Saturday, August 30, 2008

Basic Straight-Line Sewing

I hope you didn't run in the other direction when you heard sewing. Sewing is really a forgiving craft. You can easily tear out stitches and start all over, which- believe me I have done a million times- and often, you can't even see your mistakes when you turn the piece right-side-out. You really can do this!

I thought I'd begin my weekly craft and sewing posts with the very basic of basic stitches, the straight-line stitch. Easy to master, straight-line sewing opens the door to a multitude of projects such as pillows, tote bags and placemats.
We'll be tackling those projects and more in future posts, so I hope you'll subscribe to Make it from Scratch using the buttons in the left-hand column and visit often. Here we go!
For starters, you'll want to make sure your machine is plugged in. I have a bad habit of sitting down only to get right back up and plug it in since I leave it unplugged for safety. You never know when one of my boys might decide to go all "Martha" on me and whip out a potholder or something (wink). Seriously, though, kids like buttons and levers and they will press them!
On to the sewing! For contrast, I've used off-white muslin and black thread.

Place your fabric pieces together with the right-sides (the sides you want to look at when it is all finished) laying together. This will ensure that your seams aren't seen when its done.

Place the fabric under the presser foot, lower the presser foot lever and, using the wheel on the right side of the machine, sink the needle into the fabric. Push down on the foot pedal and sew a few stitches forward- about 1/2 an inch or so. At this point, you'll want to stop and without lifting the presser foot, press down (depending on your machine, you may have to turn a knob) on the reverse lever and 'back stitch' to your starting point. Let go of the reverse lever and begin stitching forward right over the two layers of stitching you've just made.

After a couple of tries at this, you'll be able to back stitch without stopping. Just press the lever and release while you continue to push the foot pedal. Back stitching reinforces the ends of your stitches and keeps them from coming undone. Its kind of like putting a staple in the end of your line.
To keep your line of stitches straight while you sew, line the edge of the fabric up with one of the marks on the plate next to the presser foot (shown in the first photo). This will keep your line straight along the outer edge of the fabric and give you the same 'seam allowance' the entire length of your fabric. This is important when sewing with a pattern, especially when making a clothing.
When you reach the end of the line you want to sew, you'll need to back stitch all over again to hold that end together.
There you have a simple, straight-line stitch! You did it!!!
This is what it will look like when you turn it right-side-out.
Heather is a wife, mom, school cafeteria worker,
councilwoman and babysitter from Ohio.
She also blogs at Its All for the Best
and The Fat Bottomed Girl.

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