Welcome to the Quilting Board!

Already a member? Login above
loginabove
OR
To post questions, help other quilters and reduce advertising (like the one on your left), join our quilting community. It's free!

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 37

Thread: Sewing Straight

  1. #1
    Junior Member schnurke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    Posts
    137

    Sewing Straight

    I am a newbie, with a 1979 Singer 7110, making basic square patch pillow covers and quilts. I have a mentor who is very talented but has never taught anyone to do this before. She also has limited time. I feel uncomfortable with the way that I am sewing my square patches together. I know this is pretty dang easy to do compared to other things you could do with a machine, but like I said, I'm new My mentor says I am doing a good enough job, but I know that I could do better and expect that it could feel more natural to me.

    I don't get how to guide without pushing or pulling or put perhaps too much pressure down with the left hand. And I am curious to find out what some of you people do with your right hands. I have picked up, at another forum, that people do these things differently.

    I never took sewing in junior or high school, I'm afraid.

    I just feel uncomfortable at the machine and am looking for tips on what my hands should be doing. Of course, maybe I just need practice
    Karen

  2. #2
    Junior Member Bataplai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Western Washington
    Posts
    274
    I've gone through the same thing. It's taken a few years to start to figure out how to guide my material properly, and how my machine wants me to guide it. I'm still not great, but improving over time. I wish I had a magic answer for you. I'll be looking forward to the replies from more experienced people.

  3. #3
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Emmitsburg, MD
    Posts
    1,624
    Practice is going to be the key here, but I think cutting straight and sewing straight are the two toughest things to do, hands down! If you master these you can accomplish anything else. Just keep practicing and you will learn!

  4. #4
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Small town in Northeast Oregon close to Washington and Idaho
    Posts
    2,733
    Blog Entries
    5
    You shouldn't push or pull your fabric. I use both hands to guide my fabric through my machine. Watch YouTube videos and get an idea on what you should be doing. Go to www.craftsy.com and at the top and click on online classes. Then click on quilting and it will take you to a page with many quilting classes. Find the "Craftsy Block of the Month" class...it's free. She has ten classes and teaches you two blocks in each class. The classes are about 43 minutes each. Watch how she quilts. You will get a good idea of how to quilt. I took this class and made a quilt. It's fun and very informative. You will learn so much from Amy Gibson.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
    Strong people don't put others down...they build them up."
    "Remember that your instincts are more important than rules"

  5. #5
    Super Member lalaland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Yakima, WA
    Posts
    2,481
    I teach sewing and keeping the fabric straight and guiding it is one of the things my students struggle with most. I do a couple of things to help them.

    I have them practice on paper. I draw lines on the paper and they pretend the lines are the end of the fabric and they line their presser foot up to it and try to keep the foot on the line. Takes practice. And I have them use an old needle, nothing will dull a needle faster than paper, so you want to have a needle just for paper work. Remove it when you switch back to fabric and save it for work on paper.

    We also practice controlling the speed at which you sew. If you have a machine with speed control, no problem, but if you don't, you need to practice controlling the speed with your foot. Slowing down can really help your accuracy.

    We also practice guiding the fabric through. The fabric will go through with or without you, and probably reasonably straight through as well, you do not need to push it, pull it, or shove it through. What you need to do is guide it. Use the fingers of both hands. Your fingers should never be directly in front of the presser foot or to the left or right of the presser foot (I say this because you can line your fabric up to the left side OR right side of the presser foot, although most people line up to the right side). Your fingers should be 1-1/2 to 2 inches in front of the presser foot, guiding the fabric so it is staying in position. If it starts to stray a little, and you feel you are losing control, stop, be sure your NEEDLE IS IN THE FABRIC, lift the presser foot and move the fabric so it is lined up again. You may have to start and stop frequently at first, but you'll get the hang of it eventually.

    And lastly, be sure your presser foot is at the right pressure. Some machines have a pressure setting for the feet. This is so you can accommodate different types of fabrics that may require a lighter pressure or heavier pressure of the foot for ease of sewing. If you have such a thing (your manual will tell you), be sure it is set on the proper setting (it's usually a dial and you set it on a number, for example, for "regular sewing", it would be #1). If you have a really old machine, the pressure may be able to be set manually, again, your manual will tell you.

    Hope this is helpful!
    Thought for EVERY Day: You know all those things you've always wanted to do? You should go do them.

  6. #6
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Bosque County, Texas
    Posts
    3,028
    I consider a 1979 machine to a medium old sewing machine. I have 2 that are older and 2 that are newer. If you don't have a manual, contact Singer by telephone and ask them to send a manual. If they say they don't have one, ask them to copy the one they have on file and send you the copy. They will probably send it electronically if you prefer. I had to get a manual sent like this once when the company had no copies left, just the company copy they had on file. They did it without a charge.

