What is a jump stitch?

A “jump” stitch is a length of thread that joins the two non-adjacent areas of stitching without clipping the thread. The machine is stitching in one area and needs to move to another area to continue stitching with the same color.  In the above picture, the jump stitches are C to F, C to E, and D to E, joining the red and blue dots.

Sometimes these lengths of thread need to be clipped, sometimes, not. Using the above picture, let’s consider some things.

How long should this length be?

The spacing between the non-adjacent areas will determine the length of this stitch.

You need to remember that these stitches are typically clipped from the finished piece.

  • If you are doing lettering, how far apart are your letters? The further apart they are, the more likely jump stitches will be needed and have to be clipped.
  • Font style will also play a part in your decision. Block letters are more likely to require jump stitches than cursive style fonts.
  • The longer the jump stitch, the easier it is to grab with your fingers or a pair of tweezers so it can be clipped.
  • Sometimes only the top thread needs to be clipped. The bobbin thread can remain. However, if this stitch is too long, and the bobbin thread is not clipped, it may get caught on other objects that may be underneath it. Think here in terms of embroidered jackets and shirt pockets underneath with pens in the pockets.

Where should the beginning and end locations be?

If you are going to use jump stitches, I suggest the following:

  • Make them as long as possible for ease of clipping as in moving from C to E above.
  • Do not stitch over them making thereby making them shorter and harder to clip as in moving from C to F above.

Will the threads be stitched over?

When you are digitizing, will you be stitching the red and blue dots before or after the green box?

  • If before,
    • Then it is possible to not have the threads clipped provided you use the D & E points of entry.
    • Point B also will be stitched over. (more on A & B later)
    • Sometimes, these stitches will show through. For example, a black jump stitch showing through white top stitching.
  • If after,
    • All threads need to be clipped. C & F and C & E jump stitches will always need to be clipped because they are crossing over the finished the red and blue stitched areas.

Tackdown Points A & B

Points A & B are really tack down stitches. The machine ties a “knot” underneath before it uses a jump stitch to get itself into the area to be stitched.

  • Point A:
    • Point A is problematic because it appears outside the design.
    • If this is in fabric,
      • The stitcher will likely want to clip it, but will have difficulty because it is typically made too short.
      • If the stitcher can get the stitch out, the knot may still remain.
    • If this is free standing lace,
      • The stitcher will likely want to clip it because it will otherwise be just dangling from the lace.
  • Point B:
    • Point B has the potential to be problematic.
    • It can be stitched over by subsequent stitching thereby minimizing its problems.
    • However, if it is stitched on top of a finished area, the stitcher runs the risk of clipping the previous stitches or the bobbin threads underneath which are holding those previous stitches together.
    • “Foreign” splashes of color in a previously stitched area may look unnatural or even sloppy.

Points C, D, E, and F are also tack down but they are within their respective areas of stitching and not really problematic. Use your software to ensure these points are not being stitched through and move them accordingly.  (more on tack downs in another post.)


Do you really need jump stitches?

I’ll say probably not. With a little more thought, you may actually be able to eliminate them.


Things to keep in mind:

  • Plan your design accordingly. What are you stitching first, second, and so forth.
  • Use your software to place your jump stitches. Do not just accept the software default. You do not want other stitching to stitch over this thread. It may make it more difficult to trim later.
  • Make your jump stitches as long as possible for ease of clipping
  • Eliminate to the extent possible, the number of jump stitches.
    • Rethink your design.
    • Rethink your stitching order.
    • Can you add or remove something in your design.
  • Better yet, don’t jump. Use traveling or running stitches to move to the next point. (More on running stitches in another post.)
  • Even better still, clipping the stitches with the machine before moving saves the clipping later.
    • It may slow down the embroidery process, however, it automates the mundane and frustrating task of clipping. Machines are faster the people anyway – you know that right?
    • Machine clipping is something older embroiderers would appreciate with their arthritic hands and diminishing eyesight.
    • Machine clipping also allows the stitcher to stop the machine and change thread colors. The stitcher may not always agree with your choice of colors for the subject.
  • Free standing lace: You may want to use running stitches instead of jump and avoid clipping. Lace is meant to be seen from both sides. Too much clipping may spoil the look of the back side.
  • Avoid A & B when digitizing! Please, please remember this. My personal opinion is that this is just sloppy and should NOT be done.
    • Unfortunately, when buying designs from others, it is impossible to determine, prior to purchasing, how well a design is digitized or how many jump stitches there are. My current project is something from a “big box” company and it is riddled with these points. I have been trying to pick them out of the project and I have only sometimes been successful. Luckily, this is not a gift for anyone. I’m just trying to organize my sewing room. But still, I don’t like looking at it.