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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: katya313
Date: 04-02-2006, 11:22 AM (1 of 3)
I'm a complete beginner at sewing and I've been trying to figure out the difference between built in stitches and stitch function. I always see something like : 10 built-in sewing stitches. 25 stitch functions.
What's the difference??

Thanks so much,
User: katya313
Member since: 04-02-2006
Total posts: 1
From: dmoses
Date: 04-02-2006, 12:32 PM (2 of 3)

Welcome to the discussion boards! :smile:

The built-in stitches are usually the ones on your sewing machine stitch selection dial.

Built-in stitches can have more than one function(depending on how you adjust the length, width, and tension). For example, a straight stitch can be lengthened to be used as a basting stitch, or the tension may be tightened when 'easing'; a zigzag stitch may be narrowed for seaming on knit fabric, or widened to be used as an 'overedge' stitch, or shortened and narrowed to create a satin stitch. If you tighten the tension on an overedge stitch, you can achieve a 'picot' stitch. There are many possibilities. The manual should have some information on the different stitch functions for a particular machine, and a good sewing book will have a lot of good general info as well.

Hope this helps.
Take care,
User: dmoses
Member since: 02-22-2002
Total posts: 964
From: bluebirdie
Date: 04-02-2006, 06:40 PM (3 of 3)
Hi Katya,

I have a sewing machine with 22 built-in stitches (and 45 stitch functions). There's a knob on the machine allowing you to select one of built-in stitches A to T for example zigzag, satin, blindhem, shell, double, honeycomb, overlock, rick rack, etc.

Exactly as Donna said, When you adjust length/width/etc, a built-in stitch turns into multiple stitch functions. For example, I use mostly Built-in stitch A. It produces two stitch functions:
A1. straight stitch when width is set to 0, and
A2. zig-zag when width is set to greater than 0.

Hope this helps!
- Robin
User: bluebirdie
Member since: 03-12-2006
Total posts: 139
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