|Bargello and Frodo|
Why a straight stitch machine? I have lots of other machines, all of which will make a straight stitch in addition to zig-zagging, making decorative stitches, and even doing embroidery. Simple answer: straight stitch machines make better straight stitches. If you are sewing miles of straight stitches, cutting them up and sewing them back together again (i.e. piecing a quilt top) precision sewing really helps prevent cussing and tearing your hair.
You can see the reason that straight stitch machines make superior straight stitches in a flash if you own both kinds of machine. Do your own quickie smackdown (no sewing required).
TWO MINUTE SMACKDOWN: STRAIGHT VERSUS ZIG-ZAG
Examine the needle (aka throat) plates of both machines (that's the whole two minute smackdown, by the way)
|15-91 Needle Plate|
- The straight stitch machine has a tiny round hole for the needle to go through. All of the rest of the fabric is being supported by the needle plate. As the needle pierces the fabric, it pokes downward but the area of fabric that can get distorted is no bigger than that little bitty needle hole.
- The zig-zag machine has an oval hole to accomodate the wider stitches, and it bigger in both width and length. Bigger hole, more instability.
|Singer 401 Throat Plates, Straight Stitch and Zig-Zag|
There may be other reasons for the superiority of straight stitch machines for straight stitching. The needle isn't meant to jump around--it wasn't designed to move. Also, the feed dogs are pushing on a lot more fabric on a zig-zag machine. If you have any opinions on whether these make a difference or not, please chime in!