Icons and Stitch Symbols Sewing Machine. When to Use Different Stitch Patterns?

12 min read

There isn’t enough room on sewing machines for all of the words needed, so manufacturers resort to symbols.

In order to construct a complete list of sewing machine and serger stitch symbols, it will be impossible. There are tens of thousands of stitch patterns to choose from, but not every machine offers them all. It’s surprising that even Singer doesn’t provide a comprehensive list of the built-in stitches.

Continue reading this article to understand more about stitch symbols. It includes a list of stitch symbols and their meanings, as well as links to additional information. All the symbols on your sewing machine need to be understood if you want to get the most out of it.

Which Sign is Used for Stitch?



Almost all of these are a good question to which the answer is “yes.” In some cases, you may need to visit an online resource to find out what the symbols indicate on your sewing machine’s control panel.

Singer provides a stitch symbol reference guide. According to their guide, which is clearly stated to be only a partial listing, there are a lot of stitch patterns accessible on their sewing machines.

You can find their guide here. To learn the name and description of each stitch shown on the page, click on the individual photographs when you arrive there.

You’ll see a set of dashes going in a straight line under the 10 most common stitch portions in that guide. This is the most often used stitch in the world. Straight stitch is represented by this symbol.

The zig-zag stitch is depicted in the image next to that one, which looks like a sequence of Ws turned sideways. All brands use the same images, so they’ve become kind of a standard. They may not be included or arranged in the same order that Singer has them listed or organized.



Sewing Machine Symbols and Icons

A link to Singer’s list of symbols and their meanings is already in your profile. Click on any of the approximately 250 photos to find out what they mean. Even if you’ve never heard of some of these stitches before, exploring them will pay you in the long run.

Stitch designs on Brother sewing machines are few and far between, as you can see by visiting this link, which leads to a list of only 122 different stitch patterns. But Brother is far more detailed than Singer’s guide as it tells you the presser foot, the applications, the stitch width, and length.

No one can beat Bernina. They have a chart of over 200 stitches that includes all of their Bernette stitches. The stitch count is shown in a box below the image, to the left of the sewing machine model.

They have a 19-page chart, but not all of it is filled with stitch counts. Then there’s Janome’s chart, which is slightly different. Stitch symbols are organized into categories.

You can choose from 22 different stitch designs under the applique topic. There are 85 different stitches in the quilt heading, whereas there are only 31 in the satin style.

Stitch symbols for block, script, Broadway and embroidery are included in their 10-page chart. Because this chart appears to cover everything, you won’t have any trouble figuring out what kind of stitch pattern your machine has.

There are several stitch charts from Juki, and as you can see from this one, their designs are the same as those seen on other sewing machines. Identifying the stitches may necessitate cross-referencing. That particular model has only 100 stitches.

Then for Elna, this is only an image but it lists its stitch patterns in groups called modes. It is a comprehensive list with well over 300 stitch patterns in those different modes. Click here to get to the list and you may need an owner’s manual to find out the stitch names or use one of the other charts to help you.

This is only an illustration for Elna, but it organizes the stitch patterns it uses into a hierarchy of categories called modes. It includes more than 300 stitch patterns in each of those modes. To learn the stitch names, consult your owner’s manual or one of the other charts available online.

This is only an illustration for Elna, but it organizes the stitch patterns it uses into a series of categories called modes. In total, there are more than 300 stitch patterns in those modes. Use this link to see the list, and use your owner’s manual or another chart if necessary to identify the stitch names.

Only the most well-known sewing machine brands were included in this list. Since many international sewing machine manufacturers use the same symbologies and do not have computerized sewing machines with hundreds of stitch patterns, we can only assume that there are other brands in the market.

Stitch patterns do not vary from one firm to another. That means that the sign and appearance of a straight stitch will be global. Even if your equipment is from a different manufacturer, you can still utilize a chart to help you discover the correct symbol.

Overlock Stitch Symbol



Using a blend of straight and zigzag stitches, the overlock stitch creates a unique look. It’s similar to a serging stitch design in that you may sew forward and backward with it.

Also, this pattern is good for knits and stretch fabrics as it is also called a stretch stitch. Essentially, the basic looks like a series of Vs connected at the tips of the letter V’s upper and lower extremities.

The overlock stitch is number 6 on this diagram, with variations at numbers 7 and 8. This chart will be used to illustrate many of the symbols that will be mentioned in this article.

A larger variety of overlock stitches can be found on more sophisticated sewing machines. This is due to the fact that this stitch may be used in a wide variety of ways and with a wide variety of patterns. Brother’s overlock patterns number seven, while Janome’s range up to eight.

Both Singer and the other companies have a large number of them. This is obviously dependent on how many stitch patterns were included in the model that is yours. Check your sewing machine’s owner’s manual or other documents to find out how many needles it has.

Stretch Stitch Symbol

The stretch stitch, which is listed as number 3 in the illustration above, has a less fortunate fate. There is only one symbol for it, which is also known as the lightning stitch pattern. You may, however, be able to utilize various stitch patterns on your knits, elastics, and other stretch materials.

