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Reverse Stitch: How Do I Make My Sewing Machine Go in Reverse? (2023)

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Cars do it all the time. Backing up can be a strategic move when you need to get to your destination. The same principle applies to sewing. When going backwards, make sure your sewing destination and ready to go. It’s a prominent feature to have at your disposal.

How do I make my sewing machine fail? This is not a universal function. The machines with this function have a lever that you push down or a button that you press to change the sewing direction. These levers are simple and easy to operate, but can sometimes be fragile.

Read our article for more information on how to reverse your sewing machine. It explores the topic so that beginners know what to do if they want to sew in the opposite direction.

The history of the reverse function

In our research for this article, we looked at when the first reverse function on a sewing machine. To our disappointment, this addition to the many features on a sewing machine is not significant enough to be listed.

It seems the feature just hit the scene with no fanfare. Regardless of its historical value, the reverse function is an important function that helps many seamstresses complete their projects properly and make those projects last a long time.

What is a reverse stitch?


In very basic terms, reverse stitching is a technique used to secure your original forward stitches. We use this technique at the beginning and end of a seam to ensure that we hold those original stitches in place.

In addition, the reverse stitch is a reinforcement of the original stitches. forward stitches. The end of the seams are very stressful and often need help to stay where they . The reverse stitch does all that and keeps your clothes intact for a long time.

It is easy to sew in reverse as you are only busy with what you already have. finished and add another layer of stitches to hold that fabric swam in place. You may also have heard of reverse sewing by its other name, which is topstitching.

You can backstitch by hand if that is your preferred method, but sewing machines have that technique easier to perform if the handle or button is not defective.

That is one of the biggest problems you will encounter if you have a sewing machine with a reverse switch or button. They of the most sturdy material and have a tendency to break at the wrong time.

Backstitch sewing

The device that activates the reverse stitch function may differ from the device on the machine of your friend. There are two ways to activate the reverse function and the first is by pressing a simple lever.

The second is by pressing a button. You would think that simplicity would keep problems away, but it isn’t. Be careful when pressing those levers and buttons.

The location of the lever or button may not always be in the same place on different brands of sewing machines. Consult the user manual if you are unsure where it is on yours. One page should have a diagram showing the different parts and their location.

These buttons and handles are wrong may be difficult to find, because many sewing machine brands use symbols and not words to communicate all the functions of each button. Those models with touch screen may have the reverse function that is operated via the touch screen.

It’s hard to say, as brands are getting innovative with technology advances.

How do you perform reverse sewing on a sewing machine?


There may be different instructions for each of the different brands of sewing machines, the following is from Brother and one of his help pages:

First make sure the needle is already in the fabric. Not only to touch, but also in the fabric. Second, depending on whether you are using the start / stop button or the foot control, touch either to sew forward.

After sewing 4 to 5 stitches, press the reverse button but do not stop sewing. Hold down the reverse button and depress the foot control while waiting for the machine to change direction.

Finally, when you have reached the first stitch, release the reverse button and take your foot off the foot controller. That’s all there is to it. To move forward again, press the start / stop button or press the foot control and the machine will automatically start sewing forward again.

When you are at the other end of the seam, repeat the process to reverse the stitch at that end. Do not forget to hold down that reverse button after they have sewn the last 4 to 5 stitches forward.

What is a reverse sewing lever?

The reverse sewing lever is a simpler control tool for the reverse sewing function. It should be a lot easier to handle as most times you don’t have to hold down the lever while the machine is sewing in reverse.

The only drawback of this lever is that it can differ on different models of sewing machines. For an older Bernina, it actually built the lever into the stitch length dial. You had to move it up or down to sew in reverse.

Other models had a simple rectangular piece of plastic on the back of the machine that you pushed down to make this possible. the reverse function. Whatever style your machine has can be one of these or something completely different.

If you don’t know where your shuttle lever is, see your owner’s manual to find the location.. There is an unlicensed sewing machine, unnamed sewing machine that was used on one website to list all the parts of the sewing machine.

They mentioned the reverse sewing lever in the numerical list, but they do not find the number in the picture. It can be that difficult to find this lever.

When sewing in reverse, should you hold down the reverse button?


If you read the section on reverse sewing, you know that one of some Brother models is the case. You must continuously hold down the reverse button until you have finished sewing in reverse.

That function makes it very tricky and ties a hand for no real reason. This design can appear on several models as the general directions for using the reverse stitch feature state you must hold the button down all the time.

A set of instructions for Singer do does not tell you to hold down the button while sewing in reverse. they just tell you to press the U-shaped arrow and start sewing. Pressing the wrong button on a Singer will turn the machine off and back on to reset it.

Make sure to press the right button when it turns on. The best thing to do with the model of sewing machine you have is to go to the page that talks about the reverse button or lever and see the instructions provided by the maker.

