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Thread: If you Quilt on your sewing machine--have a question about your fancy stitches

  1. #1
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    I got a Babylock Espire and it comes with a lot of fancy stitches and has a larger throat so I was excited that I would be able to do most of my own quilting.

    However, as I played around with the different stitches most are on a scale too small to use for quilting and almost all of them have a stitch length really short (and very tight) that doesn't seem to be appropriate for quilting either. I have checked and there is no way to adjust the stitch length on the decorative stitiches.

    Is your machine like this, and if so, do you use these for quilting anyway or do you just stick to "in the ditch" straight stitch or FM?

  2. #2
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    I have 5 machines that have fancy stitches and this is a problem with every one of them. I'm told by dealers that this is the only way the integrity of the design can be maintained.I would love to be able to do a serpentine stitch over the ditch on my children's charity quilts but the 2.2 default setting is just too tight. I did see a $2,000 Brother that allowed more flexibility but it just had the standard size harp and was too small for quilting.

  3. #3
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngelinaMaria
    I got a Babylock Espire and it comes with a lot of fancy stitches and has a larger throat so I was excited that I would be able to do most of my own quilting.

    However, as I played around with the different stitches most are on a scale too small to use for quilting and almost all of them have a stitch length really short (and very tight) that doesn't seem to be appropriate for quilting either. I have checked and there is no way to adjust the stitch length on the decorative stitiches.

    Is your machine like this, and if so, do you use these for quilting anyway or do you just stick to "in the ditch" straight stitch or FM?
    I have Vikings and they have needle position options as well as length options. Some are less adjustable than others. Sometimes I do use them for an alternative to SID. I recently got a long arm machine so am not using the sewing machine for quilting any more. I actually used the embroidery unit to quilt more than using the fancy stitches.

  4. #4
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    mine are like that, as well. i sometimes use one of the stitches to sew down my binding on the front when i am in a rush.

  5. #5
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    That is odd that you can't adjust them. I have a Brother machine, they make Babylock and my deco stitches are adjustable. I'm not familiar with your machine to tell you how to adjust them.

    I pulled out my manual for my PC6500. All my stitches are adjustable except the width on the straight stitch and something on the buttonhole I'll never use anyway. I have to adjust them manually by pressing the width and length buttons but they have quite a bit of adjust-ability.

  6. #6
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Most machines will only let you go up to 7mm or 9mm stitches depending on the machine. There is no way to get them bigger than that size. They are meant more for decoration on sewing little things or would be good for crazy quilting stitches, not really made for FMQ on any machine if that's what you are trying to use them for

  7. #7
    Super Member Chicca's Avatar
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    My Kenmore has a few decorative stitches. They are adjustable and yes, I have used them for quilting. My free motion stitches are so tiny and tight...LOL...and I use them...LOL. So if you want, why not make some small projects, quilt them with your special stitches and then decide if you would like to quilt a whole quilt.

  8. #8
    Super Member CoriAmD's Avatar
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    I have a very inexpensive Brother cs6000i which has many decorative stitches. I have used several of them for my quilting as they allow a wide adjustment of size width & length). The only thing I have to be careful with is, not all of them can be done with the walking foot so I have to remembe to use a regular foot.

  9. #9
    Super Member clem55's Avatar
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    There are some of my JAnome that can't be changed, but most of them can, I have to make the adjustments.

  10. #10
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    I can adjust them on my Pfaff.

  11. #11
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    If anyone has a Espire or similar model (I guess it is the previous model to the Symphony), can you tell me if and how you are adjusting the stitch length on the decorative ones. The stitch length on the "wave" design is the only one I have found that has a larger size stitch length (probably just under 3--this seems to be all preset in the machine--the only adjustment I can make to these type of stitches is the size Small or Large and the tension).

    I like the loopy designs and the wavy line that has a tulip at each dip--in the large size-- but the stitches are very tight and small. If you are able to adjust those, please tell me how.

  12. #12
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sadiemae
    I can adjust them on my Pfaff.
    Me, too and often do.