  7. #7
    Senior Member QuiltingCrazie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Las Cruces, NM
    Posts
    751
    One thing no one has asked are your feeddogs working? truth be told I sewed for 6 months on my last machine without realizing my feeddogs were clogged. They were not working at all, I cleaned them up and worked like a charm. Sewing straight is easier when your following the edge of the foot in my opinion but I did put painters tape as a guide when I started. I usually have my right hand guiding the material from the back to keep it straight but switch it to the front when I need to. The thing is if you concentrate on sewing straight your hands do there thing. Don't concentrate on your hands instead concentrate on sewing and your hands will naturally go where they need to. Hope that helps I also found that the right chair makes all the difference you feel less awkward! Happy quilting
    *Rachel*

  8. #8
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    2,873
    I have a quarter inch foot with a guide which makes getting the quarter inch perfect much easier.

  9. #9
    Super Member QuiltingVagabond's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    South Central Indiana
    Posts
    1,272
    Good advice from Rachel - Some of the Singers of that era have rubber feeddogs and they will just wear off! Good feeddogs will "pull" the fabric for you without much help from you other than keeping this lined up.
    QuiltingVagabond aka Kathy

  10. #10
    amh
    amh is offline
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Saskatoon SK Canada
    Posts
    277
    I have read lalalands post. Follow it and you will be fine, just practice. I like her idea of practicing on newspaper -- saves thread.

    For me, I use my hands to guide the fabric as the machine pulls it through. The only thing I might add to lalalands post is to place a piece of tape the width of the seam that you want on the sewing bed (1/4 inch, 1/2 inch, whatever you are using). Measure from the needle to the right and place a piece of scotch tape, painters tape, whatever onto the sewing bed. Guide the fabric (newspaper) along the piece of tape. Don`t watch the needle, just guide the fabric along that line and keep the fabric along that tape line for a good 3 inches before it hits the needle. You will have a straight line.

    If you need a manual, singer has a web site where you can download manuals for very old machines.

    Good luck.

    Aileen
    Aileen
    Saskatoon SK Canada

  11. #11
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    England Alton Towers
    Posts
    6,641
    Blog Entries
    1
    The lady who mentioned feed dogs just take a look. I purchased an old machine which was tested and serviced before it came. The food dogs did have fabric in looked like black felt. A friend after paying for a service couldn't get her machine to work. I went to help and found the feed dogs and bobbin area clogged so much nothing moved which was why it went for a service. My hands I tend to keep to the sides of the needle and hold lightly.
    Finished is better than a UFO

  12. #12
    Super Member JudyTheSewer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Sparks, NV
    Posts
    1,225
    I think lalaland's advice on practicing without thread on paper is great! Let me add that I have found that one sheet of paper under the feed dogs is a little hard to control due to it being so slippery. When I put a layer or two of fabric down and then lay the paper on top of the fabric the sewing experience is more like sewing fabric. Also, I tend to sew very slowly when doing patchwork which gives me accurate results.

  13. #13
    Junior Member schnurke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    Posts
    137
    Yes--very, very helpful! Thank you so much!
    Karen

  14. #14
    Junior Member schnurke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    Posts
    137
    Very valuable advice. I like what you said about focusing less on my hands. When I was learning to drove as a teen, I would drive looking at the road directly ahead of the car, and my father had to teach me to look further out.
    Karen

  15. #15
    Junior Member schnurke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    Posts
    137
    I feel so blessed that so many of you thought about this for me and wrote in. I am really enjoying the process of learning about all of this. Thank you!
    Karen

  16. #16
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    1,435
    I always had a heck of a time keeping my seams straight. Finally someone took pity on me and told me my trouble was caused because I watched the needle instead of the fabric. Once I started to pay attention to where my fabric was going under the front of the presser foot instead of at the needle my seams straightened right up. Once you get the hang of sewing you'll be able to make a quilt on any working machine - no matter how old it is.

  17. #17
    Senior Member pinecone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    811
    I like to have people think back to 3rd grade when they were learning cursive writing. Whoa what a ride that was! But by the end of the school year there was much improvement. Practice and c'mon back and ask questions.

    piney

  18. #18
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    19,762
    I use 1/4 inch graph paper - and use that to see where the lines are compared to the edge of the presser foot and where the needle hits the paper -

    That sentence didn't make much sense - but it does work for me!

  19. #19
    Super Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Central Wisconsin
    Posts
    3,346
    lalaland said:
    Your fingers should never be directly in front of the presser foot or to the left or right of the presser foot (I say this because you can line your fabric up to the left side OR right side of the presser foot, although most people line up to the right side).
    I think this is confusing. This sounds kind of like the fabric is to the right of the needle. I think most people sew with the fabric to the left of the needle, and line up on the right side of the needle.
    When I put together many rows of squares (pieced or plain), I put the first two rows under the needle with the fabric to the right. The seams are pressed so that the top seam points away from me, and the bottom seam is lying toward me. That way the bottom seam will never flip the wrong way when they nest. I can watch the top seam and make sure it goes under the presser foot without flipping. I put all the rows together like that, two at a time, with the fabric to the right.
    Then I put together twos with twos and keep the fabric to the left of the needle. You just keep on adding this way: fours and fours, eights and eights etc. and it will always be to the left. The seam will always go under the needle correctly: the top seam toward you so you can watch it, and the bottom seam facing toward you so it glides under the needle without flipping.
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  20. #20
    Super Member OKLAHOMA PEACH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    BLANCHARD, OK
    Posts
    2,507
    Quote Originally Posted by amh View Post
    I have read lalalands post. Follow it and you will be fine, just practice. I like her idea of practicing on newspaper -- saves thread.

