Home Sewing 101Sewing TechniquesMachine Sewing Techniques Stitch Length Doesn’t Have to be Confusing!

Stitch Length Doesn’t Have to be Confusing!

by Beth Cooper

Stitch length can sometimes be a little bit confusing. When it comes to sewing garments, one of the most important factors to consider is stitch length. Stitch length refers to the distance between two consecutive “punches” of the needle. The length of your stitches can affect how your fabric behaves, how strong your seams are, and how your finished garment looks.

So what stitch length is best when sewing garments? The answer, unfortunately, is that it depends. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question because different fabrics and seams require different stitch lengths.

Consider Fabric Weight

For most lightweight fabrics, a stitch length of 2.0-2.5mm is appropriate. This includes fabrics like cotton voile, rayon, and lightweight linen. These fabrics are delicate and require a shorter stitch length to prevent the fabric from puckering or pulling.

For medium-weight fabrics like quilting cotton and denim, a stitch length of 2.5-3.0mm is generally suitable. These fabrics are a bit sturdier than lightweight fabrics and can handle a slightly longer stitch length.

For heavier fabrics like canvas, a stitch length of 3.0-4.0mm may be necessary. These fabrics are thick and require a longer stitch length to prevent the fabric from bunching up or breaking the thread.

Consider the Type of Seam

When it comes to seams, the length of your stitch will depend on the type of seam you are sewing. For example, for straight seams, a shorter stitch length may be appropriate to prevent the seam from puckering. For curved seams, a longer stitch length may be necessary to ensure the fabric can be maneuvered without bunching.

Consider the Type of Stitch

It’s also important to note that your sewing machine may have different stitch length options depending on the type of stitch you are using. For example, a straight stitch may have a different maximum stitch length than a zigzag stitch.


In general, it’s a good idea to experiment with different stitch lengths on a scrap piece of fabric before beginning your sewing project. This will allow you to determine the best stitch length for your specific fabric and seam. It’s also important to remember to adjust your stitch length as needed throughout your project if you encounter any issues with puckering, bunching, or breaking threads.

So, as you can see, there is not a one-size-fits-all stitch length. You will need to consider what type of fabric you are using, what type of stitch you are using, and consider each sewing project individually. Just experiment with different stitches and you will be able to confidently pick the right stitch in no time at all!

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