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The Straight Stitch is the basic stitch that is used for sewing. The most common use for a straight stitch is to sew two pieces of fabric together. The Straight Stitch can also be sewn a few stitches in reverse at the beginning and end of a seam to secure the seam ends.
The most common use for the straight stitch is for joining fabrics together with a seam. The machine needle plate has a series of etched markings to the right of the presser foot which serve as guidelines for various widths of seam allowances when sewing with the needle in center position. Line up the raw edges of the fabric with the desired seam allowance guideline to sew a seam.
Quilt piecing is done using a 1/4" seam allowance. It is helpful to use a Quarter Inch Foot (may be optional purchase for some machine models). After sewing, press seams toward the darker of the two fabrics, to help prevent the seam allowance from being visible on the top side of the quilt.
Topstitching is a line of straight stitching on the outside of a garment or project, usually as a decorative embellishment.. Set the machine for straight stitch, with a stitch length of 3 to 3.5mm. Use a SINGER Topstitching Needle, size 90/14 for medium weight fabrics, or a SINGER Topstitching needle, size 100/16 for heavier fabrics. Sew 1/4" - 3/8" from the edge of the fabric. A Topstitching Needle has a longer eye to accommodate thicker threads, such as topstitching thread which gives the stitches a bolder look.
Edge-Stitching can be used to add stability to projects like tote bags, or it can be used simply as a decorative embellishment. Set the machine for straight stitch. Sew approximately 1/8" from the edge of the fabric.
Basting stitches are used to temporarily hold fabrics together, for example, when you want to check the fit of a garment before sewing the actual seam. To set the machine for basting, select straight stitch with the longest stitch length setting. It is helpful to also slightly reduce the upper thread tension as well (this makes it easier to remove the temporary basting stitches later). Sew the row of basting stitches, and check the fit of the garment. When satisfied with fit, adjust the stitch length setting as needed for the project, and be sure to put the upper thread tension back to its original position. Sew the permanent seam. Remove the temporary basting stitches.
The basic straight stitch can be used to embellish fabrics. Experiment with various thread types to create your own unique design. It can be helpful to draw stitch guidelines on the fabric with a removable fabric marking tool, but make sure to use a fabric marker that is appropriate for the type of fabric being sewn.
Free-motion quilting means stitching together a backing fabric, batting, and top fabric, and the straight stitch is used to sew decorative designs as the layers are quilted together. To set the machine for free-motion quilting, first disengage or cover the machine's feed teeth (see your machine's manual for details). Remove the presser foot and presser foot holder. Attach the Darning / Embroidery Foot (may be optional accessory for some machine models). Select straight stitch. Move the fabric layers together manually as you stitch. For more information on free-motion sewing, see this video.
Thread painting is a type of free-motion sewing. Multiple thread colors can be layered to create colorful images. To set the machine for thread painting, first disengage or cover the machine's feed teeth (see your machine's manual for details). Remove the presser foot and presser foot holder. Attach the Darning / Embroidery Foot (may be optional accessory for some machine models). Select straight stitch. Place stabilizer or batting underneath the fabric. Move the layers together manually as you stitch. For more information on thread painting and free-motion sewing, see this video.
Create dimension in quilt layers by sewing several rows of stitches spaced apart. Use an Even Feed / Walking Foot (optional accessory for some machine models), which will help prevent the quilt layers from shifting as you sew.
Echo quilting is sometimes called 'outline quilting'. This is done by following around the shape of an applique, a design printed in the fabric itself, or perhaps even an embroidery on the fabric. Set the machine for straight stitch. The thread color can either match the fabric, or it can be a contrast color, depending on the look you want. Sew the desired number of "rows" around the design to create interesting texture.
Attach ribbons and trims to embellish fabrics. To attach a ribbon or trim, set the machine for straight stitch. When stitching wider trims or those that tend to shift on top of the fabric while sewing, it can be helpful to use a fusible basting tape to hold it in place.
Raw Edge Applique
Raw edge applique is one of the simplest ways to do machine applique, providing an organic appearance. First adhere the applique to the base fabric with fusible web. Stitch around the applique with a straight stitch, approximately 1/8" from its raw edge. Note: It can be helpful to use an Open Toe Foot (optional accessory for some machine models) so you have a more clear view of the stitching area.