Every machine has to be different and some models do not require you to hold the button.

Reverse sewing on a Bernina

Different Bernina sewing machines have different ways to activate the reverse function. One model, the 1230, has a small lever with a spring and a cap on it. As soon as you press the small lever, the spring engages the reverse function and you can sew in the opposite direction.

The 1008 model is as we previously described. It built the reverse lever into the stitch length dial, the third from the top in a row of 4 dials at the back of the machine. You lift dial up to make the machine sew in reverse.

For other models, the Bernina Sewing Machine Company posts many tutorial videos online. to help you with your individual sewing machine and its many functions. The manual for the 200 model says to press a quick reverse button on the front of the machine.

The machine does not stop until mQlB5P9iiwGO.nv1FnINE. There are several specialty stitches you can select to do a temporary reverse stitch before the machine moves forward again. Those stitches are # 3, # 5, # 324 # 332. Refer to your Owner’s Manual to see what those stitch selections do when selected.

Reverse sewing on a singer


The first thing to know is that different Singer models have different reverse buttons and levers. On the machines that have the button, be careful to hit the one with the U-shaped arrow. If you see a U-shaped arrow with a number above it, that’s not the button to press.

As with Bernina sewing machines, you may need to use the right presser foot before sewing in reverse. However, before you press that button, you need to sew 2 to 3 stitches forward, then press the button and then sew about 3 stitches in reverse.

When you , press and then press the button again to release it or just take your finger off and the machine will sew forward again. Repeat the procedure again when you reach the end of the seam or the area you need reinforced stitching.

Singer suggests starting about 1/2 inch from the raw edge. edge before sewing in reverse, then go almost to the raw edge before going back to the front. Then repeat that procedure on the other end of your sewing line.

Check your manuals if these instructions do not work for your sewing machine model. The manufacturers to just one backward way.

When to use reverse stitch

There are times when you should use the reverse stitch function and sometimes you should not suppose to do. The major time it will take to use this feature is when you are working on a seam and the front and back of your stitch pattern need to be reinforced.

Although you can do a reverse stitch or a so-called backstitch in the center of the seam, this is unnecessary. The ends of the seam will receive the most tension and these are the areas that need reinforcement the most.

If a stitch in the middle is not working properly, you can use your seam ripper to cut those stitches then sew them forward and backward to reinforce that weakened area.

Even if there is a pleat in the center of your seam, you can take out a small portion of the stitches and fix the pleat. Once attached, you can sew across that area in both forward and reverse directions.

So you may reverse a stitch without the ends of the seam. In most cases outside the ends of the seam, it is up to your discretion whether you reverse in those areas. The purpose of the sewing project will help you determine if you need stabilizer in other areas of the garment.

Can you sew in reverse with a walking foot?


There are different opinions on this subeeect. A Bernina owner claims I designed her walking foot both forward and backward. One Black model may also sew a few reverse stitches without ruining the walking foot.

Those who disagree and follow the rule of thumb that says there is no deterioration when using a walking foot may have used a cheaper option. those cheaper walking foot models may not allow reversing and they get confused if you try.

An older Janome model will not work well in reverse if you do. with your walking foot. The newer models may have taken this issue into account and made some changes as some owners claim they can reverse with their foot on their Janome machines.

Basically it depends on the model of the walking foot whether you can use it to sew in reverse or not. I created not all walking foot models equal and it can be a guessing game which can and cannot sew backwards.

Juki is another great brand where you may sew backwards with your walking foot. There can only be individual models who don’t and the reason for that can just be a business decision. The ones that can’t may be cheaper and easier to sell.

Embroidery stitches and back stitches are not the same

Some seamstresses may think the two are interchangeable and of the same type bee sting. they are not, and the backstitch can even add bulk to those sheer fabrics you love to wear. The lockstitch can also disturb the natural structure of the fabric.

The overlook stitch does not add bulk and on translucent fabrics to improve natural flow and drape. of the material. It also works on those fabrics that come with a large, flowing curtain.

The overlook stitch is just a smaller stitch sewn over another stitch to hold that original stitch in place. It takes two threads to work properly, the top and bobbin threads. The reverse stitch with the hook and top thread.

The lockstitch then uses less thread than the reverse or backstitch. Then the first stitch uses an interlocking system to work, while the last uses both the interlocking and interlocking styles.

The good news with all of this is that many sewing machine models come with both functions, so you don’t have to hand fasten or sew. But you can make overlook stitch by hand if desired.

Some final words

Reversing a sewing machine is a matter of pressing the right button or the right lever to press. The complicated part of that simple operation is that the buttons and levers aren’t always in the same place, they don’t always look the same, and they don’t always work the same way.

Refer to your owner’s manual to find the location of the lever or button and see what it says about its operation. Different models will be available and work differently.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.