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Message Board > Sewing Machines > Stitches per Inch ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Stitches per Inch
what do you use?
jannw
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jannw  Friend of PR
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Date: 6/1/10 5:59 PM

After years of sewing on a modern machine with the stitch length dial of 1-5, I'm now using some vintage machines with the dials that go from 1-25 and the other machine claims to go to 40 per inch. I checked my older sewing books and finally found a chart that listed the recommended length.
16 for sheers, 12 for medium weight, 8-10 for heavy and 6-8 for basting.

All of these seem to be quite small compared to the length on my other machine. 12 stitches per inch in white thread on white fabric looks to be extremely difficult to rip if the need arises, but I did get a nice sharp corner without having to sew it across at an angle.

Just curious to see what everyone prefers. Do you use a length like the chart or do you use a larger stitch?

------
2009-113.25 yds
2010-115.5
2011-80.25+30+donated
2012 86.3 yds..
2013 21.0
Everyone who sews seriously has a stockpile of fabrics, because it is natural to purchase more than can be sewn in any one season" Singer, Timesaving Sewing, 1987

tgm and Kittys
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tgm and  Kittys  Friend of PR
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In reply to jannw


Date: 6/1/10 7:40 PM

I prefer the 10 to 12 stitches per inch. ..now in the reverse direction..I just got a sm that uses 1 to 5...which stitch gives a nice 12 stitch per inch? I have not figured it out quite yet.
Thank you.


>^^<

------
Finally a whole week above zero! Whoo hoo! ~smile~
2 shots in DH eye down, 1 more to go. We hope the tumor is shrinking.
God is with us no matter what ...+


Susannah

Susannah
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In reply to jannw


Date: 6/1/10 8:17 PM

I too use 10-12 as my standard.
IMO white thread on white fabric is difficult to rip no matter what the stitch length. I was once sewing white thread on white linen and finally had to stop and make a 2 hour round trip to the nearest store I knew had those stronger magnifying eyeglasses in stock. It was worth every minute of the trip to finally have them!

hazelnut
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hazelnut  Friend of PR
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In reply to jannw


Date: 6/1/10 9:02 PM

This has perplexed me since I came to PR and heard about specific stitch length settings = stitches per inch. My singer has a 6-20 stitch length lever and I'm assuming that equates to stitches per inch, but my necchi has a 0-4 lever with no explanation of how many stitches per inch, per numerical setting. The new Kenmore has a 0-4 stitch length and I would have assumed an explanation of how many stitches per inch in the book, but I have yet to find it. It seems the manuals would rather tell you what setting to use than give you a stitch explanation, so I have a difficult time making the conversion when I read the "stitches per inch" thing. I'm glad you brought this up - I kind of gave up trying to figure it out.

WilsonZooKeeper

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In reply to hazelnut


Date: 6/1/10 9:19 PM

Many modern machine have the stitch length in millimeters rather than in stitches per inch. That's probably what the 0-4 on your Kenmore means. A setting of about 2.5 mm is 10 stitches per inch. I tend to use a 3 mm (about 8 stitches per inch) for most straight stitching on midweight fabric because it's easier to pick out. I do go with a shorter stitch length for curves and points. A basting stitch is 4 mm or more (6 stitches per inch or less). A short stitch is 1.25 mm (20 spi) and would be used for reinforcing or similar applications.

------
Julie
Logistics and Operations
The Wilson Zoo
My machines: Pfaff 6120, 130 & 296 sewing machines, Pfaff 4752 Serger, Janome 1000CP Coverstitch

That's not a stash. I'm just waiting for my inmature clothing to grow up.

jannw
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jannw  Friend of PR
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Date: 6/1/10 9:28 PM

My modern Brother goes from 1-4 on the stitch dial and I usually use a 2.5 or 3 on the dial which looks like a 6-8 on the Morse machines. So a 3.5 might be about the 10-12. Using the 2.5 length, I have never had any seams seperate on me or noticed a problem with the strength of the seam.

Hazelnut...I started looking in my 1940's books and worked my way through to the early 70's when I found that chart on one of the very back pages. I was surprised too, when I couldn't find the info. I started looking originally because I wanted to know what I would use the 30-40 stitches per inch for. I did find one reference a while back that said to use 20 per inch for very fine fabrics, but that was all.

------
2009-113.25 yds
2010-115.5
2011-80.25+30+donated
2012 86.3 yds..
2013 21.0
Everyone who sews seriously has a stockpile of fabrics, because it is natural to purchase more than can be sewn in any one season" Singer, Timesaving Sewing, 1987

Al Johnson
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Al Johnson
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Date: 6/1/10 9:36 PM

Tidbit of probably useless knowledge from a parachute perspective, may not even be true in the clothing world:
When counting stitches per inch of zigzag stitching, you only count the points on one side. I have no idea why, but that is the convention.

------
A sewing machine is just a welder for textiles.

hazelnut
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In reply to WilsonZooKeeper


Date: 6/1/10 9:45 PM

Ahhhh, millimetres, thank you, thank you! The Necchi's settings must be equal to millimetres, that would make perfect sense since it's Italian made. You're probably correct about the Kenmore's also.
Thank you for the comparison of mm to stitches per inch. I usually use somewhere between a 2 1/2 and 4 on the Necchi - but the 4 never seemed quite long enough for a basting stitch on that particular SM, in MHO. The Kenmore's "4" seems a bit longer, somehow. I love it when I learn something!

hazelnut
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In reply to jannw


Date: 6/1/10 10:05 PM

It is frustrating, especially when so many vintage machines are different. The Singer is the only one that had increments of 6-20 and after 20 it said "fine area" stitches. LOL Maybe equal to your 30-40? I'll have to recheck that manual to see what they suggest using the "fine stitches" for. If I find something worthy I'll post the info. Julie's mm measurement was a real "light bulb" moment for me though!

Susannah

Susannah
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In reply to Al Johnson


Date: 6/1/10 10:08 PM

Quote: Al Johnson
When counting stitches per inch of zigzag stitching, you only count the points on one side

Very interesting. I wonder if it is true on these machines, if they are counted that way.
I would guess it is done bc a complete stitch would have to include both the zig and the zag.
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