If you've every played with a toy sewing machine, you know what chain stitch looks like.
So maybe you think it's kid stuff.
But did you know that Singer made full-size "grown-up" machines that also sew chain stitch.
What exactly is chain stitch? Is it useful? Which Singer models have a chain stitch feature?
Good questions! Let's answer them.
First let's briefly review how a sewing machine works.
A sewing machine typically has two threads. The top thread passes through the needle and the bottom thread is wound on a bobbin. When the needle point pierces through the fabric it draws the top thread down to where a hook grabs the thread and wraps it around the bobbin thread before releasing the top thread. When the needle raises back up through the fabric the two threads are "locked" together to form a complete stitch.
Chain stitch is different because it uses a single thread. When the needle pierces through the fabric, the machine loops the top thread around itself, forming a series of interlocking loops. From the top it looks like a normal straight stitch, but from the bottom it looks like a chain.
The beauty of chain stitch can also be its fatal flaw, because chain stitched seams can be removed with a single tug on the end thread.
Which is great if you WANT to sew a temporary seam, but a real frustration if need a permanent seam. You can lose an hour's work in seconds if you pull on the wrong thread.
Which is why chain stitch is typically reserved for toys or handheld "quick repair" sewing tools. But there are situations when a temporary stitch is a desirable tool for dressmaking or quilting.
Which is why Singer included chain stitch as a feature on some Slant-o-Matic and Touch & Sew Models.
Which ones? Let's take a look:
411G, 600E, and 603E are notable examples of chain-stitch capability along with steel gears and a slant needle. Most Touch & Sew models have chain stitch capability, but beware of plastic gears!
So if you're looking for a heavy duty machine or quilting machine with the added bonus of chain-stitch basting keep an eye out for one of these remarkable machines!
Happy Sewing! Barbara OldSewinGear...dedicated to helping you get the most out of your old sewing gear.
OldSewinGear is the collaborative effort of retired repairman Gary and daughter Barbara. We love old sewing gear and enjoy sharing what we've learned in our vintage sewing machine adventures. We are located in Roseburg, Oregon.