How Do I Make My Sewing Machine Go in Reverse? Comprehensive Guide

13 min read

A car does that all the time. Going backwards can be a smart strategy if you need to get to your goal in a short amount of time. Sewing follows the same rules. When you stitch backwards, you ensure that your sewing location is safe and secure. Having this feature at your disposal is a nice perk.

In what way can I reverse my sewing machine? As a general rule, this does not apply to everyone. A lever or a button can be used to change the direction of your sewing, depending on the type of machine you have. These levers are simple and easy to use, however they can be prone to breaking.

Continue reading this post to find out how to reverse your sewing machine. It explains how to sew in the reverse direction for those who are new to the craft.

The History of the Reverse Function

We chose to look into the origins of the sewing machine reverse function as part of our research for this post. It’s a shame that this addition to a sewing machine’s already lengthy feature list isn’t given more attention.

To put it simply, the film appears to have popped up out of nowhere. It doesn’t matter if it has historical significance or not, the reverse function is a crucial element for sewers that helps them complete their projects correctly and ensures that those projects last for a long time.

What is a Reverse Stitch?



Backstitching is a technique for keeping your original forward stitches in place. There are two places where this approach can be applied: at the beginning and end of a seam.

It’s also a strengthening of the original forward stitches, thanks to the reverse stitch. At the end of each seam, there is a lot of pressure and they typically need extra support to stay put. Your garment will last for a long period because of the reverse stitch.

It’s not difficult to reverse stitch because you’re simply going over what you’ve already done and adding another layer of stitches to secure the seam. Backstitching is another name for reverse stitching, which you may be familiar with.

Even if you prefer to sew by hand, modern sewing machines have made backstitching a lot easier if your machine’s lever or button doesn’t break.

With a reverse switch or button, this is one of the most common issues you’ll face. They aren’t usually built of the strongest materials, and as a result, they frequently break when you least expect it.

Reverse Stitch Sewing

There may be a difference between the reverse stitch device on your machine and the one on your friend’s. In order to activate the reverse stitch mechanism, you only need to push a lever.

The second method entails inserting a button. Problems don’t seem to be avoided despite the seeming simplicity. The levers and buttons can be dangerous if pushed incorrectly.

Depending on the manufacturer, the lever or button may not always be in the same spot. Look it up in the handbook if you’re not sure where it is on yours! Ideally, there should be an illustration on one of the pages that explains the various elements and where they are situated.

In order to discover these buttons and levers, several sewing machine brands employ symbols rather than words to describe the functionality of each button. Those versions with touch screens may have the ability to perform the opposite function using the touch screen.

It’s difficult to say because brands are always coming up with new ideas as technology progresses.

How do You do a Reverse Stitch On a Sewing Machine?



The following is taken from a Brother sewing machine help website and may not apply to other sewing machines of that brand:

To begin, check to see if the needle has already been inserted into the material. You can feel it, but you can’t just touch it. Press either the start/stop button or the foot pedal to begin stitching in a forward motion, depending on which method you want.

Press the reverse button, but don’t stop sewing until you’ve sewed 4 to 5 stitches. While you’re waiting for the machine to reverse, keep your foot firmly on the pedal and the reverse button pushed.

The first stitch is completed when you release the reverse button and remove your foot from the foot pedal.. All that is required to complete the task is to do so. In order to continue sewing, push and hold down on one of these buttons or press down on the foot pedal, and the machine should begin sewing again.

Repeat the method to reverse stitch the opposite end of the seam when you get there. After you’ve sewn the last 4 or 5 stitches forward, don’t forget to keep the reverse button put in.

What is a Reverse Stitch Lever?

The reverse stitch lever is a more user-friendly tool for reversing the reverse function. When sewing in reverse, you may not have to hold the lever down while the machine does so, making it more convenient.

The only problem to this lever is that it may vary from sewing machine to sewing machine. When using a vintage Bernina, the lever is really integrated into the stitch length dial. To sew in reverse, you have to shift it up or down.

A tiny rectangle plastic piece towards the back of the machine was all that was needed to activate the machine’s reverse functionality on some other variants. You may have one of these or a completely different design.

Check your owner’s handbook if you’re unsure of where the reverse lever is located. The parts of a sewing machine were shown on a website using a nameless, unbadged sewing machine.

It was listed in the numerical list, but it wasn’t shown in the picture. Finding this lever, if it exists, can be quite difficult.

When Reverse Stitching You Need to Hold the Reverse Button In?



To find out which Brother model you have, read the instruction on how to reverse stitch. The reverse button must be held in until the reverse stitching is complete.

For no clear reason, it’s inconvenient to have one hand tied behind one’s back. The reverse stitch option may be available on different models, as generic instructions for operating the feature state that you must hold the button in at all times.

You don’t have to hold in the button while reverse stitching, according to Singer’s instruction manuals. Nothing more complicated than pressing the U-shaped arrow and starting to stitch. Resetting a Singer after accidentally pressing the wrong button is as simple as turning it off and back on.

