Sewing a straight stitch seems like the most basic of sewing skills. It is the most used type of stitching, especially when it comes to beginner sewing projects. It’s not as simple as some people make it out to be though. Keeping your seam lined up and perfectly straight doesn’t always go as smoothly as you might like. Don’t worry – there’s no need to get frustrated! We have some great tips on How to Sew a Straight Line that will have you perfecting this technique in no time at all.
Mark the seam allowance on your sewing machine.
Sometimes, a pattern may call for a seam allowance that is not indicated on your machine’s seam guide. Or, if you’re like me, you might find that sometimes it’s not always easy to see the line that’s already there. So, just add your own! Use colorful Washi tape or a low-tack painter’s tape and mark the line for yourself. This will help it stand out so much better and make it easier for you to see and follow the line. Best of all, these tapes are easily removed from your machine and they won’t leave an adhesive residue behind.
Our favorite option for marking seam allowance is the tape, but in a pinch, you could also use a wide rubber band, a hair tie, a Post-It note (some people even use a stack of them!), or even a piece of ribbon taped or tied securely around your sewing machine. If you’re looking for more of a raised edge than some of these ideas provide, instead of tape, you can use strips of moleskin.
Use your presser foot to help guide your stitching.
One of the easiest ways to line up your stitching is with the edge of the presser foot. For many basic standard presser feet typical with a lot of sewing machines, this will give you a 1/8 to ¼ inch seam allowance. Measure yours (if you’re not already sure how much seam allowance it provides) and use it when appropriate.
Purchase a seam guide.
Of course, you can’t sew everything with the same seam allowance! So, what can you do? Adjustable guide presser feet are available as well as adhesive seam guides which is what I prefer to use.
If you have a metal sewing machine, there are magnetic seam guides available. This won’t work for an electronic machine as it might not be safe to place a magnet near its computerized parts. The magnets are quite strong which means they won’t move easily. That’s great when it comes to sewing a straight line, but be aware that it can be difficult to move when you need to change seam allowance sizes.
All three of these guides work really well because they offer a solid edge to keep your fabric in line.
Other tips for sewing straight:
As with anything, practice makes perfect. Some people have found stitching the lines on lined paper really helpful in getting the feel for how to sew straight.
You can use a washable fabric marker or sewing chalk to mark the stitch line on your fabric too. This is especially helpful for decorative or top-stitching.
We’ve got a great guide to sewing a basic straight seam that you should check out for even more tips!
Straight stitching is an essential technique in pretty much any sewing project. If you’re having difficulties with it, give one of these simple sewing hacks a try. It won’t be long before you’re sewing straight seams with confidence! What will your next sewing project be?