    For me, I use my hands to guide the fabric as the machine pulls it through. The only thing I might add to lalalands post is to place a piece of tape the width of the seam that you want on the sewing bed (1/4 inch, 1/2 inch, whatever you are using). Measure from the needle to the right and place a piece of scotch tape, painters tape, whatever onto the sewing bed. Guide the fabric (newspaper) along the piece of tape. Don`t watch the needle, just guide the fabric along that line and keep the fabric along that tape line for a good 3 inches before it hits the needle. You will have a straight line.

    If you need a manual, singer has a web site where you can download manuals for very old machines.

    Good luck.

    Aileen
    Yes just google your make and model and up comes links for your machine instructions, and E-How will also come up with instructions free.

  21. #21
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    5,703
    I'd like to ask a question also. Does your machine sit down into a case or cabiner? I find that sewing on a flat surface is very helpful because you don't have to deal with the fabric going up, across the machine, and then back down towards the table top. I think you lose control with that set up. Perhaps, if you don't have a cabinet, stack books around the machine until you have a larger, flat surface to sew on. You can tape the books together, or purchase a clear acrylic table with legs that might fit your machine. I bought an old sewing machine cabinet and my handyman put a bottom it so that it rests flush with the cabinet surface. I remove the machine when I am through and store it in its original case. It really helps when I am trying to quilt on my domestic machine. Also, built a bridge with painter's tape, as others have suggested. I used moleskin cut into 1/4" strips at one time and place it at 1/4" on the face plate, but it is soft and wears down fairly quickly so painter's tape works better. Also, as others have suggested, keep practicing. Do check and see if the feed dogs are working, as others have suggested.

  22. #22
    Senior Member happyquiltmom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    NE Indiana
    Posts
    564
    Worrying about your hands may be counterintuitive here. I think it's more important to be conscious of where your eyes are focusing.

    Don't watch your hands, or the needle. Focus on the seam line a few inches before the needle. In other words, watch the 1/4" line and try to keep your fabric there. For me, that is the very edge of the feeddogs.
    Cindy

    Curator of an 1889 Singer model 27 Fiddlebase Treadle, a 1951 Singer Centennial Featherweight, a 1956 Singer 401A, and a 1982 Bernina 830 Record.

  23. #23
    Junior Member coffeebreak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    139
    Quote Originally Posted by schnurke View Post
    I am a newbie, with a 1979 Singer 7110, making basic square patch pillow covers and quilts. I have a mentor who is very talented but has never taught anyone to do this before. She also has limited time. I feel uncomfortable with the way that I am sewing my square patches together. I know this is pretty dang easy to do compared to other things you could do with a machine, but like I said, I'm new My mentor says I am doing a good enough job, but I know that I could do better and expect that it could feel more natural to me.

    I don't get how to guide without pushing or pulling or put perhaps too much pressure down with the left hand. And I am curious to find out what some of you people do with your right hands. I have picked up, at another forum, that people do these things differently.

    I never took sewing in junior or high school, I'm afraid.

    I just feel uncomfortable at the machine and am looking for tips on what my hands should be doing. Of course, maybe I just need practice
    I was teaching my grand daughters how to sew charms together to make a quilt. And I had to explaint his to them to. I had a seam quide thing attached to the base of the machine near the needle. I set the machine to low speed (I know yours doesn't have that...my machine I love is a Singer 2010 from 1985!) but this one is new. I told them to just line up the fabric edge to the seam guide, and for them to just "guide" the fabric through, not push with either hand. The feed dogs will pull it through, so just place your left hand on the side of the fabric, not real close to the needle, and guide the bulk of it AFTER it has been through the needle to keep it straight and the right hand mainly just the thumb and fore finger..they guide it "TO" the needle, keeping it straight. I told them..let the machine do the work! And they did and it worked for them, so I was apparently telling it the right way! I have been seing for 45 years...never thought much about how I did it! KEep at it..good luck..it is also one of those things that just come with practice!

  24. #24
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lumby, British Columbia
    Posts
    2,706
    Okay you bright people have mentioned the feed dogs and this is what I was going to suggest as well. If your feed dogs are working it should be relatively simple to feed your fabric into your machine. Hope all these great suggestions help. If your unsure about your feed dogs have your mentor try your machine. She'll be able to tell you if their working properly.

  25. #25
    Senior Member donna13350's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    791
    When I was taught to sew, I was told that your hands should rest lightly on either side of your foot..they are to "steer" only, not to push or pull...the feed dogs should walk your fabric through without any guidance from you at all...if they don't, then something is out of adjustment.
    This is just for sewing..free motion you do have to push, pull and guide, but that's an entirely different method.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.