Learn to sew in a straight line

Ready, Set, Sew!

Easier said than done for some. Being handy is not for everyone and some of us need to practice certain skills before we feel confident enough to actually start a project.

I see many young moms and teenagers opting to take on sewing a few clothing items lately. Some because of need and others because they can.

Today's Blog post will be dedicated to learning how to sew in a straight line. Learn to let the material flow under the pressure foot. Learn to relax and only guide the material and not to control it. Sounds easy enough?

Step 1

Gather a few squares of tartan material or material with large and small blocks. If nothing is around, get some plain cotton material and draw your own. On one or two of the pieces of material you can draw large circles (use a small plate or saucer as a guide).

Step 2

Prepare your sewing machine. Ensure you have the right foot, needle and thread for cotton material. Thread your machine. If your machine has a speed selector, you can choose to start very slow and then increase your speed as your confidence grows.

Step 3 

Insert your material under the pressure foot, ensuring to line up your needle with one of the lines on the material. Slowly start sewing, lightly holding the material with your right hand only.  Relax and lightly guide the material only when the machine looks like it may go off the line you are sewing on. Continue sewing on the lines until it feels like you hardly have to touch the material to stay on the line. Now you can move onto the material with the circle drawings. Same principle applies but now you actively have to move the material for the needle to stay on the line. 

Step 4

Practice sewing in circles, clockwise and anti-clockwise, big circles and small circles. If your sewing machine has a needle down position, use it to allow the machine to drop the needle into the material whenever you stop.  Practice reverse sewing on the circle line as well. Use your left hand to lightly press down on the material to allow the machine pressure foot to rotate the material around your hand and stay on an even circular path, while lightly guiding the rest of the material with your right hand.

Step 5

Put two layers of material together with their right sides facing each other, and line up the edges. Time to practice to sew parallel to the edge of the material. Your machine should have guides on the table area of the sewing machine next to the pressure foot.  Use those to guide the edge of the material and that will also determine the width of your seam allowance. Start by stitching 3 or 4 stitches, then press your reverse button and stitch backwards for 3 or 4 stitches. You thread is now secured and you can stitch your seam. Repeat the same action at the end of the seam.

Step 6

Time for some zig-zag practice. Use one of the lines on your material. Set your zig-zag setting to its widest setting. Sew on the line ensuring that your needle straddles the line in an even line. Lightly control the flow of the material with one hand.

Step 7

Parallel lines: Use your pressure foot width as a guide to create parallel lines next to each other. You can achieve a very creative look by changing to a different colour thread for each line.  That way you will also practice threading your machine until you achieve the 6 second threading the manufacturer advertised with your machine wink

Have fun getting to know your machine. Once you are in control of the speed you sew at, guiding the material without clinging to it, sewing in a straight line and staying parallel to the edge of your material, it is time for your first project!  Happy sewing.

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