as high as 7, depending on the machine.
What length of stitch is used for most fabric?
The average stitch length for medium-weight fabrics is 2.5 to 3 mm/10 to 12 spi, while the long stitch length range for basting and topstitching is 4 to 5 mm. According to Stitches for Dummies, the average stitch length for mid-weight fabrics is 2.5 to 3 mm/10 to 12 spi.
How is stitch length calculated?
For rib and interlock fabrics, mark 50 wales with a pen, then open the course and measure the length in cm scale, then divide this data by 10 millimetres and measure stitch length. For (1×1) rib fabrics, measure 50 wales length in same course 25.5 cm, then divide this data by 10 millimetres and measure stitch length.
What is a normal stitch length?
The average stitch length is 2.5mm, which is the standard setting on newer sewing machines. Older machines usually have a range of 4 to 60 stitches per inch, so 2.5mm is roughly 10-12 stitches per inch. The smaller the stitch length number, the smaller the stitch.
What tension should my sewing machine be on?
So we’ll just talk about the top thread tension because that’s where you’d usually make the adjustments: the dial settings range from 0 to 9, with 4.5 being the ‘default’ setting for normal straight-stitch sewing and most fabrics.
What does a straight stitch look like?
Straight Stitch When done correctly, your stitch should look like the one in the middle; the one on the left is too tight, causing the fabric to pucker, and the one on the right is too loose, causing the stitches to loop.
Why won’t my sewing machine sew straight?
Also, double-check that your bobbin is in the correct position (not backwards) and that your machine’s upper tension disks are threaded correctly, as well as that the presser foot is up when seating the thread through the upper tension. If the timing is off, the needle thread will not meet the bobbin thread in time to form a stitch.
What is the best stitch length for machine piecing?
When I’m doing patchwork or piecing my quilt top together, I usually set my machine to 2.5 millimeter stitch length, or approximately twelve stitches per inch.
What is the best stitch length for free motion quilting?
Yes, set your stitch length to ‘0’ for free motion quilting. That way, your feed dogs won’t move while you’re quilting because you don’t need them, resulting in less wear and tear on those parts.
How long can a straight stitch be?
When sewing seams, use a straight stitch 2mm to 2.5mm long, depending on the fabric; a shorter stitch length is used on lightweight fabrics that tend to pucker. On most machines, the straight stitch length can be adjusted from zero (stitching in one place without moving the fabric) to up to 6mm long.
What stitch length should I use for quilting?
If you’re new to quilting, the recommended stitch length for machine quilting is 2.5 to 3.0, which translates to 8 to 12 stitches per inch.
How do you calculate stitches per inch?
The formula is as follows: 25.4 divided by the stitch’s metric length, such as 2.5, equals the number of stitches per inch. For example, to calculate the number of stitches per inch for a 2.5 metric setting, divide 25.4 by 2.5 = 10.16 stitches per inch.
What is course per inch?
The horizontal row of loops or stitches that runs across the width of a knitted fabric and corresponds to the course of a knitted fabric; course per inch (CPI) refers to the number of course in an inch of knitted fabric.