Learning how to sew on sewing machines is fairly easy, once a few basic skills are mastered. One of these important skills in sewing is learning how to sew a straight line. Although it may seem simple to do, sewing a straight line can be challenging for beginners, whether sewing on Juki sewing machines such as the Juki HZL-DX7 sewing machine or any other sewing machines. To sew precise, straight lines with any machine, follow the important guidelines below and you will soon be sewing like a pro.
Seam Allowances and Seam Guides
Before attempting to sew a straight seam on any sewing machine, it is important to understand two sewing terms and how they relate to stitching in a straight line:
- Seam Allowance - A seam allowance is the amount of fabric left on the right side of the needle, from the fabric edge to the stitched seam. A general seam allowance that is used for most projects is 5/8 of an inch; however, patterns will usually say how much allowance to leave. When a person is just learning how to sew a straight line on sewing machines, practice a larger allowance on scrap fabric until more comfortable with the process.
- Seam Guide - The seam guide is on the throat plate of most Juki sewing machines, such as the Juki HZL-DX7 sewing machine, that is marked off with various seam allowances. By following that guide, sewers can stitch a straight seam with the required allowance.
Watch the Seam Guide, Not the Needle!
One main difference between hand sewing and sewing with sewing machines is where the eyes focus. With hand sewing, it is naturally important to focus on the needle to ensure stitches are straight and the needle is inserted in the right place. Sewing with sewing machines requires focusing on the seam guide. Since the machine automatically feeds and sews the fabric, the most important job is to guide the fabric by keeping it aligned with the seam guide. Of course, it is fine to glance at the needle while sewing; however, the overall focus should be on the seam guide.
Easily Sew A Straight Line
After becoming familiar with the seam guide and understanding how it is used, it is time to sew a straight line. Set the sewing machine to sew slowly at first and use the pedal gently, since this may take some practice. Then line up the fabric so the edge is in line with the right seam guide and start sewing. Proceeding slowly, guide fabric so the edge slides smoothly along the seam guide and stays in line with it. By keeping the edge of the fabric in line with the seam guide, the stitches sewn by the needle will be equally straight. If the fabric wavers or moves away from the seam guide, the stitches will end up wavy and crooked.
Sewing a straight line with Juki HZL-DX7 sewing machines or any other sewing machines will take some practice until the beginner sewer feels confident with what they are doing. The good news is that the seam guide included with a Juki sewing machine will make learning this skill much easier. Once the idea of watching the edge of the fabric as it moves along the seam guide becomes familiar, even those who are just learning about sewing machines should have few problems. After mastering this basic, yet essential sewing skill, anyone should be able to move on to sewing garments and other projects!