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How to Make a Straight Stitch or Topstitch on Sewing Machine

Learn how to make a straight stitch or a topstitch with a sewing machine from designer Jennifer Wiese in this Howcast tutorial.


Hi. I'm Jennifer from Workroom Social. Now, let's talk about stitching.

So, once your machine is already set up and you want to start sewing, this is what you do. We're going to do a straight stitch right now. We're going to start with a basic stitch length. We're going to go 2.5 on the stitch length. We've got a pretty low, low-ish tension, between a 3 and a 4, just for what I'm doing here. And I want to sew this fabric in half so that one side is touching the other.

So, I'm just going to make the raw edges touch. I'm going to lift my presser foot and put my fabric underneath. I'm going to line the raw edge with the seam guide on my throat plate at five-eighths of an inch, five-eighths of an inch seeam allowance, which is very common for home sewing projects. I'm going to lower the presser foot. Make sure everything is straight.

And then, I'm going to sew a straight line. So, the best thing to do while you're doing this is you want to hold the fabric. Your fabric's to the left and you're using your seam guide to your right. You want to just let the feed dogs, which are the little teeth that sit underneath the presser foot, you want to let them pull the fabric. You don't want to push. You don't want to pull from the backside. It's going to stretch your fabric and it's really uncomfortable to do that, anyway. So, we're just going to go.

Once we're all set up, we'll sew a straight line. As you're going along, feel free to stop at any point if something is going a little funny or you're not sure if you're going exactly straight or if you need to reposition the fabric. You don't have to sew your straight line all at once. It's okay to take a break.

You'll notice I'm not using pins here, so I want to stop every once in a while and go back and realign my fabric, making sure my raw edges are together.

When I got to the end, I just sewed off the fabric, I'm going to pull my piece of fabric out, cut my tails, and then here is our straight stitch, parallel with our raw edge because we used our seam guide. And now you're ready to make all kinds of fun things.

And that's how you do a straight stitch.

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