Sewing sounds easy until you finish your first pillowcase and it looks like abstract art rather than a rectangle because your stitches didn’t come out straight. PSA: If you’re sewing machine needle is piercing through some fabric, then you’re probably making a line, curve, corner, or any variation of the 3, and your finished project or garment depends on your mastery of being able to make them well. Never fear, we’ve got you covered – Join us as Helen Castillo demonstrates our top tips for sewing straight lines, curves & corners perfectly every time!
Gather your tools:
Things to know before you get started:
Check that your sewing machine is threaded properly, replace sewing needle if it’s dull, and adjust stitch and tension settings to be around 2-3 depending on your fabric type.
- Sew using a slow speed setting (until you’re comfortable)
- Use muslin or non-stretch fabrics to practice on with contrast threading
- There’s no need to tug on the fabric, the feed dogs will do that for you
- Your hands are your ultimate guide (be aware of the things going on around them!)
- Measure and mark your seam allowance onto your fabric.
Tips For Sewing Straight Lines
- Line up the right edge of the fabric with the right edge of the presser foot (ensure that the presser foot is lowered)
- The needle plate (or throat plate) has guidelines including measurements for common seam allowances which you can follow
- For wider seam allowances you can use draping tape on your machine
- For some extra support, you can also use a magnetic seam guide
Tips for Sewing Corners
- Once you finish a straight line, follow the edge of your presser foot as a guide for creating a precise corner
- Sew and secure all corners, back-stitching if need be
- Cut the corners of the seam allowance off, no more than 1/4″ from stitches (right sides should be facing each other and be careful not to cut any stitches)
- Flip the fabric so that the right sides of the fabric are facing outwards and carefully use a point tool to flip and fill out the corners
Tips for Sewing Corners
- Sew using short stitch lengths to make sewing more manageable
- Follow the mark you made on your fabric and go as slowly as you need to to stay on track (if you get off track make sure that the needle is down, lift the presser foot up, and re-adjust the fabric)
- Once your curves are sewn and secured, you will need to make notches along the edges of your convex edges (these notches will help the seam to lay flat)
- Flip your fabric so that the right sides are facing outward and use your point tool to fill out and smooth the curves you just made
Practice makes perfect, but we like to think that being taught by the best helps a little, too. You’ve watched how Helen makes sewing magic happen- now it’s your turn to grab your sewing machine, some thread, and a needle so that you can get started. A little practice, along with our tips, will have you on your way to stitching like a pro in no time!