Help! I Can’t Sew a Straight Line!

by | Oct 11, 2021

If you’ve ever said: “I can’t even sew a straight line!” then this is just for you! Learn the techniques to help keep you sewing straight and following the correct seam allowance.

Garment patterns are designed with a specific seam allowance. Seam allowance is the distance from the edge of the fabric to your stitch line. To create clothes that fit and that fit together you must stick to the correct seam allowance.

On many patterns the seam allowance is 5/8″ or 1.5cm. Check your pattern/instructions to be certain.

Keep your eye on the guide

The temptation is to watch the needle as it goes up and down. But this will not keep your stitches straight. It is really hypnotic. But for accuracy you should keep your eye on the seam guide lines on the base of your machine. Keep the raw edge of the fabric lined up with the guide line. That will ensure you keep it straight and even.

Light Touch

I often see beginners gripping the fabric so tight. The fabric only needs a very light touch to keep you straight. The machine itself will do the work of pulling the fabric through at the correct speed. Your hands are just there to guide the fabric gently and keep it straight.

Good speed control

By sewing at a good controlled speed it is much easier to keep yourself straight. Like riding a bike, momentum will keep you from wobbling about. You are aiming for good control of your speed. Neither too fast nor too slow.

Helping hands

You can buy little magnetic seam guides to help you sew straight and stick to your seam allowance. You place along the seam guides on the base of your machine. It is easier then to keep the raw edges of the fabric straight with the raised edge of the seam guide.

I like these ones as the magnet is really strong and don’t move about.


Sewing is a skill that takes time to master, but the more you practice the better you get. In my sewing classes we always strive for progress not perfection. The more you play about and practice the skills you use using the tips above the more your skill will increase.

Watch the video below to get more hints and tips to sew a straight line and awesome straight seams.

Love & Stitches

Alison xx

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