“Sewing Sideways”

Have you ever tried to sew a patch on a garment or straps onto a tote bag and struggled with positioning the fabric?  Sometimes, especially if you are trying to sew something to an existing garment, it is almost impossible to sew in any direction but one without opening up at least one seam.  We’ve talked before about 4-way stitches, but does your machine have 8-way stitch capability?  My Viking Husqvarna Designer Diamond Royale does and I love it!  If your machine has this stitch capability, I encourage you to practice with it so you are comfortable using it next time the perfect project presents itself.  Here are some tips and observations to help with your success using this great feature. 

If your machine has this feature, it will be found in the stitch menu.
On my machine these stitches are in category T. The arrow icon is what you will be looking for on your machine.
On my machine there are two stitches from which to choose: a single straight stitch…
…and a triple straight stitch. Be aware that as the triple straight stitch is sewn, it behaves as if it is a patterned decorative stitch. I’ll explain that further a little later on.
You are able to change the length of your stitch, but not very much. The stitches going forward and backwards can be increased and decreased in length.
The width icon is used to change the length of the left/right directional stitches, but you can only decrease the length from the default length, you cannot increase the length to be greater than the machine’s default length.
The diagonal stitches’ lengths can be adjusted with both the length and width icons since the stitch is going in such a unique direction for a sewing machine. Keep in mind that the only adjustment you can make here is to decrease the stitch length, the same as is possible with the left to right directional stitches. Also keep in mind that you will need, if you make a change to stitch length, to manually re-set that change each time the stitch goes in a different direction.

One of the things that may be hardest to remember as you are sewing is that, if you make a change in stitch length to any of your stitches, that change disappears each time a new direction is chosen. It is not a “one and done” adjustment. I have personally noticed that changing the stitch length does not really look much different to me with this feature. I tend to leave the stitch length alone rather than have to remember to change it with each new direction.

The picture will help you remember which direction your stitch is set to sew. The black dot in the picture represents your starting needle position.
For this demonstration, I created a shape that I could stitch out without having to move my material. I could sew this shape with the picture always facing me and not have to remove the material from the machine to start again. The numbers and arrows let you know where I started (in the upper right corner at the #1) and I followed the arrows through #8, finally stopping at #3 to join with the previous stitching.
I copied the picture onto a scrap piece of cut away stabilizer and followed the sewing path I had mapped out.
Since I would be sewing in all directions, I changed my regular sewing foot (on the left) to my S foot (on the right). The S foot is much larger which enables it to have a lot of contact with the feed teeth.
When doing precision sewing I always slow the speed of my machine. This is the shape stitched out in the single stitch option.
Here I am stitching out the triple stitch option. Notice no matter what direction I am sewing, my material always stays facing me. This is what makes this feature so great. Once you set your material, its’ orientation in the machine does not change: only the stitch direction changes.
Here is the example using the triple straight stitch option. This option is much harder to control and is more difficult for me be as precise. I also found I needed to sew a little faster in order to have the stitches keep from developing loops.
Remember I said earlier that the triple straight stitch acts as a decorative stitch? The stitch has to finish each repetition of the complete pattern before it can stop. This means that, unless you are watching closely and counting the number of times the needle goes in for each stitch completion, you can end up with an unintended extra stitch, as I’m pointing out above. It’s not a huge issue, but if you are looking for accuracy, it matters.

I hope these observations and tips prove helpful with this feature. Have a great week and Happy Sewing!