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Different Sewing Machine Stitches

Most sewing machines offer a large variety of stitch types. Computerised machines are capable of sewing a multitude of stitches. Icons or symbols represent different stitch patterns. Whether your machine is a basic model or a more advanced computerised machine, try experimenting with all the different stitches your machine can do.

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Straight Stitch

The straight stitch is the most basic of all sewing machine stitches. It consists of a single line of thread and can vary in stitch length. Use this stitch for seaming, topstitching, basting, and gathering. Sew the straight stitch in reverse to anchor the beginning and end of a seam.

Zigzag and Three-step Zigzag

The zigzag stitch is available on most sewing machines. The zigzag is a variation of the straight stitch, but looks like a running letter ‘Z’. Use the zigzag for stitching around appliqués, embroidery and buttons. The zigzag stitch can sometimes cause fabric to pucker, so use the three-step zigzag stitch to correct this problem. This stitch is also useful for finishing raw edges, sewing on elastic and mending rips in fabric.

Blind Hem and Stretch Blind Hem

Use the blind hem stitch to hem woven fabric. The stitches are almost invisible on the right side of the fabric. The stretch blind hem stitch stretches invisibly to hem knit fabrics. Both of these stitches also have decorative uses.

Overlock Stitch

In just one step, you can stitch and finish seams with an overlock stitch. These stitches work well on either knit or woven fabrics.

Blanket Stitch

This stitch is useful for sewing the edges of blankets and other fabric. The machine stitches along the very edge of the blanket in a looping pattern.


The buttonhole setting automatically stitches around a hole in the fabric for a button. This stitch seals the fabric and keeps it from fraying.

Decorative and Embroidery

Decorative stitches are either open or closed. Examples of closed stitches are the ball or diamond where the stitches are very close together. Examples of open type stitches are the honeycomb or daisy. Use these stitches for decorative purposes and not in garment construction. Computerised machines have a wide variety of decorative stitches available, including the embroidering of letters.

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About the Author

Megan Allen

Megan Allen is an experienced freelance writer with a B.A. degree in English. She has several years of expertise in the following subjects: interior design, home improvement, crafting and genealogy, and has published articles online at eHow.

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