Most of today’s sewing machines come with a variety of stitches — from 1 straight stitch to 800 or more! It’s kind of like “chocolate and vanilla” – everyone likes something different.
I want to entice you to spread your wings and consider enjoying your hobby a lot more, if you have not already done so. You may not realize what time savers some of the stitches can be or just how easy and enjoyable they are when working on a project.
There are many “utility” stitches built into most machines. These are the stitches that you will use in straight stitching, as in stitching your seams together. Sewing machine manufacturers today have created a variety of stitches and presser feet that take much of what used to be a frustrating step in sewing and turned it into something easy and enjoyable.
I recommend that when you purchase a machine you take any classes offered to teach you all about your new purchase. Like many other electronics and appliances we purchase, some of us don’t spend much time reading the directions, or learning about our new toys. Many times I have discovered that my computer, phone, TV, or sewing machine, etc., has features I never knew they had until months, sometimes years later. (Possibly, never!)
BLIND HEM STITCH
There is a fantastic utility stitch many are not aware of that will absolutely save so much time when sewing. If you haven’t tried it yet, I challenge you to do so as soon as you can. The stitch is the blind hem stitch. For many years I was intimidated by this stitch because I didn’t spend enough time learning how to do it. Had I known that spending a few minutes, even an hour, learning how to use this stitch would save me hours and hours of time and frustration, I would not hesitate again. I would look at the diagram of how to pin and fold the fabric back and just couldn’t make sense out of it. So, I gave up!
Take a little time now and then to get your instruction manual out, or view a tutorial on your sewing computer screen. Learn how to use these stitches and the presser feet that came with your machine. You will so enjoy your sewing and crafting projects without all the frustration. I sew for a living. Many people can’t understand why I love it so much. They also don’t understand why sewing calms me. The main reason is because I have made it a point to learn how to use the presser feet and the stitches on my machine which eliminate so much of the frustration and seam ripping!
POPULAR UTILITY STITCHES:
- Straight Stitch – for regular sewing of straight seams
- Zig Zag Stitch – for finishing edges, for sewing on narrow elastic, for stitching on stretch fabrics
- Basting Stitch – for basting by machine instead of basting by hand – so much faster!
- Blind Hem Stitch – for machine stitching a blind hem – quick and easy
- Darning Stitch – for mending holes – save all those favorite jeans – mend the holes – maybe that’s why the latest trend is wearing holes in jeans – no one knew they could be mended!
- Button Sew On Stitch – Can’t live without this one! – Holds the button in place and sews it on in a matter of seconds
Some stitches give a project a hand-sewn look. Now let’s look at some of the heirloom stitches and what beautiful projects can be created with them:
- A blanket stitch can be used for appliqué or edging around a baby blanket
- A feather stitch can be used on quilts or top stitching on pieced garments
- Laces and Trims can be sewing together
The lace shaping in this picture shows a beautiful pin stitch,done here with a wing needed for this effect. You can also see pin stitching along the hem of the little dress.
Take a look at the Brother HC 1850 showing some of the stitches that can be used for heirloom stitching. The Parisian Hem Stitch is #12. The feather stitch is #19. The Herringbone stitch is #30. These are just a few of the stitches that can be used in making beautiful heirloom projects. You can even use them for a pretty blouse or sleeve hem — along the edge of a collar. Just have fun experimenting!
Take a look at all those stitch choices on the HC 1850. If you have not experimented with all the stitches on your machine, let me encourage you to do so.
Next time you sit down to browse through a magazine, pick up your sewing machine manual instead and read about the available stitches and just how much you can do with them. And then, one day, treat yourself to a “stitch play day”. Grab some of those scraps lying around and experiment with those wonderful stitches. Try two or three side by side or two, facing each other. Use pretty multicolor threads. Before long, you’ll be looking for places to use these stitches.
Beautiful decorative stitches can be used to create borders on sleeves, hems, collars and much more. When sewing decorative stitches you may need to use stabilizer to help to keep the fabric firm. It’s especially important when using thin or difficult fabrics. This will give you a distinct, beautifully detailed stitch. You can practice on different types of fabrics before stitching on your actual project, just remember to use scraps! There are also so many beautiful threads on the market today and adding bling or embellishments to ready made clothing is here to stay!
Want to try a fun and easy project? The BOOKKEEPER was designed for Moda Bake Shop by Kim Walus. It was designed to hold a Kindle but can also hold any paperback book that measures less than 9 ” x 6″ and isn’t too thick. It could also be used as a handy little purse or sewing pouch. You could even throw in your make-up for an overnight quilt retreat.
Moda Honey Buns
The Bookkeeper was put together using Moda Pre-cuts called Honey Buns. Honey Buns are collections of 1.5″ x 44″ strips of fabric. Made by Moda Fabrics, they are available for select collections and are especially helpful for the tiniest cuts in quilting. Honey Buns usually include 40 strips of fabric and are a narrower version of a Jelly Roll. In this particular project the designer uses Mary Englebreits Baskets of Flowers pre-cuts collection.
Carol Ahles book Fine Machine Sewing is beautifully done. It has a great many pictures showing how to do heirloom sewing on your sewing machine. There are step by step instructions, along with pictures showing how to use your stitches. Carol also explains about the types of needles and thread to use in giving your projects a hand finished look.