If you see a sloppy loop on the back then your under or top tension may be wrong. You can adjust this according to the manual of your sewing machine.
(Stitched) Zigzag Stitch
The zigzag stitch is used for finishing all types of fabric. This stitch ensures that your fabric will not fray. Basically this stitch is not suitable for elastic fabrics. But this is the stitched zigzag stitch. As the name suggests, it is the same as the zigzag stitch. The big difference, however, is that there are small interruptions. This stitch can also be used with elastic fabrics. The Overlocking Thread UK also works like that.
Some sewing machines also have a standard overlock stitch setting. It looks like a zigzag stitch with some extras. You get the same kind of effect as with a lock machine. This means that it is perfectly suitable for finishing edges, hems and seams. The big difference with a lock machine is the speed and the fact that you will still have to cut the fabric manually at the end. In addition, not all sewing machines are equally good at making this stitch and when you have to do large quantities, a lock machine may be preferred. A requirement (or at least a handy tool) is having a so-called lock foot. This prevents the edge of your fabric from becoming crooked.
(Elastic) Blindhem Stitch
You use this stitch to make a blind hem (more about seams and seams) in non-stretch fabrics. If you do have a stretchy fabric, use the elastic blindhem stitch. A blind hem foot is often required for this stitch, or at least strongly recommended. You can read more about hemming here .
(Elastic) Scallop Stitch
Just like the blindhem stitch, this stitch is especially for creating hems. You get nice rounded hems with a kind of half circles at the bottom. It is a decorative way of hemming that you see especially in women’s clothing. Read more about this zoom and how you do it exactly here .
Embroidery is usually done by hand but can be enormously time consuming, especially when you want to make a large project you sometimes do not want to have to spend too much time embroidering. Fortunately, some sewing machines have a special position for embroidery stitches. This gives you thick stitches that look like “real” embroidery. If you have a very luxurious machine, you can even have the embroidery patterns read in and let the sewing machine do the work automatically! These often have a hefty price tag (think € 1000 +) but luckily you can also embroider with less luxurious machines. For this you will have to work with some precision.
Other Types Of Stitches
As mentioned, there are also stitches that vary per machine / brand. For example, Pfaff has a stitch that is called the “Greek stitch” and leaves a special pattern. We all do not name these as they are machine specific. If you have a machine with a stitch that we don’t mention here but you don’t know what it is? Then look it up in the manual. For example, Singer has a complete overview of their stitch types online, perfect for snooping in if you want to know more about the different types.