  13. #13
    Super Member SuziC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clem55
    There are some of my JAnome that can't be changed, but most of them can, I have to make the adjustments.
    Me too

  14. #14
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    Good question! I have been looking at Espire or Ellisimo. The Espire does have the editing feature. But according to the online manual page 109 doesn't make reference to changing them larger than programmed. This is one thing I don't like about the Elegante I have. I haven't tried to hook up the PC and download anything-so don't know what is possible or not. Will keep my eye on this post.

  15. #15
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Not sure how you were planning on using the decorative stitches. The largest they will go on most machines is about 9mm, which is less than half an inch. Decorative stitches are often used over seams, as in a crazy quilt. You can't use them for free motion, because the feed dogs control the the movement of the fabric to create the decorative stitch. You can do straight lines and gentle curves, but you need to practice on a scrap sandwich. The feed dogs are controlling the fabric movement, because you have layers (backing, batting & top), and the dogs are grabbing the bottom layer, the top layer may not go along with the movement of the feet and the design may be distorted.

  16. #16
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    The wave and loopy line decorative stitch on the Espire covers a 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 inch spread using the large size. These are the largest ones I have found so far.

    I did find that all the basic stitches that are under the Utility Stich menu can be adjusted in stitch length and width (up to 7 mm) but these are all the smaller designs and not really suitable for quilting (other than stitch in the ditch). Just wish the stitches under the Decorative Stitches menu were more adjustable. It would make the machine so much more powerful for quilting.

  17. #17
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    I have BL Innovis and I use my free motion foot for little quilts...ask your quilt store if the BL free motion foot will work. Draw out your quilt designs with markers
    and stitch away...the stitch will be a straight stitch...the quilt stitch design will be yours!

  18. #18
    Super Member Sierra's Avatar
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    I have a Janome 6600 and I use decorative stitches all the time for quilting. Some stitches are adjustable. If I'm using a new one I try it out on scraps of cloth-lined batting (try to use the same weights as in the quilt). I always use a walking foot for any quilting.

    I just finished 3 lap robes using the star (asterisk) pattern and sewing it in an undulating line the length of the quilt (the cross wise were quilting as I put the top together). I used black thread and several people have commented on them very positively.

    I've used several patterns and often use a plain straight stitch also (don't tell the new quilt police who like the squiggle quilting... it's just not my thing). I also use a pattern to sew down my bindings (I have arthritis and no hand sewing for me!).

  19. #19
    Senior Member smcfadden's Avatar
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    I have a BabyLock Melody which has a stipple stitch. However, it's tiny! No way I could use it over a whole quilt. I'm seriously thinking of getting a embroidery machine, but I'm not sure if that would make a difference for this issue. I have used other decorative stitches on applique, however.

  20. #20
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sadiemae
    I can adjust them on my Pfaff.
    Me too and I use them often.

  21. #21
    Junior Member GGJudy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maryb119
    Quote Originally Posted by Sadiemae
    I can adjust them on my Pfaff.
    Me too and I use them often.
    Me Too!

  22. #22
    Super Member MaggieLou's Avatar
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    I have an inexpensive Brother I bought about 4 years ago and I can adjust the width and length on any of the decorative stitches. I can do the same with my 40 yr. old Kenmore that uses cams.

  23. #23
    Member meetoo82's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sadiemae
    I can adjust them on my Pfaff.
    What Pfaff do you have. I have a 7500 and would like to know how to adjust size. :?: :?:

  24. #24

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    I have two Vikings. They have some great quilt stiches.

  25. #25
    Super Member GGinMcKinney's Avatar
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    Janome 6600P I have used a decorative stitch for quilting on a baby quilt. I used variagated thread. It was really cute. This was a simple ABC panel that needed help. Fabric was too flimsy to cut it up and border each block so I just stitched through all the sashing with the deco stitch. I adjusted it large as possible. I did get a variable on the size as I pulled, pushed or whatever the quilt through. I could stretch the stitches some that way. Also, used the deco stitch to finish the binding.
    Could I quilt a queen size this way? Probably not. There is a tiny stipple deco stitch that could be used within a block. Others could be done in this manner.
    Note: for me deco stitches are slow and take lots of thread.

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