“Practice makes perfect” and sewing perfectly straight lines takes practice. However I have a few tips for sewing straight lines that will get you off on the right foot. It’s not difficult to sew a straight line and it will make a marked improvement on your project’s perfect outcome.
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Sewing A Straight Line Video
Here are step-by-step video instructions to help you sew a straight line. It is the first step to sewing beautiful garments, quilts, and home decor.
Start To Sew A Straight Line
Practicing your sewing technique on paper. This allows you to stitch lines over and over without wasting fabric. The paper is a little stiffer than most fabrics and offers more stability for beginners.
Once you have a feel for your machine and guiding the paper on a straight line through the needle, it’s time to move to practice fabric.
Typically two pieces of fabric are sewn together. You start by matching up the fabric edge of each piece and pin perpendicular to the seam line. You will use this technique when sewing seams on all your garments, quilts, and home decor.
When you begin a seam, start with your fabric just a smidge past the needle. Drop the presser foot, sink your needle into the fabric. Take a stitch forward, then back tack a few stitches to secure the seam. This method will keep your fabric from getting jammed into the throat plate and causing all kinds of headaches. Not to mention, ruining your fabric.
Measuring The Seam Allowance
The seam allowance markings on your machine’s throat plate are there to guide your stitches while keeping you on track with your desired pattern sewing requirements.
Many US pattern companies use a standard 5/8″ seam allowance while European and independent pattern companies typically use 3/8″ seam allowance. Each pattern size is gauged with a certain measurement and it should be stipulated in the instruction portion of your pattern. It is imperative to keep your seam allowances straight and the correct size to get the fit outcome you are expecting.
It is important to sew with an eye to keep your seam allowance uniform. When your seam allowances are out of whack, you can effectively change the size of your garment. For instance, if the project calls for a 5/8 inch seam allowance and you sew it at 3/8 inch or 1/2 inch, the project will be bigger than the pattern states. Conversely if your seam allowance is bigger than the pattern requirements your garment will be too small.
The goal is to sew straight lines and keep the seam allowances uniform.
Your sewing machine manual will describe the options you have for stitch length and type of stitch options. When you are learning, a basic straight stitch is your best option. The largest stitch on your machine is a basting stitch, a straight stitch that is at 5 or 6 mm. How long to make your straight stitch depends on the fabric you are sewing and the type of needle and thread you use. Typically a garment stitch is between 2.5 and 3.5 mm long .
The right tool for the job makes the job easier. Learning to sew on your grandmother’s machine or one you picked up at a yard sale is fine when you practiced sewing straight lines. However, once you start sewing garments, quilting, or home decor projects you will want a sewing machine that is reliable.
Additionally, you want tools like pins that aren’t bent and thread that hasn’t started to rot away.
I’ve listed a few of my favorite tools and corresponding write-ups that will make your sewing projects easier and more stable.
Let’s talk pins! We will look at three common pins used in sewing: silk pins, glass head pins, and quilting pins. In my Pin Primer we cover what types of pins you want to have on hand and my favorite pins – glass head pins — and why you want them for your sewing projects.
“I can’t count the times a sewist comes to me with a project and proudly displays a box of her grandmother, auntie, or mom’s sewing thread. You know that precious sewing box that holds all the latest tools and thread colors from the 1950s! Think about what has been happening to that thread all these years. It has aged, deteriorated, and is no longer state-of-the-art construction material.” You will want to explore the different types of thread on the market and how they will impact your sewing project. Read more about thread here.
I just purchased a new Bernette. It’s a nice middle of the road machine and has all the bells and whistles you really need. It sews beautiful button holes, has a needle down option, thread snipper, and more. I’ve highlighted the unboxing and some of the features here.
Projects For Beginners
It’s always difficult to know where to start. I have listed Seven Beginner Sewing Projects that will have you loving your results.
Patterns For Beginners
When you are ready to purchase a pattern, take a look at my list of Favorite Beginner Pattern Companies.
My students ask me all the time — where do I get really nice fabric? I love shopping online, because who can get to New York or London everytime you feel the need to make something. Here is my list of Favorite Online Sewing Stores. You will love window shopping through your computer browser.
How To Sew A Straight Line
Time to stop reading and get stitching. Let’s practice and perfect how to sew a straight line.
Make your garments better with my 21 Tips To Take Your DIY Garment From Homemade To High End
Do you love Sew Alongs and Sewing Tips and Tricks – My Youtube channel Barrett’s Custom Design is filled with great sewing techniques served up with a few laughs.
In my Sewing With Sandi Etsy Shop has over 500 hard to find women’s, men’s, and children’s patterns along with costume and craft patterns. You will find little girls’ bows, a few sewing notions, sewing kits, but mostly lots and lots of patterns. If you are looking for personalized sewing instruction, one-to-one zoom time, discounts, and exclusive pattern drafting and sewing videos then check out a membership at Sewing With Sandi. We will make beautiful clothes together.