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Machine Minute: Four Tips for Sewing Straighter

Get four quick tips for sewing straighter to improve accuracy and your finished projects!

Thu, 9 Jan 2014|

Hi, I'm Jennifer, here with another Machine Minute brought to you by Baby Lock and the Crescendo machine. Sewing straight: as quilters, it's what we all aspire to. Today I'm going to share with you four tips to help you sew straighter. First and foremost, I suggest getting a quarter inch foot for your machine and if there's one available with a guide that can be extremely helpful when you're trying to sew a straight seam. The guide is an additional piece added along the edge of the foot, and you run your fabric just along that guide, sort of like a bumper in a bowling alley gutter. You use that as a bumper to guide your fabric through the machine. It can be very, very helpful. Second, many quilters will start to swerve as they start the piece and that's where they have difficulties keeping things straight. The solution is to use a little fabric scrap, sometimes called a leader cloth. But the fabric scrap underneath your machine foot when you start. You don't have to start off of it--you can put it all the way under the machine foot. Then you're ready to start sewing. When it comes time to sew you strips or whatever pieces you're putting together then, just start sewing right off of that leader cloth and you go straight on to the piece. It's a great way to make sure from the very first stitch that your seam is straight. Now here are a couple other things you might want to do. If your machine has an adjustable speed control, move it down to one of the mid-range or slower speeds. It'll give you more control. We all like to go pedal to the metal, but controlling your speed can be very helpful in keeping your seams straight. And if you don't have an adjustable speed control, just consider laying off the gas pedal a little bit and sewing at a more steady and slow rate to keep things straight. Finally, consider using the needle-down option if your machine has that. By always stopping with your needle down in the fabric, it gives you time to reposition your pieces. I like to sew without pins, so it helps me make sure that the edges are lined up where I want to sew. Then start sewing again. If you don't have your needle down in the fabric when you stop, or you don't have that option, you can simply turn the hand wheel and that will put your needle down before you let go of your pieces. With the needle down in the fabric, I can make adjustments and nothing is going anywhere. And when I start sewing, I'll be right back where I started from. If I had the needle up and started moving things around, my fabrics would be able to shift a little bit. And if I was trying to get a thread or something out of the way or remove a pin and I thought to lift the presser foot up with my needle in the up position, the whole thing can move out of position. And that's not what you want when you're trying to sew a straight seam. So by having my needle down, even if I lift my presser foot up, there's no place for it to go. It's secure in the machine and I can lower the presser foot down, making sure I'm lined up against that guide and be ready to go. I hope one of those four tips helps you sew straighter seams to make your sewing time more fun and accurate.