How to Use the Stitch Settings on My Kenmore Sewing Machine

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Learn how to use your stitch settings to pick the right stitch for the right project.
Learn how to use your stitch settings to pick the right stitch for the right project. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Your Kenmore sewing machine may come with a few different stitch settings or more than a hundred. Add to that adjustable stitch lengths that change the look and function of each stitch setting, and it can be overwhelming to figure out how to use this feature. Learn how to use the stitch settings to become familiar with your options. You may want to create a stitch setting sampler so that you have a visual reference for picking stitch settings for future projects.

Locate the knob, dial or buttons that you use to change the stitch settings on your machine. This control varies with different models.

Select a stitch setting by turning the knob or dial or pressing the buttons. Depending on your model, you may have a chart on the machine or in the manual that shows what each setting will look like.

Lower the presser foot and sew 5 or 6 inches to get a sense of the look of the stitch setting.

Locate the knob, dial or buttons indicating stitch length.

Change the stitch length while keeping the same stitch setting.

Sew another 5-inch to 6-inch sample to get a sense of how different stitch lengths affect various stitch settings.

Repeat this process for each stitch setting, removing fabric as desired to get a closer look at each setting.

Pick the setting you prefer to use for your sewing project.

Tips & Warnings

  • In general, decorative stitch settings are used for top stitching and on pockets, collars and quilts; they are not practical for sewing seams.
  • Zigzag stitches are ideal for sewing knit fabrics or appliqué, while straight stitches are best with woven cloth. Hem stitches create a mostly hidden stitch that is useful for hemming pants and skirts.
  • Use thread in a contrasting color to your fabric so that you can easily see the patterns created by your stitch settings.
  • Label and save samples of each setting to use as a reference for future sewing projects.

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