Thursday, January 20, 2011

Straight Seams

Tailoring Thursdays™; Tips, Tricks and Techniques for Sewers:


SEAMS:
Sewing a Straight Line

Whether it is online or at a sewing class, I hear people ask, how do I sew a straight line? 

To the non-sewer, this may sound like an odd question.  To the extremely experienced sewer, this may sound like a novice question.  

To the person staring at their finished piece of work wondering why the stitches are slightly crooked or their seams are a bit wonky, this question rings through and through.  

So, How do you sew a straight line? 

Well, here are a few tips.

FIRST,
 if you are piecing quilts, this little gadget is wonderful!  
This is called a 1/4" piercing/quilting foot. 



It is great because you just line up the edges of your fabric with the edge of the foot and you get a perfect 1/4" seam allowance every time.  
                                             
SECOND,
Of course, a lot of people will tell you that there is a seam guide on most machines manufactured in the last 30 years.  You can line up the edge of your fabric with the seam guides for a straight seam.  

For Example: Most patterns call for a 5/8" seam allowance, simply keep the fabric lined up with the 5/8" line on  the seam guide line and sew.  


I do find that this is not always the easiest way to sew a straight seam.   
The seam guide on the plate does not always go all the way down to the edge of the machine and it can just be plain old difficult to keep your fabric lined up with these lines. 


THIRD,
As an alternative to the sewing machine's seam guide, there are commercially available seam guides that you stick on your machine.  

You cut out the area around the bobbin and the foot and then you stick on the seam guide and then remove the paper backing to adhere the seam guide to your machine.  

Use this the same way you would use the seam guide on your machine. 


FOURTH,
Finally, my favorite way to sew a straight line is simply, by drawing one.

Yep!  

With the amount of tools available today, there are so many options for  writing on fabric without it causing damage to your fabric or finished garment.  

There are air erasable chalks and markers. 
There are pencils, pens and chalks that are water soluble and disappear when being washed or touched.  
There are even pencils and pens that come with their own erasers. 

Using a ruler and a removable marking tool, draw a straight line for the desired seam allowance. 


Sew directly on the line. 


FINALLY,
No matter how you choose to sew your straight line, setting the seam is an important step.  Using a hot iron, I prefer steam, press down on the stitches.  

Do not move the iron back and forth, just press down for a few seconds.  If using steam, just steam one or two puffs. 



And tada!  Straight seams.  


I hope one of these little techniques helps if you are having a hard time with sewing straight seams!



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