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Zig-Zag Stitch

Zig-Zag Stitch

The Zig-Zag Stitch is a very versatile stitch.  Use it for seam finishing, applique, bartacks, satin stitching and more.  For some sewing techniques with this stitch, it can be helpful to use a Satin Stitch Foot to help prevent the fabric from puckering.

 

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Applications


Seam Finishing

The zigzag stitch can be used as a seam finish to help prevent fabric edges from unraveling.  Select a medium stitch length and width - using a width that is too wide can cause the fabric edge to tunnel under the presser foot.

Zigzag Stitch Seam Finishing

 

Applique

The most popular stitch for machine applique is the satin stitch, created using a zigzag stitch.  The stitches are sewn around the edge of the applique to attach it to the main fabric.  The right movement of the needle sews just off the edge of the applique, and the left movement of the needle sews into the applique.  It will take some experimenting on scrap fabric to find the exact settings you want for your applique.  Set the width at a medium setting to start, and adjust from there.  The stitch length setting should be short enough so that you don't see fabric between the stitches, but not so short that the stitches don't feed under the foot.  Use a Satin Stitch Foot (optional accessory for some machine models), which has a groove on the bottom to allow dense stitching to pass freely underneath. 

Zigzag Stitch Applique

 

Couching

Create interesting surface embellishment using the zigzag stitch to sew over lightweight cords or yarns. If your machine has adjustable stitch width and stitch length, choose a stitch width setting that is wide enough to cover the cord, without actually stitching into the cord. Choose a stitch length setting that is long enough to see the cord without covering it up. It can be helpful to use an Open Toe Foot (additional accessory for some machine models), which provides a clear area in front of the needle as you sew. Use a slow speed and take your time for maximum control.

Zig Zag Stitch - Couching

 

Decorative Stitching

Sew the zigzag stitch to create texture in fabric. Experiment with various thread types and colors. If your machine has adjustable stitch length and stitch width, try different settings to customize the look you want for your project. For denser stitches such as when sewing a satin stitch, use a Satin Stitch Foot (additional accessory for some machine models). If using thicker threads such as 12wt cotton, use a larger size needle so that the thread passes freely through it. It is recommended to use a stabilizer underneath the fabric to help support the stitches.

Zig Zag Stitch - Decorative Stitching

 

Attaching Trims

Use the zigzag stitch to sew over ribbons and trims. It's an easy way to embellish projects. Set the zigzag width based on the width of the ribbon. If your machine has adjustable stitch length, the stitch length should be set at a fairly long setting so the ribbon is visible between the stitches. It is helpful to use an Open Toe Foot (additional accessory for some machine models), which provides a clear view of the sewing area.

Zig Zag Stitch - Attaching Trim

 

Sewing on Buttons

Use the zigzag stitch to attach buttons. Disengage or cover the machine's feed teeth (see your machine manual). It is helpful to use the Button Sewing Foot (additional accessory for some machine models) which helps hold the button securely and provides a clearer view of the stitching area than does the All-Purpose Foot. Place the button on the fabric underneath the foot. Set the machine for a zigzag stitch. Turn the handwheel toward you slowly to check that the left and right movement of the needle clears the button's holes. If the needle doesn't clear both holes, adjust stitch width (if your machine has adjustable stitch width) accordingly until it does. Sew several stitches to attach button. Bring thread tails to back of fabric and tie to secure. For more information, see this video.

Zigzag Stitch - Sewing on Buttons

 

Elastic Insertion

Insert elastic easliy with the zigzag stitch. For elastic that is 1/4" - 3/8" wide, place the elastic though the opening of the All-Purpose Foot. This will help keep the elastic from slipping from left to right as you sew. Hold the elastic from in front and in back of the presser foot, stretching the elastic as you do so.

ZIGZAG STITCH - ELASTIC INSERTION

 

Gathering

For some fabrics, gathering can be a challenge. Try using your machine's zigzag stitch to create a "casing" over a cord. Place a knot at one end of the cord. For machines with adjustable stitch width, select a width setting that is wide enough to cover the cord, but not actually stitch the cord itself. If the machine has adjustable stitch length, select a fairly long stitch length setting. It is helpful to use a Cording Foot (additional accessory for some machine models), which has a groove to guide the cord easily as you stitch the zigzag. When stitching is done, pull the cord to gather the fabric. See a demonstration of this technique in this Cording Foot video.

Zigzag Stitch - Gathering

 

Free-Motion Monograms

Create monograms in any size or style by moving your fabric in free-motion mode. To set the machine for free-motion monograms, 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 (additional accessory for some machine models). Select the zigzag stitch. Place a piece of stabilizer underneath the fabric to give the stitches added support. It may be helpful to draw your monogram on the main fabric using a removable fabric marker, to help guide you. Move the layers together manually as you stitch. For more information on free-motion sewing, see this video.
 

