Your Sewing Machine’s Stitches

Learn The Basics, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Every sewing machine has a selection of stitches from which to choose. Some machines have just a few, and some have many, many more!  Regardless of the number of stitches your machine has, it can be very useful to make yourself a “stitch-out” of all the stitches, so that you can see what they look like when actually sewn. It’s a fun way to get familiar with your machine, too!


Depending on your machine model, stitches may be displayed on a dial, on the body of the machine itself, on an LCD display, as well as in the manual. It may, however, be difficult to imagine what the stitches will look like when sewn out – let alone deciding on what project you would like to use them! That’s where your “stitch-out” can really come in handy.

If you are fairly new to sewing, you may not fully realize that by simply altering the length and width of stitches, you have almost unending possibilities for how your stitches can look!

Changing Length: The distance between each stitch changes, making the row of stitching appear more or less dense.

DSC_0145 DSC_0149 DSC_0136


Changing Width: The size of the stitch pattern changes from side to side, so that the row of stitching appears narrower or wider.



To prepare your fabric for this type of decorative stitching, add a fabric interfacing to the back side of the fabric.  You may also want to use a tear-away stabilizer when you sew, which will give the fabric added stability for sewing some of the more dense stitch patterns. We often use a 30wt cotton thread when sewing out the stitches, which helps make stitches stand out more prominently on your fabric. Use all-purpose thread or bobbinfil in the bobbin, and a SINGER Regular Point Needle in size 14.

Use a Satin Foot or an Open Toe Foot, which accommodates dense stitching.



You can even try your stitches with a twin needle, which opens up all sorts of new possibilities! Space them apart to create fabric texture, or sew the rows of stitching closer together to make border designs.



You might want to mark the fabric itself, or attach notes to the fabric, to record what your machine’s settings were for each stitch. That way, if you want to repeat the look of that stitch for a future project, you’ll know exactly what to do! It’s a great time saver, too.

Have fun as you re-discover your machine and get to know your stitches!



Hemming Jeans

Learn The Basics, Sewing Projects, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

One of the most common garment alterations is hemming jeans. Whether it’s tailoring a pair of designer jeans, or hemming up some hand-me-downs for the kids, there probably comes a time sooner or later when you’ll want to hem a pair of jeans! Hemming jeans by machine, however, can present particular challenges, so we’ll show you a couple of methods and also share some tips for success. Regardless of the method you choose, be sure to use the right needle in your sewing machine – either a SINGER Denim needle (size 16) or a SINGER Heavy Duty needle (size 18), to help accommodate the thickness you’ll be sewing.

There are 2 main ways to hem jeans:

•  One way is to hem the jeans by removing the original hem. In this technique, you basically cut off the existing hem, fold up the hem and then topstitch it in place. The manufacturer’s original hem is cut away, and the end result is a neat looking hem, but the jeans will no longer have the “distressed” look of the original jeans.

•  The other way to hem the jeans is to do so and keep the original hem. In this technique, you basically take up the excess fabric, shortening the jeans, but keeping the original hem intact. The manufacturer’s original distressed look hem is preserved.


Hemming Jeans & Removing the Original Hem

1.  You’ll need scissors, pins, a removable fabric marker and the right style/size of sewing machine needle (as mentioned above). Also, for this style of hem, the topstitching will show so you’ll want the thread to match as closely as possible to the rest of the topstitching that appears on the jeans. Some thread manufacturers actually have jeans thread available to match that used in store-bought jeans. This special jeans thread is thicker than all-purpose tDSC_0091hread (another reason you’ll want the large sewing machine needle). You can use regular sewing thread in the bobbin.


2.  Fold up the jeans to determine the desired finished hem length. Don’t cut yet. Pin them in place, then try them on in front of a mirror, with the shoe height that you plan to wear with the jeans. Adjust the hem as necessary.


3.  Mark the finished length desired for the jeans using either pins or a removable fabric marker. Open out the hem and trim away the original hem, leaving a 1” hem allowance.


4.  At this point, you can do either of 2 things to prepare the hem.


a)  You can fold the fabric up ½”, then ½” again and press. Pin in place, and it’s ready to be topstitched. The seams with this method can become quite bulky. If the jeans you are hemming are very thick, you may prefer method (b).

b)  OR, to help eliminate bulk at the side seams, where the fabric thickness can become very, very thick, try this method of preparing the hem. Cut the hem allowance down to approximately ½”. Thread the top of the machine and bobbin with regular sewing thread. Use an overedge stitch or serger to finish off the raw edge of the fabric.


5.  Pin the fold in place. Thread the top of the machine with jeans thread, regular thread in the bobbin. Convert the machine to free-arm mode, which will make it easier to sew around the hem. Select the straight stitch, and then set the stitch length to a medium-long setting. Sew around the hem area at the desired distance from the bottom edge to finish.


Hemming Jeans & Keeping the Original Hem

1.  You’ll need scissors, pins, a removable fabric marker and the right style/size of sewing machine needle (as mentioned above). You can use regular sewing thread in the bobbin, as there is no need for the topstitching thread with this technique.

2.  Try on the jeans and determine the desired finished length and pin it in place.

3.  Measure the distance from the desired finished length’s fold line to the very bottom edge of the distressed hem. For our demonstration, the distance is 3”. Mark a line on the jeans with the removable fabric marker.


4.  Lay the jeans on the table. Measure the size of the original hem from the very bottom edge to the topstitching line. As this is usually about ½”, double this to equal 1”, and then mark a line 1” above the first line that you drew on the jeans.


