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The zigzag stitch is a basic sewing skill and often used for stability or with stretchy fabrics. For this guide we’re using a Bernina 830 sewing machine, but the procedure should be similar on most machines with a mechanical stitch width dial. Check your sewing machine’s owner’s manual for instructions specific to your machine. In this guide we’re using contrasting thread for visibility. When it comes time to do your actual project, you’ll want to use thread that matches the color of your fabric.



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  1. Zigzag Stitch, Zigzag Stitch: step 1, image 1 of 2 Zigzag Stitch, Zigzag Stitch: step 1, image 2 of 2
    • Fit your sewing machine with a presser foot that has a wide hole.

    • Set your sewing machine's stitch width to a three. This sets the machine to a typical zigzag stitch, but you can adjust to your taste. Zero is straight stitch, and the most drastic zigzag stitch maxes out at 4.

    • Each machine is different; check your manual.

  2. Zigzag Stitch: step 2, image 1 of 2 Zigzag Stitch: step 2, image 2 of 2
    • Insert your fabric into the sewing machine and depress the presser foot.

    • Backstitch and begin sewing.

  3. Zigzag Stitch: step 3, image 1 of 1
    • Guide the fabric through the machine to keep the stitch straight.

    • When guiding the fabric through a sewing machine you should not be pushing or pulling. The machine will feed the fabric in at the right speed. Your job is merely to guide the fabric so the seam remains straight.

    • Lift the presser foot, cut the threads, and voilà!

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Brittany McCrigler

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