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Message Board > Beginner's Forum > Sewing the outside diameter of a circle ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Sewing the outside diameter of a circle
Making a steering wheel cover
AngelFire
AngelFire
AZ USA
Member since 8/3/04
Posts: 19
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thumbsup 1 member likes this.
Date: 9/26/12 3:38 PM

Help - rank beginner here. I'm trying to make a steering wheel cover (fits over the steering wheel when parked). It's one that fits on kind of like a cap - rests on top of the steering wheel, with a half-circle that fits on the back. It's made of cotton with a batting or insulbright layer. The pattern is 18" in diameter. When I tried to sew around the edge with my Pfaff 1525 machine I had a heck of a time keeping the same seam allowance. Granted, I'm a beginner, but should I have had to keep fighting to keep a 1/2 allowance all the way around? What am I doing wrong? Should the feed dogs maybe be down? Maybe with practice I'll get better, but yikes!
Thanks,
Brenda in Phx

stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue
Intermediate
KS USA
Member since 12/13/08
Posts: 3070
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Date: 9/26/12 4:14 PM

I'm not a beginner, and still have a hard time with circles. So... I just draw in the stitching line. Makes it a thousand times easier!

------
~Gem in the prairie

CM_Sews
CM_Sews
Intermediate
CA USA
Member since 9/18/04
Posts: 1702
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Date: 9/26/12 4:31 PM

Threads Magazine: Driver's Ed for Sewing Machines (opens a PDF)

There's some good tips here about the nitty-gritty mechanics of sewing around curves (see page 3 of the PDF, magazine page 36) . You need to guide the fabric with both hands all the way along the seam.

I like to put a triangle of blue painters tape on the bed of the machine to mark where the edge of the 1/2-inch seam allowance should be. Put a point of the triangle on that spot. I prefer a point because you can see if you are moving away from the point to the left, making the SA too small (there's a gap between the edge of the fabric and the point) or you are moving too far to the right, towards the point, making the SA to big (the point starts to disappear under the edge of the fabric).

Marking the seam line is an excellent suggestion, also.

CMC
-- Edited on 9/26/12 4:31 PM --

AngelFire
AngelFire
AZ USA
Member since 8/3/04
Posts: 19
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Date: 9/27/12 1:59 PM

Thanks for the suggestions! I was also wondering if it matters the machine I use. I used my mechanical Pfaff because it has the IDT (but the layers were pinned). I wonder if I should try it on my Singer 301 - which also has a seam allowance guide on it. Hmm... may have to try that too.

Thanks again!
Brenda in Phoenix

BeeBeeSew
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BeeBeeSew
Advanced Beginner
MD USA
Member since 12/13/07
Posts: 826
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Date: 9/27/12 2:01 PM

You might do better with the SInger - it has narrower feed dogs so it's easier to make a circle

PattyE
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PattyE  Friend of PR
Intermediate
MI
Member since 9/7/10
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Date: 9/27/12 2:15 PM

Have you checked your presser foot tension...maybe too loose or too tight? Hope you figure it out.

BeeBeeSew
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BeeBeeSew
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MD USA
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thumbsup 2 members like this.
Date: 9/27/12 3:29 PM

I would take a piece of chalk - just kid's white chalk - and sharpen one end. Tie a string around it and use it to mark the stitching line. Then, using the Singer and a fairly long stitch, slowly stitch along that line. Take your time, go slowly and you'll be done.

AngelFire
AngelFire
AZ USA
Member since 8/3/04
Posts: 19
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Date: 9/28/12 3:20 PM

Last night I got my Singer 301 out and practiced circles. It's a lot easier to control the direction - a little harder to control the speed! This weekend I'll try the suggestions that have been posted. Loved the pdf on "steering your sewing machine", that was really great!

Thanks to all for your suggestions.
Brenda

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