Every sewing machine has a selection of stitches from which to choose. Some machines have just a few, and some have many, many more! Regardless of the number of stitches your machine has, it can be very useful to make yourself a “stitch-out” of all the stitches, so that you can see what they look like when actually sewn. It’s a fun way to get familiar with your machine, too!
Depending on your machine model, stitches may be displayed on a dial, on the body of the machine itself, on an LCD display, as well as in the manual. It may, however, be difficult to imagine what the stitches will look like when sewn out – let alone deciding on what project you would like to use them! That’s where your “stitch-out” can really come in handy.
If you are fairly new to sewing, you may not fully realize that by simply altering the length and width of stitches, you have almost unending possibilities for how your stitches can look!
Changing Length: The distance between each stitch changes, making the row of stitching appear more or less dense.
Changing Width: The size of the stitch pattern changes from side to side, so that the row of stitching appears narrower or wider.
To prepare your fabric for this type of decorative stitching, add a fabric interfacing to the back side of the fabric. You may also want to use a tear-away stabilizer when you sew, which will give the fabric added stability for sewing some of the more dense stitch patterns. We often use a 30wt cotton thread when sewing out the stitches, which helps make stitches stand out more prominently on your fabric. Use all-purpose thread or bobbinfil in the bobbin, and a SINGER Regular Point Needle in size 14.
You can even try your stitches with a twin needle, which opens up all sorts of new possibilities! Space them apart to create fabric texture, or sew the rows of stitching closer together to make border designs.
You might want to mark the fabric itself, or attach notes to the fabric, to record what your machine’s settings were for each stitch. That way, if you want to repeat the look of that stitch for a future project, you’ll know exactly what to do! It’s a great time saver, too.
Have fun as you re-discover your machine and get to know your stitches!