Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sewing Machine Guideline Tutorial

I wanted to share a little tip about a guideline I keep on my sewing machine bed that helps me sew so much faster! You can do it yourself, it's easy, and it will save you a ton of time when you're piecing!

You'll need about 6 or 7 inches of duct tape - enough to go from your needle to the edge of your machine bed. The wilder the tape, the better, in my opinion. I used sparkly silver duct tape, and it works perfectly because I don't ever sew with anything sparkly so when I see too much of the sparkles, I know I'm not lined up correctly (more on this later). It also makes my machine look fancy!

Watch the video or read through the steps below!

Take a piece of duct tape (about 6", or the length of your sewing machine bed) and cut it 1/4" wide. 
Put your needle in the down position. Line up your ruler right against the needle. Don't put pressure on the needle, just make sure the ruler is flush against it. Then line up the ruler markings to be parallel with your throat plate to make sure it is straight. 
Using your ruler as a guide, place your piece of tape from the throat plate onto your machine bed (right up against the ruler).

Now you can start sewing! It's that easy!
These next steps will show you why this little piece of tape is so helpful!

When sewing corner triangles, you typically need to draw a line down the wrong-side center of the square that you're sewing on. When you have a ton of those blocks to sew, though, drawing all those lines can be tedious! With the tape guideline, you just need to put your needle down in the top corner and follow the tail end of the other corner as it is lined up with the left side of your guideline.  Keep the corner lined up with the guideline and you'll come out with a perfectly straight line down the middle of your square. 

Instead of drawing a line down the center of the fabric and sewing 1/4" to the right and left to make two half square triangles, just place your square in the machine with  the top point lined up with your 1/4" presser foot (the other point will line up on the right side of the guideline) Put your needle in to start and stitch, keeping the block straight the whole time, then flip it around and do the same to the other side. Usually I will chain stitch pieces like this and do a whole row of seams on the left and then flip all of my pieces around and do the other side.
When you cut down the middle and open each side, you'll have two perfect half square triangles  without having to draw a line down the middle of the square each time.
When you're just piecing with regular 1/4" seams, line up your piece with the right of the tape. I like to take a scant seam, so when I can see a tiny bit of the tape, I know I'm right in line. If I don't see any, my seam is too big, and if I see too much sparkle, my seam is too scant.

Thanks for watching this tutorial and let me know if you have any useful sewing tips to share!


Jackie said...

What a great tip! I have one of those Angler things but have never used it. It doesn't quite fit my sewing machine bed. Using tape would not pose any issues with size etc. Thank you!

Carol Hydeman said...

Great tip and video, Jill. Love the sparkly tape idea since it definitely catches your eye. However, the best part of this video for me is seeing your smile and looking so well. I hope and pray that means your have left your illness behind and each day brings you joy and gets your creative juices flowing. Hugs from Tucson, Arizona.

Quilting Tangent said...

Gret tip - Thank you!

Zanymouse said...

Thank you so much for the easy duct tape tutorial! I have tried marking on the bed of my machine with pencil, pen, Sharpie, and washi tape, but none of those worked really well. The duct tape was super easy to apply and my seam allowance came out perfectly. Thank you!

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