Sewing a straight line

How to sew in a straight line is easier than you might think, once you know a few basic rules that will help you achieve it.

My best advice on achieving a nice straight sewn line is to slow down and practice. You know the saying “practice makes perfect” well that is especially true when it comes to sewing.

It’s also important to be kind to yourself, you are just learning, and you might need to have a few goes to get the hang of it. So stick to it and keep practicing – I know you can do it!


The most important thing to sewing a straight line is having a guide to line your fabric up against to get a nice straight line. This also creates your seam allowance.

A seam allowance is how far your stitches are from the edge of your fabric.

Sewing machines have seam allowance markings on the footplate and that is what you use as your guide to sew straight lines. Sometimes you might also use the foot of your sewing machine.

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The footplate on my sewing machine shows markings in inches and centimetres

Before you begin sewing you need to decide what you will use as your guide. This will be dictated by what you want your seam allowance to be or perhaps you are using a pattern and they recommend a seam allowance.

For day-to-day sewing seam allowances are generally anywhere between 1/4″ – 5/8″.

For our Pocket Tissue Holder we are going to sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance. I will show you how to check this and pick the best guide on your sewing machine to achieve this.

Correct seam allowances are important because if you use a bigger or smaller seam allowance than recommended, the item you are sewing might not turn out to be the correct size or you could run into problems when your pieces don’t line up.


  • Find a guide on your sewing machine and stick with it
  • When sewing watch the guide you are using, not the needle
  • Do not watch the needle, did I already say that?
  • Remember you are just steering the fabric, don’t pull, tug or push the fabric through
  • Slow down – this is really a big key to success and I can’t stress it enough. Slowing down is the number one way to improve sewing for beginners
  • It can help to put painters/masking tape on your sewing machine showing your guide
  • Do not rush, try and enjoy the process rather than trying to get to the finished product
  • Practice makes perfect and that is so true with sewing
  • Remember to breathe, enjoy the process, and fun!


Now let’s make your first project – a pocket tissue holder! Click here

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