A Satin Stitch Adds Elegant Detail to Quilts and Garments
Satin stitching has always been my favorite decorative machine stitch. I first used it years ago for machine appliqué, but I’ve found it to be a great way to emphasize seams and add some stitched detail as well. A satin stitch is simply a zigzag stitch that’s sewn with a very short stitch length. The result almost looks like binding – especially when you turn your stitch width dial to the max. And most of today’s fantastic new machines have at least a 5mm-width stitch and some take it all the way up to 9mm.
Fabric motifs can be easily appliquéd in place with a satin stitch.
Satin Stitching Tips
Even the most basic techniques require a little know-how, so here are some tips to ensure success and achieve a beautiful satin stitch:
1. Adjust the stitch length so that there’s barely any space between stitches. That will cover the edges of a fabric – if you’re doing appliqué – and give a solid, defined stitch if you’re embellishing the surface of a garment or quilt.
2. Use a presser foot that has a groove on the bottom to accommodate the chunky stitch.
If there’s no room for your nice tight satin stitch to glide under the presser foot, it can bunch up and pretty soon you’ll have a big knot between the foot and the fabric and under the throat plate as well.
A grooved presser foot glides over the stitching and prevents bunching.
3. Adjust the tension so the top thread pulls slightly under the fabric to give that nice rounded look. This means you’ll need to loosen the top tension or tighten the bobbin tension. How you do this depends on your machine, of course. I sew on a Bernina and the bobbin…
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