August 2, 2009

Sew Basically: Sewing Straight Lines


My mom first taught me to sew when I was 6 years old. My attention span was about 2.5 seconds, and the machine was like my race car. The idea of carefully sewing a strait line was not even an option in my busy little mind.

So when I get emails from dear readers asking "How on earth do I sew a straight line?!"-I can totally relate!

But the answer is incredibly simple! That is, if you're older than 6. :o)

Do you see those little lines on the plate under the needle on your machine?? They are your friends. The trick to sewing a strait line is to keep your fabric aligned with one of those lines at ALL times. This means that you should actually not be looking at the needle, so much, as just to the side of the needle.
Which line you match your fabric up with depends on how large you'd like your seams to be.



For most of my sewing, I actually line my fabric up with the side of my presserfoot, because it gives me just the right width of hem.



One thing that I have also heard people recommend it practicing on lined paper. I've never really tried this out (except to take this photo!), but it's worth a shot!

The last thing I'd strongly urge you to do is slow. down. When first sewing, it's always a good idea to do it as slowly as it takes for you to be able to do it correctly. And as it becomes more familiar to you, you will naturally be faster and faster, but with the same great results!

With all that being said, I think I should tell you that after years of sewing, my lines are not always straight! Sometimes I get impatient, and I'm 6 years old all over again. :o)

Good luck!

32 comments:

  1. I love your blog and thanks for these sewing tutorials. They are sharpening my newly acquired sewing skills! I cannot wait for the one on how to make ruffles!

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  2. Just a side note on your paper practice session; you don't have to thread your machine (save your thread for when u start sewing fabric). You can also practice corners and (spirals) circles. Just line the paper up yourself, make a few copies and practice practice till u get it right.

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  3. thanks Disney,
    i am really going to enjoy learning from your tutorials i can tell!

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  4. Oh yes, these tutorials are GREAT...thank you! I need all the help I can get, tee hee.

    Jamie :)

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  5. These beginner tutorials are awesome! thanks for sharing :-)

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  6. My grandmother, who taught home economics for thirty years has a number of little tricks for sewing basics! She showed me how to extend those little lines on the plate by simply laying down a piece of tape or a band-aid (even a cute decorative one!) to help you keep the fabric straight!

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  7. Just recently found your blog AND just started sewing (got a machine for Christmas). This is so helpful. Thank you!

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  8. I'm so glad to have found this blog. I'm just learning to sew and your tutorials are very helpful. Thank you

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  9. This is so simple and obvious, why then I wonder did I never think of it before! Thanks for that Disney.

    Actually while we're on the subject of straight lines maybe you can give a few tips on cutting a straight line. I do not have, nor ever likely to have one of those amazing cutting mats that all you clever ladies seem to use. I have only my ironing board or the floor to cut on.

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  10. as i keep reading i keep being impressed, so many great tips!!!!
    practising with paper is such a good idea!!! i am going t do it right now, i have some truble with closed curves.
    As Lynda Yilmaz has said, it would be great to hear some tips on how to cut fabric so straight...
    thanks once again and again and again.

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  11. I love your blog. I just started sewing and the step by step guide is great. My first project was the box of chocolates t-shirt, which looks great on my daughter. Thank you for everything you put on here.

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  12. My problem is cutting a straight line to begin with!

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  13. This is great! I'm new to sewing (with a machine, I sew really well by hand), and I've had the worst time with the basics. I get so frustrated and want to quit, but I'm determined to learn to sew!

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  14. Please, please, PLEASE teach me how to cut a straight line. And what's with the grain of the fabric? Which the "right" way? I'm generally having to ignore the lines on the machine because the fabric itself is uneven and I'm trying to compensate.

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  15. Disney,
    I really love this tutorial, especially because I did my first major sewing project a few weeks ago and sewing a straight line was ridiculously hard for me. However, my problem with it is that in order for this trick to work, you have to cut your fabric in a straight line first, and I have a hard time with that too.... any suggestions?

    -Korbe
    www.theeccentriceclectic.wordpress.com

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  16. Glad to know that I'm not the only one who doesn't know how to cut or sew straight!

    Love the lined paper suggestion, I'm going to do that and hopefully it will help!

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  17. I know you hear this on a daily basis but thank you for sharing your amazing talents. Thanks to your blog I have finally gotten back to what makes me happy, crafting. In the last couple years I've put myself on the back burner with the birth of my first child and now moving in with my boyfriend who has 2 boys of his own, our house of 5 is always chaotic. With 3 kids ages 3,4,5 I need all the destressing and repurposing ideas and projects i can get.Your blog is so inspiring that since 2 weeks ago when I found you, every waking moment (ok usually just during nap time) I have been sewing which is new to me. Thank you for everything you do.

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  18. Thanks so much for the information. You made it seem easy and were very clear on your instructions. I think it will help me a lot.
    Thank you again,
    Linda Towner

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  19. I agree with the others..you are a awesome find & your blog is wonderful. I also need any help I can get with the cuttung a staight line. I am soooo glad that I found you. Now maybe I can get some help with some of these problem areas! I'm also new in the sewing world and would like to try new & different things. All I can Say Is: Thank God For The INTERNET!!!

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  20. Thank you so much! I have had this old sewing machine for years, too intimidated to try but your tutorials are so wonderful. I feel so much more prepared now. Thank You!

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  21. Thank you so much. I just made my daughter a little hat today and I kept reminding myself this.. and that my projects won't be perfect. It's good to see that other folks need the reminder too.

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  22. It's spelled "straight", not "strait", unless you're talking about the country singer.

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    Replies
    1. *blush* Thank you!! Strangely, I spelled it right half the time in this post and wrong the other half. :O)

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  23. I also like to put a measuring tape along the edge of the fabric. They are typically 5/8th inch and work as a handy seam guide. Great post and site. Many thanks.

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  24. why I never thought of practicing on line paper is beyond me! Such a simple, easy, no brainer idea! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

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  25. Ty for your tips. I found for repeating rows of stitching (for making my own quilted fabric) that painting/masking tape was very helpful, too. And since it comes in different widths, you can choose how wide you want to make your lines - that's after you get the first one in place. It also helped to keep the feed more even with the 3 layers of fabric.

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  26. To the questions about CUTTING a straight line, my dad taught me that you should NOT look at where your scissors are. One should actually look at the point marked that you are cutting towards and your hands will naturally follow a straight path to it. It works best if the marks are not more than six inches apart for me. I LOVE your tutorials! Thank you so much for simple things for those of us without a teacher :)

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  27. Always use fabric scissors (or at least good and sharp scissors) and use more pins until your more comfortable with your cutting skills. Also IRON everything, it will make all the difference between an okay looking project and a fantastic project!

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  28. I also use lots of pins to keep pieces straight together .I would love to know any tips on cutting straight .if you cout only see some of my pieces lol

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  29. OMG! It seems so easy now!

    I've just got a sewing machine and I'm trying to learn by myself... and judging by this post, I'm pretty sure that your site is going to be A LOT of help! ^_^

    Thanks a lot for sharing, it's so thoughtful of you! ♥

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  30. Hi.. this basic tutorial is great especially for a beginer like me.

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  31. Woooow those lines actually mean something?! Thank you for pointing that out! *hats off to you*

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