Zigzag Stitch - Free Motion Monograms

 

Thread Painting

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 (additional accessory for some machine models). Select the zigzag stitch. For machine models with adjustable stitch width, adjust the stitch width as desired for your project. Place batting or stabilizer under the fabric. Move the layers together manually as you stitch. For more information on thread painting and free-motion sewing, see this video.


Thread Painting

 

Roll & Whip Heirloom Hems

Heirloom sewing incorporates several different techniques, and one of these techniques is the Roll & Whip Hem, done using a zigzag stitch. This hem works on fine, lightweight fabrics like batiste. Thread the machine with lightweight thread. A size 9/70 or 11/80 needle (additional accessory for some machine models) is recommended. Set the machine for zigzag stitch. For machines with adjustable stitch length and stitch width, use with a width setting of at least 5.0mm and a length setting of approximately 2.0mm. Use an Open Toe Foot (additional accessory for some machine models) so that the area in front of the needle is unobstructed. Position the fabric so the right movement of the zigzag goes off the edge of the fabric. As the stitch then moves to the left, it "rolls" the fabric over, stitching it in place.

Zigzag Stitch - Roll & Whip Heirloom Hems

 

Attaching Hook Closures

Use the zigzag stitch to attach some larger sizes or styles of hook and eye closures. Disengage or cover the machine's feed teeth (see your machine manual). Select the zigzag stitch. For sewing larger sized hook & eye closures, attach the Button Sewing Foot (additional accessory for some machine models) which helps hold each side of the closure securely and provides a clearer view of the stitching area than does the All-Purpose Foot. Place the closure piece on the fabric underneath the foot. Turn the handwheel toward you slowly to check that the left and right movement of the needle clears the closure piece. If the needle doesn't clear both holes, adjust stitch width (if your machine has adjustable stitch width) accordingly until it does. Sew several stitches to attach. Bring thread tails to back of fabric and tie to secure.

Attaching Hook Closures

 

Hemstitching

Hemstitching is a sewing techique used to create delicate heirloom hems. Sew beautiful hemstitching using a simple zigzag stitch and a SINGER size 90 Wing Needle (additional accessory for some machine models). For machines with adjustable stitch length and stitch width, set the stitch width at 3.0mm and the stitch length at 2.0mm. Turn up the hem allowance and sew, catching the raw edge of the hem as you go. The needle will make small holes in the fabric, creating a delicate finish. Best results come when sewing organdy, organza or batiste. A fabric spray starch can make fabrics easier to manage, as well.

 

 

Lettuce Edging

Sew a zigzag stitch to create a "wavy" hem, sometimes called a "lettuce edge". This technique is for stretch knit fabrics such as t-shirt or jersey. Set the machine for the zigzag stitch. For machines with adjustable stitch length and stitch width, select a medium stitch length and stitch width setting. Sew along the raw edge of the fabric, stretching the fabric from both front and back as you go. When you release the fabric, the result is a wavy, curly edge.

Lettuce Edging

 

Attaching Lace

Heirloom sewing incorporates several different techniques, and one is to attach lace using a zigzag stitch. This works on fine, lightweight fabrics like batiste and lace that has a flat edge on one side. Thread the machine with lightweight thread. A size 9/70 or 11/80 needle (additional accessory for some machine models) is recommended. Set the machine for zigzag stitch. For machines with adjustable stitch length and stitch width, select a width setting of at least 5.0mm and a length setting of approximately 2.0mm. Use an Open Toe Foot (additional accessory for some machine modeles) so that the area in front of the needle is unobstructed. Position the lace on top of the fabric about 1/8" to the left of the fabric edge, then position this so the right movement of the zigzag goes off the edge of the fabric and the left movement catches the flat edge of the lace. As the stitch then moves to the left, it "rolls" the fabric over, stitching it to the lace.

Attaching Lace

 

Edge Joining

Two fabrics can be joined together using a zigzag stitch. First, turn under and press the edge of both fabrics. An Edge Joining Foot (additional accessory for some machine models) can be used a a guide for the fabrics. Place the folded edges next to each other, one on each side of the foot's center guide, and place a piece of lightweight stabilizer underneath the area where they join. Select the zigzag stitch. For machines with adjustable stitch length and stitch width, select the length and width setting you want for your project. Sew across the area where the fabrics join, so the left movement of the needle sews on the left fabric, and the right movement of the needle sews on the right fabric. Remove the stabilizer when finished. Try using a topstitching thread and Topstitching Needle (additional accessory for some machine models) for a bolder appearance to the stitches.

Edge Joining