Sewing & Pattern making Terms

Zigzag stitch

In the realm of sewing and pattern making, the zigzag stitch is a valuable tool in every seamstress’s repertoire. This Z-shaped stitch offers versatility and functionality, making it an essential technique for various applications. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of the zigzag stitch, exploring its uses on knits and stretch fabrics, its role in sewing buttonholes, and its effectiveness as a finish for raw edges.

What is a Zigzag Stitch?

The zigzag stitch is a stitch pattern that forms a series of interlocking diagonal lines, resembling the letter “Z.” This versatile stitch finds its place in numerous sewing projects, offering a range of benefits and applications.

Navigating Knits and Stretch Fabrics

One of the key strengths of the zigzag stitch lies in its ability to accommodate the stretch and movement of knits and stretch fabrics. By allowing flexibility and preventing seam breakage, the zigzag stitch ensures that the seams can withstand the natural elasticity of these fabrics without compromising their structure or integrity.

Buttonhole Construction

Another notable application of the zigzag stitch is in creating buttonholes. Seamstresses and pattern makers rely on this stitch to secure and reinforce the buttonhole edges, providing durability and functionality to garments. By adjusting the stitch width and length, you can achieve buttonholes of varying sizes to accommodate different button sizes.

Finishing Raw Edges

The zigzag stitch serves as an effective finish for raw edges, preventing fraying and enhancing the longevity of the fabric. This stitch creates a secure barrier along the fabric’s edge, adding a professional touch to your garments. By selecting an appropriate stitch width and length, you can customize the zigzag stitch to suit the fabric thickness and desired aesthetic.

Technique and Adjustments

To optimize your use of the zigzag stitch, consider the following:

  • Stitch Width: Adjust the width of the zigzag stitch to suit your specific needs. A narrower width is suitable for lightweight fabrics or delicate finishes, while a wider width provides more strength and coverage for heavier fabrics.
  • Stitch Length: Experiment with different stitch lengths to achieve the desired effect. A shorter stitch length creates a denser zigzag pattern, ideal for seam reinforcement, while a longer stitch length results in a more open and decorative zigzag.
  • Practice and Test: Before applying the zigzag stitch to your project, take the time to practice on scrap fabric. This allows you to familiarize yourself with the stitch settings, adjust tension if necessary, and ensure the desired outcome.


The zigzag stitch is a valuable asset in the sewing and pattern making world, offering versatility and functionality in various applications. Whether you’re working with knits, constructing buttonholes, or finishing raw edges, mastering the zigzag stitch empowers you to create durable and professional-looking garments. Embrace the potential of the zigzag stitch, experiment with different settings, and elevate your sewing projects to new heights of quality and creativity.

Got Questions?

Melissa Villegas
Pattern Maker &


Melissa Portrait

Villegas Patterns

Recent Patterns

Need A Tutorial?

For detailed and in-depth instructions, watch my pattern tutorials on YouTube