Jaguar · Stitch library

The Jaguar fancy stitches

The Jaguar sewing machines from 1970s had amazing fancy stitches. The machines were branded in Europe as Frister & Rossmann, and in America as Kenmore 158, see my recent post for more details.

Three Jaguar machines. From left to right: Sears Kenmore 158.1756 (flat bed built into a table), Frister+Rossmann 804 (flat bed stand alone) and Frister+Rossmann 504 (free arm)

โ€‹Having played with these machines for a while, I thought it would be useful to make an overview of all the different fancy stitches they could sew, based on the cam numbers. I think I’ve got them all or nearly all, so it should be reasonably useful.

There are a few common points to note about the fancy stitches:

  • Reducing zig-zag width makes for a narrower ribbon, so the designs look stretched out.ย If you reduce zig-zag width gradually while sewing, you can get an interesting effect with some designs.
  • Some designs are found as satin stitches on single layer cams as well as the basis for reverse motion stitches on double layer cams. You can sew the satin stitch if you disengage the reverse motion layer on machines that have the knob to do it (mostly Kenmore). I have marked such cams in the samples below (e.g., 13=27). On machines that cannot disengage the reverse motion layer, you need the separate single layer cam in order to sew the satin stitches.
  • The amount of reverse motion in each stitch can be varied as a proportion of the forward motion. This produces several patterns from one cam, in addition to the “base” pattern when the reverse motion layer is disengaged. Not all base patterns make sense on their own though. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Increasing stitch length makes the design longer – it looks stretched out. Not all settings of the reverse motion regulator make sense with every stitch length, it depends on the design. Try it out! Some combinations can make the overall design move backwards or turn in place. If this happens, increase the stitch length and try again.

I have grouped the stitches by type, so cam numbers are not always in order.

Satin stitch cams

These are basic embroidery stitches done with single layer cams.

  • Set stitch length to very short, for satin stitch.
  • Since these cams do not use reverse, the stretch variance knob has no effect.


May be cam 16 is not strictly an embroidery stitch – I can see it being used in edge-to-edge seams.

Line drawing stitches

These stitches use reverse motion, so they come on double layer cams.

  • Set stitch length to very short, almost like for satin stitch. But longer lengths could also work, try it out!
  • Increasing reverse motion will put individual patterns closer together or even overlay them, creating new designs.
  • Base patterns with reverse motion disabled are quite nice on some of these!


Criss-cross stitches

These patterns resemble redwork or cross-stitch.


  • Pattern 25 without reverse motion is the same as 17, and 27 is the same as 13.
  • Pattern 28 can turn in place making those “teeth” if the stitch length is set too short.
  • Pattern 29 makes a nice “dotted” straight stitch with an occasional backtuck when zig-zag width is set to zero.
  • Pattern 36 without reverse motion resembles pattern 11, but it is not the same.

Utility stitches

I kept these till last because in a way they are the most complicated of the lot. Machines that have built-in stitches and also take external cams, make it possible to create new stitches by combining the built-in base pattern with the reverse motion pattern of any cam. Wow!

Some machines come with a basic reverse motion cam number 20, otherwise cam 33 has the same effect. In the following samples, combinations with cam 20 or 33 are unmarked, but all the other ones have the cam added, e.g., +48 means to insert cam 48.

  • Cam 1 is basic zig-zag, but it is not always built in! So don’t loose yours.


  • Cam 2 (blind stitch) is perhaps the most versatile of all cams – it combines with many reverse motion patterns producing useful utility stitches.

  • Cam 6 (stitched zig-zag) makes the waffle โ€‹stitch with cam 20 or 33, the feather stitch with cam 35 and an interesting slanted stitch with cam 29 shown in the previous photo.

  • Cam 19 is a single layer external cam in my machines, so I cannot try it with reverse motion cams. It is shown with different โ€‹stitch lengths.

  • Cam 28 is repeated here because I think that it would make a good stitch for felled seams, in particular in its denser forms like on the bottom row.

  • Cam 3 is the same as the base pattern of cam 33.
  • Cam 35 makes a single mock overlock stitch, but note that its maximum height is only half of a regular zig-zag.โ€‹

  • Cam 48 makes a double mock overlock stitch.โ€‹

If you have any other cams not listed here, do let us know! ๐Ÿ™‚

Buy me a coffeeBuy me a coffee ๐Ÿ™‚

7 thoughts on “The Jaguar fancy stitches

  1. Wow, this brings back memories! I remember as a child seeing patterns 30-34 demonstrated at Sears and being fascinated by them, especially the ducks. It’s interesting, too, because it makes me think about later vintage machines that focused on making the latter stitches you’ve demonstrated easier to produce. For example, on my vintage machine, you can get something similar to the crisscross stitches by pushing a lever on top of the machine and adjusting the v-stitch lever, whereas the quack-quacks would have to be done by doing some combo thing if it’s even possible. It seems like a reversal in development, however crisscross stitches could be more important for particular fancy seams. I just looked at the manual that goes with my vintage machine, and it seems crisscross stitching wasn’t even considered embroidery. It’s in the chapter on special seam stitches. For reference, I’ve got a 1986 Spanish Refrey machine. So, historically, this is fascinating! Also, I want to embroider some ducks on everything on now! LOL.


    1. Tony, I think they are swans, not ducks. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Ok, pretty fat-necked swans. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Making fancy stitches with levers was actually invented before the cams, Singer used it in 1950s. The cams are built in, and you combine them to make designs. Whether it makes it harder or easier, depends on your perspective. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I don’t think you’ll be able to produce swans (even with fat necks) or tail-biting fish or Christmas trees because those designs require a very fine correlation between the left-right needle motion and the feed. So I’m afraid you’ll need a Kenmore 158 to do duck-looking swans, or you could try Janome’s Memory Craft 6000 which has dogs, penguins, butterflies, umbrellas and airplanes instead. ๐Ÿ™‚

      As to which stitches are “embroidery” and which are “utility”, this is entirely up to you. Many of them could be used in different ways! But perhaps not the ducky swans. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Why don’t you experiment with your Refrey and see what kind of stitches you can make? How wacky can you go? Your machine has a different design, so it will have different capabilities where fancy stitches are concerned!

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      1. I’ve thought about doing that, just like you have done with this lovely machine. I think I might in the near future!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I started doing it with my machines recently – sewing samples of all available fancy stitches for reference. It’s much easier to look up stitches on a sewn sample than on a drawing on cams! And you also start noticing that common designs actually vary between machines. I still have a few more machines to go though. ๐Ÿ™‚ Necchi Supernova will be interesting – the manual claims an infinity of designs… ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I don’t know if I have a cloth long enough!

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  2. Wow! I love all these fabulous fancy stitches! They’re so cool and must be so much fun to play around with! ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Hi Elena, Right below cam 1 and before cam 2 in your picture is a triple stretch stitch. I thought that was done with cam 21 only but 21 is not listed in your description/blog. On a file I have seen cam 21 listed as “wide zig zag” and in another blog as a triple stretch stitch. Were you able to do this from a number 1 cam? Also, I am trying to find a description of cam 33 with picture. It is called an elastic. I really like your blogs and thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge, experiences, and expertise. Best regards, Mike K.


    1. Hi Mike,
      Some cams were duplicated and some cams were built in, but different models have different built-in cams and different capabilities for turning them on or off. Cam 33 is shown towards the end of the post.


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