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How-to

Essential Techniques: Utility Stitch Guide

Threads #203, June/July 2019
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When I set out to write about utility stitches, I fell down the proverbial rabbit hole. There are two fundamental utility stitches: the straight stitch and the zigzag. Those two stitches pair up to present wonderful possibilities by stepping forward, backward, and sideways at different lengths, widths, and angles to offer you hundreds of options to improve your sewing.

The icon used to identify a stitch on the machine or in its manual is not always consistent among manufacturers. Some stitches don’t resemble their icon, so you’ll need to test stitches to find out how they really look when sewn. Machines have a default setting for each utility stitch that determines the tension, stitch length, and width. The default setting may not be your favorite version. Experiment to find your preferences. The needle and presser foot used, as well as the thread fiber and weight, make a huge difference in how a stitch performs. Stitch out samples with default and adjusted settings and keep a record of your work so it is easy to repeat.

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