How To Use Start/Stop On Your Sewing Machine


Quilting Contessa covers the fascinating ways you can use your sewing machine if you can't use the foot pedal. Read, enjoy, and share...

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How To Use Start/Stop On Your Sewing Machine

Let's say that you have broken your leg and can't use the foot pedal on your sewing machine. But you have a handy Start/Stop button, so all is well. This article is going to help you learn to use it.

How To Use Start/Stop On Your Sewing Machine


When you are riding in a car but not driving, do you still slam your foot into the floorboard to make the car stop? We all do! This is called muscle memory. Our foot has had so much experience in stopping the car; it just knows what to do even if your brain hasn't quite caught up.


Athletes spend huge amounts of practice time trying to develop muscle memory. Quilters try to develop muscle memory as well when we practice free motion quilting 15-20 minutes every day.


Well, your foot also has muscle memory when you use your sewing machine. What is interesting about the Start/Stop button is that our brain seems to reason OK when we need to start. However, stopping is a different situation entirely.



For example, we need to stop or at least slow down to remove a pin. Yelling "STOP" at the machine doesn't work. The sewing machine continues to sew right through the pin.

sew pin


The handy light on the Start/Stop button even changes color to help us with this task. It is green when it's ready to start and red when it needs to stop. Because traffic lights are red for stop, one would think our brains could handle this; but no.



Here are the hints that might help you develop muscle memory for the Start/Stop button.

  • Start small. Wind some bobbins using only the Start/Stop button
  • Slow down the speed of your machine. It will give you more time to react
  • Place a safety pin or a colored sticky dot on the fabric near where you need to stop as a warning. Your brain will notice that something is out of place
  • Your left hand will work on the Start/Stop button so you don't need to release your fabric with your right hand. If you are strongly right-handed, this takes some practice too
  • Use one of the techniques for making fabric from small pieces such as mile a minute. This will give you a lot of practice in a short amount of time


We'd all like to have a computer like the one Capt. Picard had on Star Trek. "Jason, stop!" (Jason being the name of the sewing machine, of course).


I think I just may have come across a solution. My sewing machine has a USB port.



I think I'm going to plug Alexa into the sewing machine. Alexa already knows the word "STOP"! Maybe I can even teach her "forward", "back", and the names of the common stitches!



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Accessories that are available for sewing machines and are especially made for quilting.
Free Motion Quilting
Method of quilting where the feed dogs of a sewing machine are lowered or covered and the quilter controls the movement of the fabric under the needle.
A large central star, made up of diamond shaped fabric or a square with right triangles, to form the star points from the center out.
Debi Warner
Author and humorist, Debi Warner, retired after many years as a clinical librarian and information specialist. She has her Master’s in Library and Information Science and achieved a Distinguished level in the Medical Library Association’s Association of Health Information Professionals. She has worked on teaching physicians to use computers and electronic resources. She also worked on several grants teaching the public how to use the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus public database and is co-author of several articles on health literacy. She took up quilting after retirement in 2012 and chaired the Rio Grande Valley Quilt Show in 2019. She currently teaches several quilting classes over Zoom and writes for QuiltingHub.
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