5.  Fold up the jeans so that the very bottom edge of the hem is lined up with the top line drawn on the jeans. Pin in place.


6.  Thread the machine with regular sewing thread in the needle and in the bobbin. Convert the machine to free-arm mode, with will make it easier to sew. With the machine set for straight stitch, sew around the hem, right next to the original hem.


7.  When finished, sew an overedge stitch and trim the excess fabric.


8.  Remove the fabric marker line, then press the original hem down. The fold line will be barely noticeable!







Decorative Stitch Inspiration

Learn The Basics, Sewing Projects, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Have you ever wondered what do to do with all those “fancy” stitches on your sewing machine?  You know what to do with the basic stitches, like straight stitch, zig-zag – even the buttonholes – but what about all those decorative stitches?  Well, after taking a closer look at this quilt, you just might be inspired with some fresh new ways of looking at your machine’s decorative stitches, and giving them a try for yourself!

This quilt features an appliqued tree design with lots of multi-colored leaves, along with a few birds.  These elements were stitched to the base fabric with various methods of machine applique.  But, before these various elements were appliqued to the base fabric, most were first transformed by being embellished with decorative machine stitching!

Tree 1

The stitching on the tree trunk and branches was done with thread colors similar to those found in the fabric, providing a more tonal effect.  The rayon thread provides a bit of sheen, creating even more dimension.

Notice that some of the leaves were made using a print fabric, without any added embellishment.  Other leaves have a striped pattern, enhanced with contrast stitching.  Still other leaves were simply basic, solid colored fabric, but changed with the addition of multiple rows of decorative stitching.

You can use various stitch patterns and thread colors, combined in countless ways, to create all sorts of different looks depending on the effect you want to achieve.  Use a light, tear-away stabilizer to help prevent dense stitching from puckering under the presser foot.  It’s best to use either a Satin Foot or an Open Toe Foot for decorative stitching.  These feet have a “groove” on the underside, allowing the dense stitching to pass freely underneath and not get stuck.



The tree trunk and branches were then appliqued to the main fabric with the satin stitch applique method, which is done by satin stitching (zig-zag stitch with reduced stitch length setting) over the raw edge of the applique to completely cover it.

The leaves were sewn to the main fabric with the blind stitch applique method, which is done by first turning and pressing the raw edges under, then using the machine’s blind stitch to sew the appliques in place.  Bird & Eggs

Finally, the machine was converted to free-motion sewing mode, to quilt the layers together.  You can use a free-motion design that complements the overall design of the quilt, or just do basic stipple quilting.  Just add the borders and binding to finish!Leaves

Share with us what you have done with decorative machine stitching!


Welcome Jennifer Wiese and Workroom Social!


SINGER® is proud to partner with Jennifer Wiese, founder of Workroom Social and be the official sewing machine brand of Camp Workroom Social. This 4-day sleep-away camp in October, will give campers the opportunity to use the SINGER® Quantum Stylist™ Touch 9985 sewing machine. Campers will find the machine simple to use, and as a result, will get to focus all of their energy on learning and practicing new skills, instead of fiddling with a tricky sewing machine. We think campers will be impressed with the performance of this sewing machine, and the beautiful garments it can help them produce.

Read more about the camp or register at Camp Workroom Social

You can read much more about Jennifer at Workroom Social or on all of our Social Media channels. During the week of June 22 – 28, 2015, Jennifer will also be taking over our Instagram feed, so be sure to follow us for exciting things to come!

Jennifer Wiese

Wedding Dress Final crop

Let’s Kickoff Bridal Season with Embroidery

Embroidery Made Easy, Sewing Projects, Uncategorized

June is traditionally thought of as kick-off to the bridal season, so we thought we’d inspire you by showing a wedding dress that we embellished with machine embroidery! Whether you are making a wedding dress, any other special occasion dress, or if you just want to embellish one that has already made, machine embroidery allows you to create something that is truly one-of-a-kind!

Our dress is a ball gown silhouette, made with ivory silk satin. When you take a closer look at the embroidery that goes all the way around the dress, you’ll notice that there are larger embroidered areas that alternate with smaller ones. We used a technique called Multiple Hoop Embroidery to create the design layouts, which is a feature that can be found on many SINGER sewing & embroidery machines. This feature allows you to take a design that is the size of a single hooping, and create a larger design layout in the software. This large layout is then transferred to the machine for embroidery, but stitched “one hoop at a time”.

emb1hoop one


Take a closer look and you’ll see the four “repeats” of a single design.

emb2    hoop two


A smaller, coordinating design was used to embroider the smaller sections between the larger embroidery layouts:

hoop three


The thread color we chose for the embroidery was similar to the fabric color, creating a tone-on-tone effect.  We used rayon thread on the top of the machine, for a beautiful sheen. Bobbinfil thread was used in the bobbin. Bobbinfil thread is finer (thinner) than all-purpose thread, so when you put it in the bobbin, you can get more thread on the bobbin each time you wind – so you wind less frequently. It also helps make the embroidery less dense on the backside of the fabric. We used SINGER Chromium needles, Style 2000, in a size 11 for doing the machine embroidery. Stabilizer is also important. A fusible tear-away, plus an additional layer of non-fusible tear-away stabilizer was used. When the embroidery was finished, we gently removed the excess stabilizer to prevent distorting the design.


Finally, we used heat-set Swarovski crystals (2000 of them!) to finish it off.  We mixed 2 different colors of crystals – clear and pearl.



We hope that we’ve inspired you to add machine embroidery to one of your next projects! Please share with us what you’ve made – we’d love to see it!