Sewing Accurate Seam Allowances

So a pattern calls for 1/2" sewing allowance, how do you ensure your seams are exactly 1/2"? Eyeball? Use chalk to mark all the way down? Simple, use seam guides located on your sewing machines.

The presser foot: you know this can be used as a guide right? The distance from the needle to the edge of the presser foot is a specific amount. For instance
in my vintage zigzag machine, it is 1/4", so when I need to sew a 1/4 seam, all I have to do is align the edge of the fabric to the edge of the presser foot as I sew. Check out your sewing machine and find out what distance your presser foot is from the needle point.
The throat plate:  on some sewing machines like  the industrials, you will see rows of lines etched onto the plate at intervals, most times with the distance marked by it. All you have to do is to align your fabric edge to the line if you sewing a straight line; if it is a curved line, it may be difficult to align to the etched line, so what you have to do is to ensure that at the exact point, when the needle is sinking in, the fabric edge at that point is on the line (though the parts of the fabric edge before and after may not be exactly on the line)

Now, if your sewing machine is the "black head" that is often used with the leg treadle system, then you most likely don’t have this etched lines on your throat plate, you can make yours though. I will show how in the next post. Stay tuned.
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  1. That's it. That's what I do.

    On sewing machines without the etched lines, I simply use a masking tape and measure out the lines and paste it on the throat plate.

    Viola! We have a sewing guide.

  2. Hhm, nice idea, Never thought of that.


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