Straight Stitch Throat Plate - Back to School Blog Hop with Guest Blogger, Trish Frankland

Hi! This is Trish Frankland from QUILTchicken  and I’ve taken over Kim’s blog today as part of Sam Hunter’s Back to School Blog Hop. My topic today is the STRAIGHT-STITCH THROAT PLATE for your sewing machine.


I have an older Pfaff (a 7570) that I adore – except that it’s prone to jamming the tips of my stitching down into the bobbin case and chewing them up rather than stitch a nice clean seam. Sometimes this happens right at the start of a seam, but it invariably happens when I offer triangle points – my Pfaff monster snacks them down like Doritos!

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I know quilters who start and end every seam with a little scrap of fabric to avoid this problem – heck, Bonnie K. Hunter even wrote an entire book on how to make the most of those “leaders and enders.” 

And lots of people hold the tail ends when they start a seam - which is really just playing tug-of-war with the monster. I kept wishing there was a better answer. And there is.

Take a look at the bed of your sewing machine: see the slot where your needle goes up and down through to your bobbin case? It’s shaped like a slot because your machine has all those fancy stitches and to sew them requires left-and-right needle action. That wiggle room is the portal that allows the monster to eat your piecing.


We can replace that throat plate with one designed for straight stitching – it has a small hole for the needle passage, rather than a slot. It’s an available option for most machines (the plates snap off and on super quick for changes on the go). IMG_0536Check with your brand dealer.
Instantly, no more tears! Well, almost no more tears: because if you forget you have the straight stitch throat plate on and try to zig zag there may well be crying. You’ll break a needle INSTANTLY.


Some manufacturers put a red dot, an icon, or some reminder that you have the straight stitch throat plate on. Perhaps you’d like to add a fancy fingernail polish stripe to the front edge to remind yourself. Mine doesn’t have that, and I’ll admit that one night it took me 3 needles and a whole machine rethread before I figured out what the problem was: You can’t change the needle position with the straight-stitch plate on. (For the same reason, my plastic ¼” foot has a chunk out of the side of the needle hole. I’ve never claimed brilliance.)

But don’t be afraid to try this tip. It’s a way to easily improve your accuracy and your stitching pleasure. I didn’t even know such a thing existed until a couple years ago (a decade into my sewing obsession), and I cannot overstate how much this discovery rocked my quilty little world!

PS: While you have the plate off your machine, take the time to clean inside (Megan offered tips for that earlier in the month at http://thebitchystitcher.blogspot.com/)

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Did you love the tip from Trish?  Check out what 32 other talented quilter’s had to share with you all to help make your quilting world better!

1 comment:

  1. It's a good idea to clean out the feed dogs from time to time. I've learned the hard way that not doing so causes skipped stitches and broken thread.

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