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Sewing in a straight line...

It seems so easy! But it never is.

What is topstitch?

Top stitch is a row of stitches on the right side of your fabric that is visible to the eye. It could be for decorative purposes, or added to help a seam sit flat.

It's also that thing that I bang on about in Sewing classes because I think it just makes everything look neater.

And if it's wobbly it makes the difference to whether something looks professional or clumsy.

There are a number of things that can affect you sewing in a straight line, your fabric (if it's a slippy fabric that veers off) your tension (lets face it, incorrect tension affects everything doesn't it!) Whether you have a smooth line to sew across, if there's a bump in the seam that will cause you to veer off, or even having an uneven hem to guide you on in the first place. And lastly, practise! Sewing in a straight line comes with lots of practise.

Here's a few handy hints and tips that will help you to gain confidence with top stitching and make you an over all neater sew-er.

A good way to practise is on a scrap of fabric or an old pillow case. It doesn't matter if you make a mistake, just keep sewing and trying to keep in line.

Tip 1 :

The main tip I use for sewing straight is using the right edge of my Sewing Foot as a guide. (PHOTO 3) I like to use 1cm Seam Allowance and this allows that. If I line up the edges of all of my fabric against the right side of the foot, and keep them lined up as I sew every seam, I can't really go wrong.

Tip 2:

Another similar tip and a more well known one is to use the markers on the bottom plate of your machine (you will have markers that say 4/8" 5/8" and so on - that mark on different measurements of an inch.) (PHOTO 2) *Although my machine has the markers, it doesn't actually have the measurements.

I can guarantee you've either been using them already or never noticed them! Usually people are one of the two!!

If you pick your measurement and aim for that marker at all times (similar to how I aim for the side of the foot as my edge) you will have Seam Allowances that are all that measurement. At the end of the day, that is what those measurements are there for.

Tip 3 :

Another tip is to use tailors chalk and a ruler to draw the line that you want to topstitch over. Then you can simply follow the line you've drawn and brush it off once you're finished.

Tip 4:

And similarly, and I was only told about this recently so I haven't used it myself, You can use masking tape in the same way (lay it down alongside the line you want to topstitch) and sew along side it, ready to peel the tape off once you're done.

I'm sure you have other ways and let me know if you do.

I found this article as well which I found really helpful as it features a video showing you in more detail:

Sewing in a straight line is always a constant battle and no one likes to unpick a whole row of wonky stitches.

I hope you find this helpful, I will be back next week with more tips!


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