How to Sew a Straight Line With Your Machine

By: Kaylee Pope, Editor of

How to Sew a Straight Line with Your Machine  


After learning how to actually thread and use your machine there is one skill every new sewist needs to master: how to sew a straight line. This can be increasingly difficult when you are not totally in control of your needle. When you hand sew, you can be a slow poke. Learning how to sew a straight line on your sewing machine is different. Hand sewing means your eye is always on the needle. This is not the case with a machine. In order to learn how to sew a straight line with your machine, you need to learn how to use your seam allowance.



The number one tip for learning how to sew a straight line is to keep your eye on your seam guide.


What is a seam guide?

Your seam guide is how you control your seam allowance.

The machine controls the needle and you control the fabric. With this in mind, you must keep your eye on the seam guide of your choosing. Your machine will have indicators for these seam allowances.



Seam Guide 


Your seam allowance is how far away you want the edge of your fabric to be from your stitch in order to create the right amount of seam allowance. Most patterns will let you know how much of a seam allowance to use. When you are sewing, keep your fabric right at that line and keep your eye on it. 

Think about it like you are driving. You don’t pay attention to just the items directly in front of you, you keep your eyes on everything (i.e. the edge of the road so you do not veer off)! And just like driving, sewing a straight line will take some time on the road to master.



Keep your eye on the seam guide. 


Tips for Learning How to Sew a Straight Line  

  1. If you are just learning how to sew a straight line, set your machine to go slowly if you can. This way you won’t stop on the pedal and lose control.
  2. Additionally, if you are brand new, considering expanding your seam allowance. If your pattern isn’t too precise, give yourself extra room.
  3. Practice! Before embarking on huge projects, get used to sewing with a seam allowance. Try using scraps to sew at different allowances to get some practice.
  4. Take a deep breath! Sewists without a doubt tend to be perfectionist. Plus, if you are really unhappy with a seam, take out your trusty seam ripper. Just don’t too this too many times as it wears on the fabric.


How to Clean a Sewing MachineIf you have a brand new machine, learn how to clean it all by yourself when you check out Sewing Machine Maitenance: How to Clean a Sewing Machine.



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