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Topic: New to sewing....ugh.  (Read 5306 times)
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« on: April 13, 2011 10:38:43 AM »

I've been crocheting for about a year and decided, why not sew, too? So I bought a machine and some fabric and thought "can't be that hard". Really. Wow. I've made some OK curtains, but that's it. I can't get the hang of sewing in a straight line, AT ALL. I want to make some cute clothes for my kids, but seriously, if I can't even sew in a straight line, how am I supposed to figure all of that out? Any advice for a newbie?
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2011 05:13:43 PM »

I also crochet, I taught myself from a book.  It took time, patience, and practice to get my stitch tension even so that they all looked the same. 

The same is true of sewing, it takes practice.  Get some scraps and practice, practice, practice.  Go slowly.  Keep the edge of the fabric lined up with the edge of the presser foot.  Practice lining it up with the marks on the machine.  Put a piece of masking tape on the bed of the machine and use that to line up the edge of your fabric.

Most of all practice.

Good luck!
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2011 11:34:17 AM »

Yeah, I've only been sewing off and on for a year and I can promise that it does get better. The most important thing I've found is just to go very slowly until you're really comfortable going faster. I am not comfortable so I keep my machine's speed slider all the way down most of the time. Also, my machine came with a couple of accessories that make certain straight-line-sewing tasks much easier. I don't know the name of the foot but it has a little metal sort-of-blade that lets me butt my fabric up against that and makes my topstitching pretty much perfect every time.The other is the quilting guide that makes sewing parallel lines pretty simple - I have a much easier time lining my fabric up with a physical barrier than a line.

But yeah, like monstergramma said, practice and go slowly.

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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2011 12:42:32 AM »

When I took home ec in school decades ago, the teacher had us use a dull needle, unthreaded, to sew through ruled paper. Over and over and over and over. Then do the same with circle patterns and that sort of thing. It really helps to develop the ability to sew in a straight line.

« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2011 06:14:44 PM »

ditto! I think a needle (not threaded) and paper would be good too!
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2011 04:12:52 PM »

You can even try drawing your line on your fabric with chalk. t's sort of like the paper idea, you just have to follow the line. Make sure that you cut your fabric straight and then use the little measurement divets on the side of your machine, or the edge of the foot. So long as the fabric is cut straight and it lines up with the ruler or the foot, your seam will be straight.

Also, don't PULL the fabric. Set it up straight and gently guide it in place. And I always make a wierdo line when I go too fast, so take it slow until you feel comfortable. Good luck!
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2011 09:06:11 PM »

I crochet as well. I talked about sewing for a year and finally got a machine for Christmas (I opened it before Christmas). i completely lost the will to crochet and have been sewing some pillows.

I can definitely relate to the crooked lines. I sew with white thread so that it is hard to see on my fabric. I hope you have fun with it none the less and keep practicing!
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2011 06:05:55 PM »

I'm sort of in the same boat and encouraged to keep practicing more. I used to sew all my own clothes years ago, but haven't for a long time and now that I'm trying it again, I find that I am terrible at it! lol
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2012 04:33:44 PM »

My best advice is to look where you're about to sew, and not at the needle. It's easier to control when you use that technique, it can also help to use one hand behind the foot and one in front lightly to guide the fabric.

I still have all the templates that my teachers gave me to practise on! Ff you buy some cheap calico cut it into square and draw designs like straight lines to start with and work your way up to swirls, learning to pivot cleanly and guide the fabric will come easier.

IT's hard not to get frustrated but it'll pay off!

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« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2012 07:19:54 PM »

I'm more of a jump right in and go type. There are darling children's clothing patterns to make simple dresses and shorts.  Skip the ones with zippers until you are more comfortable. Pick up a basic sewing book to place next to your machine. I've been hobby sewing for twenty years and still rely on a reference book occassionally.

I started making doll clothes. They usually call for an interesting technique to learn and you aren't gambling with much fabric or trim.

As you sew, so shall you rip. Don't fear the ripper.
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2012 08:56:33 PM »

I kind of jumped right into sewing as well. In about 7th grade I took a quarter of home economics which included cooking and sewing. So there wasn't much time for the sewing since we also had to do cooking.

Anyway in my home ec class, before we could sew on fabric she gave us a few sheets of paper with dotted lines. Some papers had straight lines some had curly Qs. We had to sew along the lines perfectly before we could sew fabric and the machines had no thread or anything when we were sewing the paper. It was a way for us to be able to see how straight we were sewing and develop our own technique for sewing straightly. I thought it was really helpful.

Also, when I sew I don't look directly at the needle going into the fabric as it goes because it tends to be more crooked. I'd suggest watching the line on your machine next to your fabric, the seam allowance line is what I call it but I taught myself to sew so I don't know technical terms, but next to the needle usually they have premeasured lines you can follow to keep your seam allowance consistent. I would say keep an eye on that and make sure you fabric is following that line and your lines should be straighter
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« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2012 04:13:12 PM »

You can buy a magnetic seam guide in the notions isle of some sewing stores. It attaches to the throat plate of your machine and provides a raised edge so that you can butt your fabric up against it and help you keep your sewing straighter. It still takes some practice, but it really helps. You can also use some mini post-it notes to build up an edge on your seam allowance so that it does the same thing.

Don't get too discouraged, sewing takes practice and it'll get easier over time... then you can throw curves into the mix!  Grin  Let your machine do a lot of the work, work slowly, and just guide the fabric if it seems to veer off course.

« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2012 09:15:43 AM »

There are also sewing machine feet that you can buy to help.  Check out Amazon there are some good universal fit ones. Smiley
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2012 12:51:21 PM »

Just keep at it. I have looked online for simple patterns also a great book to get is called Stitch by Stitch. It is a really good book for beginners. It starts with the simple and easy and moves onward. Also see if anyone you know who sews will spend a day or a few days helping you learn, if it's someone you have not talked to for a while get time to catch up. If you don't know any one who sews and don't know if you want to just try to follow a book or patterns on line, see if any quilt shops offer a beginners class if not I am sure if you talk to someone there they will be more than willing to help you out.
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2012 08:50:18 AM »

great - so many ideas that I wish I known earlier ha ha.  I used some cheap fabric with straight lines to help, at first. 

« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2012 11:44:54 PM »

Just because you are a newbie in sewing you are not skilled in sewing in a straight line.
Keep trying on rough fabric and one day you will find yourself sewing in a straight line. Of course you can take help of needle and can do some needlework but it will take more time. Hope this will help.  Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2012 07:54:37 AM »

I sew a lot, but even I can't keep a straight line when the stitch length is too short. The shorter the stitch length, the less control, and it looks like I was drunk when I was at the machine. Don't drink and sew.

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