Most pattern makers you find today will allow you to change the size of stitches. It doesn’t matter whether they are zigzag or straight stitches.
People, in old times, only had one set, and they couldn’t alter the sizes unless they were stitching by hand.
This guide will offer you all the necessary information you need. It isn’t hard to change your stitch sizes in pattern makers.
How to Change Stitch Size in Pattern Maker?
Straight and zigzag stitches are essential ones. You will be using these two stitches more often.
They can make binding and decorative stitches too. You need to be familiar with the pattern maker you are using first.
Using a Pattern Maker
Once you know how to spot all aspects of the maker, you can learn how to adjust your stitches.
Then, you will know the effects of each change on what you will sew. Besides adjusting the stitch length, these makers allow you to adjust the width.
The two will affect your stitch in various ways. When we talk about a straight stitch, we mean the standard utility stitch we use for most of our sewing projects.
Most people love it on seams unless they need stitches that stretch. Changing the stitch size will revolve around a few alterations.
It will either be on the length, width, or both sides.
1. A Straight Stitch Length
When using a straight stitch to sew, you will make the most specific change on the length. Altering the stitch lengths eliminates puckered seams.
It also changes the general look of your stitch. If you set your stitch length to be the smallest, you will be sewing lock stitches.
Using lock stitches is a good way of anchoring your stitches. You can do this without having to add back stitches to whatever you are sewing.
2. A Straight Stitch Width
It is possible to change the width of your stitch on a pattern maker. You won’t affect the width on a straight stitch as the stitch will make a straight line.
The setting of the width will alter the needle’s position. You can then use different guides on the pattern maker.
Thus, it gives you total control of where your stitches land. You can adjust your needle’s position to the center, right, or left on most machines.
Others allow the user to set their stitch widths in small intervals. A pattern maker with more adjustments gives you as much control as possible.
You will know how and where to place your stitches. For instance, if you alter the interval, you make a more tapered line.
3. Adjusting the Tension
You have to adjust your machine’s tension if you want your stitch appearance to be smoother. Straight stitches won’t stretch even when using stretchy fabric to sew.
Also, if you stretch the fabric when sewing, the resultant stitches won’t be stretchy.
As a result, you will get a messy and puckered stitch. Each pattern maker is different.
You have to refer to the guide and confirm the correct method of adjusting the tension. Besides, it will be great to practice using scrap fabric.
It will allow you to be familiar with the effects. After that, you can proceed with your project fabric.
How to Change the Stitch Size of Zigzag Stitches in Pattern Maker?
Most people use zigzag stitches when finishing seams or making stretchy stitches. Any adjustments you make to the width or length of a zigzag stitch will alter its appearance.
The changes will be more in a zigzag stitch than they would be in a straight stitch.
1. A Zigzag Stitch Width
The width of a zigzag stitch sets the needle’s swing. It is unlike what happens in a straight stitch.
Also, it doesn’t change the needle’s position. Adjusting your zigzag stitch’s width affects how wide it will be.
If you are using the zigzag stitch on seam finishes, it will impact how your fabric will lay. You will also be catching the right amount of fibers to give a more durable finish on the seams.
Besides, if you are using it on stretch stitches, go for narrower zigzag stitches. Slight alterations that increase the widths from straight stitches to zigzag stitches aren’t destructive.
They allow your stitches to stretch together with the fabric. You will be straight sewing seams too.
2. A Zigzag Stitch Length
Any change in the length of zigzag stitches will look like they are affecting widths too. But, that is not the case.
If you set a shorter stitch length, you will create bar tacks. The longer stitch lengths can make zigzag stitches look like straight stitches.
It is very crucial to make test scraps if you are making zigzag stitches. Testing on scraps is good.
It allows the designer to get a clear look at how the stitches will appear with the adjustments. They can then know if they have perfect lengths and widths or need to look for alternatives.
As you test on sample fabrics, it is easy to check how your stitches stretch. Stretch your sample fabric.
It helps to determine if the stitches stretch with fabric or if the stitches are breaking. If there is a need, make further adjustments before beginning on the main project.
Thus, to know the kind of stitch adjustments you can make on your pattern maker, you have to refer to the guide. You need to have the experience.
Also, understand how these adjustments will affect the resultant stitches. Reading through guides and watching video tutorials online is excellent.
Consistent practice using scrap fabric will be of help too. Also, remember that various combinations work in different ways depending on the material.
Use a scrap of fabric from the type that you will be using for your project. It helps to determine the best adjustments to make.
Tips for Understanding Stitch Lengths
If a pattern requires you to use a particular stitch length and your machine doesn’t allow for it, there is a way out.
There are metric charts available online that a designer can download then print. Having them near your machine will make life easier for you.
1. Changing your stitch length will adjust your feed dog. It controls how your machine will pull the fabric with every stitch.
2. You will pull through less fabric when using shorter distances. The vice versa will apply for longer stitches.
3. Most modern machines come with stitch-length controls. The single stitches will be in millimeters; for example, a 3.0 length has each stitch measuring 3mm.
4. Stitch lengths often range between 0 and 5. Depending on the machine you are using. Moreover, they could go up to 7. Some vintage machines have them ranging from 4 to 60.
5. But, these stitches won’t make very long stitches. It will be the total number of stitches in every inch.
6. As the number gets bigger, the size of the stitch reduces. It will make the stitches fit more in every inch of stitching.
7. It is quick to sew longer stitches when basting. Besides, it will make them easier to undo if there will be a need.
Also, they are best for gathering.
8. Use longer stitches when sewing vinyl or leather as it allows you to punch fewer holes. You will avoid interfering with the aesthetics and durability of your fabric.
9. When making top stitches, use stitches with longer lengths. It gives a somewhat professional look.
10. Also, it is common in ready-made clothes because the stitches are faster to make.
11. Use shorter stitch lengths when working on sheer and lightweight fabrics. It helps to prevent gathering and pulling.
12. Heavyweight fabrics will need longer stitches.
13. Short stitches give stronger seams. But, shorter stitches could shed some types of materials.
14. If you are using thicker threads, make longer stitches. Make them small if you are using finer thread.
15. When making smooth curves, go for shorter stitch lengths. Long stitches will give your turn a more angular look.
16. Always remember that it is more challenging to remove shorter stitches. Avoid making your stitches too small, especially if you are working on a project, and fear that you might have to undo dome sections.
17. In case you make them shorter, know that you will need a sharper seam ripper and a ton of patience.
18. Using a razor might cut through the fabric. Using a needle to pull through the stitches might make the fabric fibers pull through too.
Can You Change the Length of a Stitch on a Sewing Machine?
Yes, you can change the stitch length using a sewing machine. Do this by raising your needle and turning your handwheel counterclockwise.
The mark on your wheel will point upwards. If your sewing machine has a length dial, turn it.
Adjust the length of the stitch that you want to work with at the moment.
What Stitch Length Is the Best for Working a Straight Stitch?
The best straight stitch length should range between 3 and 3.5mm.
Set your machine to the straight stitch point. Adjust your length to fall in the range of 3 and 3.5mm.
For fabrics of medium weight, get a needle of size 90-14. Heavier fabrics will need stitching needles of size 100-16.
To achieve the best look, stitch a quarter to three eights from the far edge of your fabric.