This form of stretch stitch works well with elastic, and the triple zig-zag is noted for this. Stretch stitch is shown on Brother’s chart as three dashed lines next to each other, and the lightning stitch pattern is known as the Stem stitch.

The Brother charts include two diamond stitches specified for stretch materials. As an alternative to the triple zig-zag, Viking placed a picture of a lightning bolt on their chart. Pfaff is in the same boat.

As a novice sewer, it will take some time to get used to. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to remember the most of the stitch images’ names, and you may not even use the other alternatives at all.

Blanket Stitch Symbol Sewing Machine



The blanket stitch resembles a half-ladder stitch, at least according to the Singer reference chart. Rungs are present, but the ladder’s upper section is missing. it resembles sewing a vertical row of Fs.

This technique is most suited for decorative purposes, since you may add a neat and tidy line of stitches to your sewing item. In addition, multiple rows can be stacked on top of each other. Combine this pattern with an other ornamental pattern to make your product look even more appealing.

But be careful when searching for this stitch. Blanket stitches are just one of a number of comparable symbols, but they are not all referred to as such. It is possible to call them a pin stitch, a reverse pin stitch, and so on.

Click on a few of these identical stitch icons until you choose the one you want to use with the Singer tutorial. Despite the fact that these stitches appear to be #12 and #22, they were not mentioned in the accompanying literature as the blanket stitch. The hemstitch and the shell tuck stitch were their official names.

Top Stitch Symbol

This icon makes you feel as if you’re staring directly into the eyes of a spider. The torso and two of its eight legs are clearly visible. It’s an easy stitch to work with, and you can change the width to make it look more like a straight stitch.

Another sign for this stitch pattern is a spider that has been trodden on, with its head down. In between the two larger ends, there are a lot of diagonal lines.

Topstitching by hand eliminates the need for a machine or a guide. Getting the pattern down may take a few attempts, but it is a simple stitch pattern to understand.

When it comes to stitching, edge stitching differs from topstitching in that it goes closer to the edge than topstitching does. In order to properly complete this stitch, you must maintain a steady pace while working. You have to find the perfect Goldilocks speed.

The ability to sew a straight line is also crucial to this stitch. Don’t topstitch if you don’t have the ability to.

Blind Hem Stitch Symbol



As you can see in the image above, the Blind Hem stitch is number 9. There is a good chance that this stitch pattern has been on every machine in the last 50 years. To the untrained eye, the sign may appear to be two washtubs side by side.

This stitch’s application is also easy to remember. It’s used for blind hemming. Stitch pattern number 10 is used for a blind hem on stretch fabric, if you’re using the number 10 symbol above. Stretch fabrics are the only ones that can benefit from this choice.

The numbers 19, 19, and 20 on Janome’s chart correspond to this stitch and it falls under the utility stitch design group. When using the 2-01 and 2-02 stitch options on a Brother machine, be sure to use a R presser foot.

Let the machine do the job for you when you have a machine with so many stitch options. Relax and turn the dial or press the appropriate button to get the desired result.

When to Use Different Stitch Patterns



Knowing what each of those symbols on your sewing machine indicate is the first step in putting your newfound knowledge into practice. More stitch patterns are available on sewing machines than you’ll ever utilize on all of your sewing projects combined.

The following are some of the stitch designs and when to utilize them:.

  • 1. The straight stitch is the most widely used since it is quick and easy to complete, and it is also a sturdy stitch. The ability to go long or short in length without sacrificing your fabric’s grip is also a big plus.

Remember that removing a little stitch from a fabric is more difficult than removing a longer stitch.

  • You’ll use decorative stitches less frequently, and most people don’t use them at all. With them, you can try out different decorative patterns to evaluate which one best suits your sewing project.

Utilize a finer bobbin thread if you want to use them. It is most likely that you will find the most use for them in your embroidery projects.

  • When stitching around the edge, the stitches are frequently zigzagged, with one end of each zigzag going off the fabric. This stitch’s width and length can be adjusted, allowing you greater creative freedom.

When you don’t have a stretch stitch pattern on your sewing machine, this is the best option. To let the stitch to move with the fabric, you’ll need a small stitch width.

  • For hems that don’t require much visible stitching, the blind stitch is the ideal choice for this pattern. You may save time by using this design instead of hand sewing. The blind hem stitch is also available in a stretch variant.

The stitch you should use will be dictated by the fabric you are working with.

  • You can use the stretch stitch to make garments with a lot of give. When it comes to being present at a sewing machine, luck is rarely on your side. There are some versions that feature a lot of stretch stitches, while there are others that don’t.

If you have the zig-zag option, you don’t need this stitch pattern. If you’re lucky, your sewing machine has a triple stretch stitch setting. Stretchy materials will benefit from this pattern.

Some Final Words

There are more symbols and stitches than you can shake a stick at, so you’ll never run out of options. It’s a lot more fun to sew when you have so many options to choose from. You’re not confined to a single style and can choose from a variety of options.

Learn their symbols and how they appear on your project before you can really appreciate the great variety of stitches available. You have a lot of options when it comes to sewing.



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