Twin Needle Pintucks
Pintucks are used for texture on lightweight fabrics such as batiste. To create pintucks, set machine for straight stitch. Insert a SINGER Universal Twin Needle 1.6mm or 2.0mm. For best results, use a Pintuck Foot (optional accessory for some models). Place one thread spool on the main spool pin, and a second spool of thread on the auxiliary spool pin, with threads unreeling in opposite directions so they don't tangle while sewing. Thread both threads together through the threading path at the same time, but thread each needle manually. Increase needle thread tension for more enhanced tucks. Here is a video for the Pintuck Foot, which includes twin needle pintuck stitching.
Twin Needle Hems
Twin needle hems provide a professional finish to garments. The top side has two parallel rows of straight stitching, connected with a zigzag on the back side. Twin needles come in many of sizes, so choose one that provides the look you want for your project. Place one thread spool on the main spool pin, and a second spool of thread on the auxiliary spool pin, with threads unreeling in opposite directions so they don't tangle while sewing. Thread both threads together through the threading path at the same time, but thread each needle manually. Turn the hem up and stitch from the top side, catching the raw edge as you sew.
Gathering takes a longer piece of fabric and shortens it by creating a series of small folds, used to create fullness. Gathers can be created various ways. For medium weight fabrics, set the machine for straight stitch with a long length setting, and then reduce the upper thread tension. Sew one row of stitches just inside the seam guide line, then sew another row about 1/8" next to that inside the seam allowance. Pull the bobbin threads to gather the fabric. For lightweight fabrics, use this same method, or use a Gathering Foot. For more information about the Gathering Foot, see this video.
Pleating is creating a series of consistently sized folds in fabric, creating fullness. Use the straight stitch, along with a Ruffler (may be an optional accessory for some models) to sew evenly spaced pleats. Instead of manually pressing and basting the pleats individually, the Ruffler does all the work for you. See how to use the Ruffler to achieve various types of pleats and gathers in this video.
The main types of zipper insertion are the centered zipper, the lapped zipper and the fly front zipper. All these methods are done using the basic Zipper Foot (optional accessory for some machine models). There is another zipper insertion method called the invisible zipper, for which an Invisible Zipper Foot is used. See this video for using the basic Zipper Foot (optional accessory for some machine models), and this video for how to use the Invisible Zipper Foot.
There are times you may want to create your own piping, particularly if you want a specific color for your project. Cut a fabric strip wide enough to wrap around the cord as well as provide ample seam allowance. The fabric strip should be cut on the bias, which will make it easy to insert the piping at corners and curves without puckering. Set the machine for straight stitch, with a stitch length about 2.5mm. Use a Zipper Foot to help sew closer to the piping. There is a demonstration of this in our Zipper Foot video.
Piping can be used in home decor, fashion and accessory sewing, and more. It can be purchased pre-made in packages, or you can make it yourself. To insert piping, sandwich the piping between the fabric layers, with the bulk of the piping on the left side. It may be helpful to baste the layers together before stitching them at the machine. Set the machine for straight stitch and attach the Zipper Foot. There is a demonstration of this in our Zipper Foot video.
Very narrow hems can be stitched at the edge of light to medium weight fabrics using a Narrow Hem Foot, sometimes called a Rolled Hem Foot. This foot has a small scroll in front that feeds the fabric while the machines sews a straight stitch to secure the hem in place. See this video for information on using the Narrow/Rolled Hem Foot (may be optional accessory for some machine models).
Sew simple hems using a straight stitch. The stitches will be seen on both the top side and back side of your project. Use a thread that matches the fabric for a hem that is less noticeable, or choose a contrasting thread for a bold appearance.
Understitching is used to help prevent a waistline or neckline facing from rolling to the outside. Set the machine for straight stitch. Sew though the facing and seam allowance only. The understitching will not be visible from the outside of the project.
Sleeves, necklines, and princess seams are curved and can become distorted and difficult to join to the rest of the garment. Stay-stitching is used to help stabilize fabric by preventing stretching and distortion. Set the machine for straight stitch, with a stitch length of approximately 2-2.5mm. Sew, just inside the seam allowance.
Small holes or tears in fabric can be repaired using a Darning / Embroidery Foot (optional accessory for some machine models) and the straight stitch. Place a small piece of fabric behind the area to be repaired. Set the machine for straigth stitch, cover or disengage the feed teeth (check your machine manual), and thread the machine with a color that blends well with the fabric. Manually move the fabric in a back-and-forth motion as you step on the foot control. There is a demonstration of darning in our Darning/Embroidery Foot video.