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Learning To Sew: Sewing A Straight Line On Fabric

Sewing in general can be difficult to learn, there is just so much to know and learn! But one of the most basic parts of sewing that all sewers must know, is how to sew a straight line on fabric!

In this article, I will guide you through step by step how to sew a straight line on fabric!

This article is in the learning to sew series, make sure to read the previous articles from the series before this one!

   1. The type of fabric you use matters.

As mentioned in the previous article, the type of fabric that you are using is important. Each fabric type has different needs, some are quite similar where some are quite different. Different fabrics might require different sized needles, different presser feet, different threads etc.

For the sake of this article, I will guide you through sewing on quilting cotton.

   2. Gather your materials.

- Quilting cotton

- 80/12 universal needle (70/10 or 90/14 can be used)

- Presser foot "J"

- Polyester or cotton thread

- Get your machine ready

   3. Take the quilting cotton and fold it onto itself or use two pieces of cotton.

When sewing on the fabric it is recommended that you use two layers either by folding or actually having two pieces. This is also so that you can see what it will be like when you actually start doing sewing projects.

   4. Place the cotton fabric underneath the presser foot.

It's time to start sewing our straight line! Take the two layers of cotton and place it underneath the presser foot and lower the presser foot lever.

   5. Actually lining it up.

You might be wondering how to actually get your sewing to be in a straight line, to do this use the lines on the needle plate cover. To do this, have the edge of the fabric line up with the line and as you sew lightly guide the fabric so that it continues to stay aligned with the line.

On these lines, there might also be fractions for how many inches the seam will be. For example, 1/4 means one-quarter inch and is a very common seam allowance. 

A seam allowance is the amount of area, commonly measured in inches, between the fabric edge and the stitching line on two pieces of material/fabric that are being sewn together.

Another method of lining up the fabric to sew is to have the edge of the fabric stay in line with the edge of the presser foot. This method is my favourite and the way that I line up my fabric!

   6. Reverse/reinforcement stitches.

Make sure that you start sewing and end sewing this straight line with a reverse stitch. You can do this by pressing the reverse/reinforcement stitch button or if your machine doesn't have this button it will have something similar to a lever.

   7. Tension. 

I recommend not changing the tension, there are some steps that I recommend you take before you change the tension. You can read more on tension, how to change it and the steps to take before you change it, here!

   8. Thread tails.

Thread tails are the upper thread and the bobbin thread "tails" that have been placed under the presser foot and to the back of the machine. You want these tails to be long enough so that when you sew they don't get bunched up. 

I recommend lightly holding the upper thread tail as you start the first few stitches so that it doesn't get pulled under the fabric.

  9. Time to put it to the test!

Now it's time to actually sew! Use presser foot "J", straight stitch(left) and the information from above and let's get sewing! Line up the fabric like described above, lower the presser foot lever and using the handwheel lower the needle into the fabric. 

Start sewing by pressing the start/stop button or by pressing down on the foot pedal. 

As you sew, continue to lightly guide the fabric, without pulling it, to keep it in line with the lines on the needle plate cover or with the presser foot.

To end it off, do your reverse or reinforcement stitches, lift the needle and cut the threads or use the auto thread cutter if you have one. 

Look at how you did! If you were able to sew a straight line, congratulate yourself!!





  10. Keep practicing! 

"Practice makes perfect" this saying is an old one but also a true one! "nothing ever comes easy". As you're sewing, I want you to remember these sayings. It will help you understand that when you make a mistake or something goes wrong, it's okay!

I hope this article has helped you learn to sew a straight stitch on fabric! Next week I will guide you through sewing while pivoting on fabric! For example, curves, zig-zags, and staircases!

Be sure to like and leave a comment and let me know what you think! Let me know if there are any tips you think I should add to this article! Don't forget to subscribe to get notified of our next blog post!

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