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fabric wt and stitch length

prasanna | Posted in General Sewing Info on

How does fabric weight affect choice of stitch length?


  1. rodezzy | | #1

    I found this site that should help answer your question:


    There are several variables involved in choosing stitch length.  I hope this helps.

  2. stillsuesew | | #2

    The thicker the fabric, the longer the stitch length. Test, test, test.

  3. Teaf5 | | #3

    As mentioned, a lot of factors go into stitch length, including fiber, weave, stretch, stress, nap, and purpose.  Generally, the heavier the fabric, the longer the stitch.  Really tiny stitches work well on very light fabrics like batiste but heavily napped fabrics require longer stitches.  However, you might need really tiny stitches on the zipper of a heavy wool jacket or very long ones along the edges of a sheer tablecloth.

    I agree with other posters: experiment!  Use a couple of 8" or bigger swatches and test single layer, double layer, and hemming options.  A few minutes of experimentation save hours of frustration later.

    1. prasanna | | #4

      Thanks! really appreciate it!

  4. jjgg | | #5

    Imagine sewing denim or canvas - really heavy bulky fabrics, now think of it with a tiny short stitch, you would also use a heavier thread for the heavier fabric, is you had tiny stiches with the heavy thread, it would all be too bulky.Now think of sheer lightweight silky charmeuse. If you used the heavy thread above, and long stitches, it would just pull the fabric and scrunch it up.(unless you had a very loose thread tension). Think of the charmeuse again with a fine thin thread, a short stitch, it sews very nicely. The denim would just pull apart if you used the thin thread.

  5. decoratrice | | #6

    Don't forget to adjust the needle size accordint to the fabric weight--a too-large needle can ruin a lightweight fabric, whatever the stitch length.  I always consult Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide for recommendations, then test.

    1. jjgg | | #7

      As well as the above about needle size, you need to match the needle size (and type) to the thread.

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