Sewing Machine Straight Triple Stretch Stitch

Here it is!!!  If you are like me there is a good chance you either got a used machine without a manual or lost it (even if you got it new).  I know with knit fabrics being so popular in clothing & being able to easily access then now more & more people are trying to sew with them.  Nearly all of my sewing forums have posts about ‘my knits are being wonky’ & ‘what am I doing wrong???’.

The biggest thing if using a sewing machine is using a stretch stitch!  Then comes the next question… whats the stretch stitch?  I have 27 stitches on my machine & it is actually labeled ‘S’ but still will all those little pictures it can be confusing!  SO here it is… this is the picture of the stitch that you want to use…



Straight Stretch Stitch

 photo IMAG1958.jpg

Doesn’t look special or ‘stretchy’ but it is!  It is created by the machine going back & forth.




Check out this Riley Blake post for more information on decorative stitch options for hemming and finishing edges.

If you don’t have this stitch you do have some other options!  Use a narrow zig zag for seams and on the outside use a decorative zig zag like stitch.

Also remember use a ball point (some times call stretch) needle because it goes between the threads of the knit instead of cutting a hole through the fabric.  This will help prevent bunching.  Also let your machine do the walking!!!  Don’t pull or push the fabric… otherwise it will look stretched out & wonky.

Well I hope this helps someone out there, I know how frustrating knits can be!

22 Responses

  1. Lianne
    | Reply

    Thank you for this simple explanation! You are my hero for the day!

  2. Angi Herbison
    | Reply

    I had no idea, I looked in my manual and sure enough, says right there. It takes longer to sew with that stich and I didn’t have a ball point needle but it still worked, just didn’t look as nice.

  3. Michelle
    | Reply

    You are the rockingest. This was the first response I got from Google and I love that it had the picture and saved me the frustration. I’ve got a last minute project and a LOT to do once I finish it.

    So I just wanted to let you know that it certainly helped! 😀

  4. Peggy
    | Reply

    You are my new best friend! I had no idea there was a stretch stitch. I checked and have one on my machine. I’m working on dance costumes and this has made all the difference in the world. Thank you so much!

  5. Kate
    | Reply

    Bless your heart!!! Though I have many years sewing experience under my belt, I’m new to sewing stretchy fabric and elastic. I poured through my User Guide and couldn’t tell from reading it which stitch(es) to use, so went to and found your answer. THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting this information!
    All the best,

  6. Liz
    | Reply

    Three years later & this post is still useful. I wondered if that’s what that crazy stitch on my machine was about. Ahh, it’s opened up a whole new world… Thank you!!

  7. ordinaryairforcelife
    | Reply

    Who knew? I use that stitch on my cotton fabrics when I am quilting. I thought it was just there to save me time from having to go over all my stitches a second time. I have yet to have a quilter tell me they double stitch their fabrics, but I am super crazy, I guess, and insist on them lasting a lifetime. This is great! I am searching for what a stretch stitch is, because I have a load of pajamas and other comfy clothes to hem. THANK YOU!

  8. Kay
    | Reply

    Huzzah! Christmas is saved! Or, at least the fair isle stockings I knit are saved from being pulled, because now I can line them, and in this century, as I won’t need to hand sew it all. Thank you!

  9. Chris
    | Reply

    Thank you! I searched my sewing machine manual & found nothing about a stretch stitch, so I thought I didn’t have it. But I do, I do !!! your little picture helped me so much.

  10. twistnpout
    | Reply

    Wow – i realize this is an old post but OMG – I am new to sewing and have just spent the last couple of hours trying to figure out what the S1 on my machine meant. I went through every stitch pattern with and with out using the S1 selection. Finally you gave me the answer.
    Thank You!!

    | Reply

    I think you are my new best friend! Thank you!! I am new to sewing and that was the best explanation ever!! I got my mom’s sewing machine after she passed away this May and I am just gettting the feel for it and well, I am learning on my own… but your explanation has been the best of all! Thank you so much!

  12. becky
    | Reply

    You are awesome! I’ve been through dozens of blogs, etc. tonight and this is exactly what I wanted to know! Thank you!

  13. Melissa
    | Reply

    I have been searching for an explanation like this for the last two hours on the internet! Yours is the BEST – and I did not even have to watch a video on youtube or anything. Thank you SO much! I am now ready to sew my new maxi skirt!

  14. Rosa-Dee
    | Reply

    Thanks for the explanation of the stitches. So when a pattern or tutorial says use a zig zag stitch we have the option of using the stretch stitch instead?

    • Kymy
      | Reply

      Generally yes! If it calls for a zigzag stitch for stretch if your machine works properly this will work instead! Some machines the tension is wonky so I recommend testing it on scraps the first time you try it out.

  15. […] use a stretch stitch which is strong, stretches, and gives a nice looking seam as well as topstitching, especially if […]

  16. debbie ferguson
    | Reply

    hi can anyone help me as i cant see the first photo and i still dont know what stitch it it thanks

    • Joelle
      | Reply

      Sorry you can’t see that photo! The stitch selector picture for a triple stretch stitch should look like three parallel lines of stitching.

  17. Becky
    | Reply

    Simply brilliant – thank you

  18. Waetsi
    | Reply

    you have answered my 8 months search! thank you so much… been sewing non stop now…

    | Reply

    I don’t have triple stitch on my sewing machine (LX 17 Brother). What or which stitch can i do instead of this one

    • kymy
      | Reply

      Unfortunately the Brother XL 17 doesn’t offer many stretch stitches other then the zig zag. I would probably try stitch #2, the narrow zig zag on your machine. I hope that helps.

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