The correct use of sewing machines involves understanding a few different practices and ideas, one of them being the importance of stitch length. Knowing how to set stitch length to get best results on any sewing project is a basic part of sewing that anyone who uses Juki sewing machines or other sewing machines. The following guide can help anyone more easily understand the details about stitch length and why it is so important when using a sewing machine.

Measuring Stitch Length

Stitch length is measured in one of two ways. Using English measurements, stitch length is measured as stitches per inch. When using metric measurements, stitch length is measured in the number of millimeters of the actual stitch. This is a common error that many people make, since they do not realize that metric measurement is the length of the actual stitch itself. This is why understanding the difference in these two different types of measurement is so important for interpreting stitch settings on sewing machines.

Today, most sewing machines, including Juki sewing machines,  indicate stitch length in millimeters. As a result, some patterns and machine settings require conversions to be made from stitches-per-inch to stitch length.

How Stitch Settings Affect Stitch Length

Stitch length comes into play because of the necessity to understand the way stitches must be set for certain fabrics, or to sew certain parts of a project. The stitch setting actually controls the amount of fabric that the feed dogs advance under the needle, which is something else many people may not realize. Stitch length has nothing at all to do with how the needle behaves. By shortening or lengthening the stitch setting, more or less fabric is passed under the needle between stitches and by the feed dogs. Shorter stitch settings feed less fabric through, longer settings feed more.

Why Stitch Length Is Important

Stitch length is important when sewing because shorter stitches create a tighter seam, while longer stitches make a looser one. The longest stitches are good for machine basting and gathering, and the shortest ones are used when a very strong, tight seam is required. Certain fabrics like knits and other stretchy material generally perform better with looser, longer stitches, while stiffer fabrics and those with little stretch to them typically sew better with shorter stitches. Using this simple idea, anyone can at least estimate the length of stitch they should use based on the type of fabric being sewn and the type and tightness of the seam they need.

By understanding these two important things about stitch length, anyone using a sewing machine should have an easier time grasping how stitch length can affect sewing projects and how to actually adjust their sewing machine as necessary. Whether using Juki sewing machines, or any other brand of sewing machines, the principals on the correct stitch length are always the same. Just make sure to differentiate between English and metric measurements, so that any adjustments made to stitch settings on these units are done correctly!

Juki HZL-K85 Computerized Sewing Machine