To activate it, simply hit the correct button. It’s recommended to flip to the page about the reverse stitch button or lever on your sewing machine and read the instructions that were provided.

In some machines, you may not have to press the button all the way in; this depends on the model.

How to Reverse Stitch On a Bernina

The reverse stitch feature can be activated in several ways depending on the model of Bernina sewing machine. The 1230 includes a small lever with a spring and a cover on it that is one of the most unique features. Reverse stitching can begin once you press the small lever on the machine’s reverse switch.

Similar to the 1008 model that we previously discussed. On the back of the machine, there are four stitch length dials arranged in a row, with the third from the top being the reverse lever. To sew in reverse, you’ll need to raise the dial-up a few turns.

It’s easy to learn how to use the many features of your specific Bernina sewing machine by watching instructional videos provided by the manufacturer online. The 200 model’s manual states that a quick-reverse button is located on the machine’s front.

Until the button is released, the machine will continue to run. Before the machine moves ahead again, you can choose from a variety of specialized stitches to generate a temporary reverse stitch. Those stitches are #3, #5, #324, and #332, respectively. Check your owner’s manual to find out what the stitch selections do when you choose them.

How to Reverse Stitch On a Singer



To begin, keep in mind that the reverse buttons and levers on various Singer machines may differ. Make sure you hit the U-shaped arrow on the buttons on the machines that have them. It’s not the button that looks like a U-shaped arrow with a number above it.

Before you begin sewing in reverse, you may need to attach the correct presser foot to your machine. However, you must first sew 2 to 3 stitches forward before pressing the button, after which you must sew 3 stitches back.

Press the button once more to release it, or simply remove your finger from the button, and the machine will resume sewing ahead. Repeat the process until you reach the end of the seam or the area that needs reinforced stitching.

In order to stitch in reverse, Singer recommends starting approximately a half-inch from the raw edge and sewing almost to the raw edge before returning to the forward motion. Afterwards, do the same thing on the other end of your sewing line

This information may not apply to your sewing machine model; in that case, see your manuals. The reverse stitch is not a one-size-fits-all procedure for manufacturers.

When to Use Reverse Stitch

It’s important to know when to utilize the reverse stitch tool, and it’s also important to know when not to. When you’re working on a seam and need to reinforce the front and back ends of your stitch pattern, this is the most common use for this feature.

It is possible to do a backstitch or a reverse stitch in the middle of the seam, but doing so is not required. Reinforcement is particularly necessary near the seam’s ends, where the largest strain is exerted.

It is possible to use your seam ripper to cut the stitches in the middle and then sew over them in both directions to reinforce the weak spot.

A little amount of stitches can also be taken out to correct a pucker in the centre of your seam. You can stitch over the repaired area in both forward and backward directions after it has been fixed.

So there are occasions when you can reverse stitch without having to include either end of the seam in your stitching. Outside of the ends of the seam, it is entirely up to you whether or not to use reverse stitching. It will help you determine if more reinforcing is needed in other areas of the garment.

Can You Reverse Stitch With a Walking Foot?



This is a contentious subject with a variety of viewpoints. One Bernina owner believes that her walking foot was built to go in both directions. The walking foot on some Babylock models may be able to sew a few stitches backwards without damaging the fabric.

As a general rule of thumb, walkers should not change their direction when utilizing a walking foot. Those inexpensive walking foot models may not be able to reverse, and they become all messed up when you try.

When sewing with your walking foot, an earlier model of Janome does not perform well in reverse. Newer models may have addressed this issue, as some owners claim to be able to reverse with their walking foot on Janome machines that have this feature.

It all comes down to the model of walking foot you have and whether or not you can stitch in reverse. If you’re looking for a walking foot model that can sew in reverse, you may have to play a guessing game.

Another popular model, Juki, may allow you to sew in reverse using your walking foot. If that’s the case, it could simply be a commercial decision for some models. Those who can’t may be less expensive and easier to market.

Lock Stitches and Back Stitches are Not the Same

Some seamstresses may mistakenly believe that the two stitches are interchangeable and the same. Weaker textiles may actually get bulkier because of backstitching. Backstitching can also alter the fabric’s inherent structure.

The lock stitch is used on sheer fabrics to improve the material’s natural flow and drape, as it does not add bulk. In addition, it works well with drapey textiles, such as silk and linen.

In order to keep the first stitch in place, a tiny stitch is sewed over it with a lock stitch. The upper and bobbin threads are required for proper operation. The looper and upper thread are commonly used to perform the reverse stitch.

Lock stitches require less thread than backstitching. Stitching in the first uses an interlocking method, while the second uses techniques from both the previous styles.

Many sewing machines now include both locking and backstitching features as standard equipment, making it unnecessary to perform these tasks by hand. But if you like, you can use a hand-stitching method.

Some Final Words

It’s just a matter of pressing the right button or lever to reverse a sewing machine. Because the buttons and levers aren’t always in the same place and they don’t always look the same, that basic deed is a little more complicated than it appears.

For more information on how to use a particular lever or button, consult your owner’s handbook. Different models will have varying outcomes.



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