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Tips & Techniques > Sewing accurate seamlines

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Posted by: Everyday Sewist

About Everyday Sewist star
Member since: 9/14/02
Reviews: 51 (tips: 3)
Skill level:Advanced Beginner
Favored by: 18 people
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Posted on: 11/23/02 4:15 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 2 people   Very Helpful by 7 people   
This is a tip for beginners just learning how to sew a seam. It's one of those things I wish I had known when I started. Even now I remind myself of this technique whenever I'm having difficulty handling the fabric at the machine.

This technique works best with stable knits and medium-weight wovens. It doesn't work so great with very flimsy fabrics.

Form a "<" with your left hand. The top of the < is your index finger; the bottom is your thumb. Place your hand this way, face down and FLAT on top of the fabric as you sew it through the machine. Your stitching line will form the third side of the "triangle" like so:

/ finger
| stitching line at presser foot

Whenever you find your seams hard to sew straight or getting out of control, remember this tip. It might help to keep you "on track."

Don't push or pull the fabric (unless you are using a special technique such as taut sewing.) Just guide it through, keeping it flat with your hand as you sew.

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ryansmumAria said... (4/3/10 7:42 PM) Reply
Great basic sewing tip! I would add, if I may, to keep your hands in this position and then once that section is sewn, scoot your hands down and let them work upwards again, continue until seam is complete.
katie lynne said... (7/24/09 10:56 PM) Reply
Thanks for posting this primary technique, I haven't sewn for a while; and its been a long time since 7th grade home ec! :)
Holly said... (11/25/02 10:04 PM) Reply
Betty, thanks for giving us such a helpful but basic technique. I will certainly be practicing this one.
Debbie Lancaster said... (11/24/02 8:12 PM) Reply
Another thing that works is the Post-it cover-up tape used in offices instead of white-out liquid. And it has the added plus of being re-positionable and removable without leaving an adhesive residue.
Georgene said... (11/24/02 10:00 AM) Reply
Masking tape can be used for seamguides also. Measure from the needle over to the width of the seam you want and place long strip. This is good for odd seamwidths that may not be marked on your foot plate, or if you want to be able to see better.
Sherril Miller said... (11/24/02 2:32 AM) Reply
In a pinch at quilting class one day when I didn't have my seam guide with me, I remembered that I had a foam foot insole in my car which hadn't made it into the house yet. I used my rotary cutter and sliced off a 3/4 inch strip and used that instead. It has self-stick removable glue on it and it was thick enough to keep the fabric straight. Since I wanted just a quarter inch seam, I butted it right against the pressure foot and moved the needle position. It worked great!
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