Enhance your quilt blocks with side-motion stitching

Wasn’t that the neatest new technique in yesterday’s post about dimensional stitches? I love it and have to find a project to put those stitches on.

It’s time to check out another technique with the Husqvarna VIKING Sapphire 965Q. Today, I’m going to show you the beauty of using side-motion stitching.

Husqvarna VIKING Sapphire 965Q

As quilters, we tend to not use a lot of the features and stitches on our sewing machines. Part of that is because we don’t even know we have those features and stitches, and I think that sometimes we’re a bit hesitant to try something new. Hopefully, these posts are giving you a few ideas of some of the things you can do.

Imagine using some of these techniques to decorate a frame on a quilt block, the edge of a bag, or the trim on a garment. Yes, there are loads of ways – we just need to let our imaginations wander.

Let’s look at side-motion sewing stitches. The maximum stitch width for the basic stitch is 7mm, but some of the side-motion sewing stitches measure up to 36mm wide. Now that’s a wide stitch and if you’re into inches, 36mm is the equivalent of 1½”.

The stitches are listed in the H – Menu – Specialty Stitches. There are nine side-motion stitches in total, as shown in the bottom row in the photo below.

Bottom row shows the side-motion stitches

Using the side-motion stitches is another good reason to use some of the functions on the Function panel.

  • Needle Up/Down pivot is good if you need to stop
  • You may want to lower the SPEED if you feel the preset speed is too fast
  • The FIX to anchor the thread at the start and end the stitch sequence
  • The STOP to stop stitching at the end of a stitch sequence
  • And the START/STOP function to operate the sewing machine

Wow! We’re using almost all the functions for one stitch.

The function panel on the Sapphire 965Q

I should have laid a ruler next to these stitches so you can see how wide they are. But doesn’t that look awesome? This particular row of stitches is almost 1⅛” wide.

Beautiful row of side-motion stitches

I used an iron-on interfacing on the back to stabilize the stitches. It was what I could find at the moment. I think the interfacing is better than a stabilizer that you remove, as I feel those stitches are going to need something to help maintain the shape.

In the sample above, I just winged it. No lines to follow and the way that the fabric is moved side to side makes it a bit hard to maintain a straight line. Don’t tell me you’ve never done that! I was experimenting after all.

So in the photo below, I drew a chalk line so I would have a better guide.

A chalk line provides a guide to follow for the side-motion stitches

You also get an idea of how much the fabric is moved from side to side. Look at the picture above and then look at the photo below.

YES, the fabric is literally moving sideways at the same time that it is moving forwards. Just when we thought we had the forward and backward motion under control.

The fabric moves left and right as the sewing machine sews the side-motion stitches

There’s my line of stitching. I actually didn’t do too badly with keeping the lines straight. It does take a bit of practice but if you go off, I wouldn’t worry unless it’s really wonky. And once that chalk line is removed, no one will notice. I bet if you did the stitching BEFORE you cut out your bag or garment piece, then cut parallel to your line of stitching, no one would ever know the line was wonky!

But isn’t that fun! Of course, when you get to the end of the stitching or when you want to end, simply hit the STOP button and the sewing machine automatically stops at the end of the stitch sequence. I absolutely love this feature as it takes the guess work out of ending the stitches.

Imagine if you had some small blocks, and you stitched this in the center of the block – that would be a cool decorative item. Oh, I wish I had incorporated these techniques into my project, but I had another vision for the project before I got into these decorative stitches.

Don’t worry, I’m going to hang onto these ideas for the next project.

Examples of side-motion stitching

Fusible interfacing on the back of the fabric provides stability

Like all the stitches on the Sapphire 965Q, there’s some flexibility in the width and the length. For this stitch, you can see that the length is 54. I don’t have the option to change the width. The settings below are for the longest stitch.

Longest stitch settings for one of the side-motion stitches

And these settings are for the shortest length. Notice how the stitch is compacted.

Shortest stitch settings for one of the side-motion stitches

The key to success with this technique is to keep the edge of the foot lined up as straight as possible with the drawn line. If you don’t keep a loose grip on the fabric, the fabric goes sideways and the stitches won’t be straight.

Keep the foot parallel to the chalk reference line

If the foot is NOT parallel to the chalk reference line, the stitching line goes wonky.

Isn’t side-motion stitching a fun technique? There’s a lot more here that I need to investigate, but there isn’t time today.

Tomorrow, we move on to a new technique. We’re going to install a zipper. And then on Friday, I’ve got a cute project for you to make. You’ll see the project tomorrow and instructions will follow on Friday.

So there you have it – one more awesome technique on the Husqvarna VIKING Sapphire 965Q.

Have a great day!


This is part 3 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 2: A clever way to raw-edge applique using dimensional stitches

Go to part 4: 3 presser feet that make inserting a zipper easy

Related posts

Make it zippy! Use this zany tip to make a zipper stop

3 presser feet that make inserting a zipper easy

A clever way to raw-edge applique using dimensional stitches


Linda Heier January 24, 2020 - 6:20 pm
Is it possible to turn off Pivot when doing Ruler work on the 965q??
Mary Clements April 3, 2017 - 4:39 pm
Thanks for this post. I am thinking of the 965Q for my next machine and all the posts about it have been very helpful!
Quilting Tangent March 29, 2017 - 10:36 am
Always liked all those fancy stitches, good seeing them used.
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