How to Make a Straight Stitch: A Guide for the Absolute Beginner

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One of the first sewing skills you need to learn is how to make a straight stitch. If you've never used a sewing machine before, it can be a little intimidating. Don't worry, though. I'll give you some tips so you can be sewing straight away in no time.

The trick to sewing straight lines is knowing where to look!

Many beginners mistakenly look at their needle while sewing. It doesn’t work because you don’t think about where your fabric is going…

Instead, you should look at the edge of your fabric and keep it aligned with one of the seam marks on the plate below your presser foot. These seam marks tell you how far your seam line is from the edge of your fabric when your needle is in the center position.

Your sewing pattern will usually tell you which sewing line to follow. ½ inch and 5/8 inch are the most common seams when sewing clothing because the larger seam allowance can handle more wear and tear. If you're making a quilt, your pattern usually recommends using a ¼-inch seam allowance.

If you have trouble remembering which seam line to look at while you sew, you can put a magnetic sewing guide on your needle plate to help you. Simply line up the magnetic guide with the sewing line you want to follow and attach it to your needle plate. As you sew, you can then keep your fabric matched to the edge of the magnetic sewing guide to keep your stitches straight. I think the magnetic sewing guide is very handy because it gives you one less thing to think about when sewing.

Note: One from Madame Sew says it is perfectly safe to use a magnetic seam guide on your sewing machine. The magnet is not strong enough to disrupt the mechanics of your machine.

Many presser feet also have guides that you can follow to sew straight lines. I really like using an adjustable guide foot. If you don't have one for your sewing machine, check out Madam Sew's Sew a straight set. The presser feet are compatible with most sewing machines.

Sewing straight lines takes practice

With practice, your stitches should become straighter and straighter. Sewing really isn't difficult!

Take a few pieces of fabric and practice using the sewing guides on your needle plate until your stitches start to look straight. If you don't have any scraps, I created some FREE sewing practice sheets that you can print and use to build your sewing confidence. You sew directly onto the paper as if it were fabric. Yes, it will dull your needle, but you should change needles frequently anyway.

The straight stitch is the most commonly used stitch when working on sewing projects. It's something you need to master, whether you want to sew quilts, clothing, bags, or something else.

I hope you found this article on how to sew a straight line helpful. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

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