Keeping a consistent seam allowance

I'm attempting to make a new quilt. Unfortunately, I'm not the most accurate seamstress in the world. My grandma's old machine had the seam allowances marked very clearly, but they're harder to see on my new machine. The new machine also has multiple needle positions, and I find it all a little confusing.

I'm sewing a bunch of little rectangles together for the quilt. The first strip I sewed together was curved. Impressive, right? Except I didn't do it on purpose. I had been starting out each seam at 1/4", then veering off a little. By the time I finished, one side was more than half an inch longer than the other. I'm in the process of ripping it all out now, which isn't very fun, but it's not so bad while watching All Creatures Great and Small with my husband.

To fix my problem, I tried something new: I put a piece of tape on my machine to mark the line I want to keep the fabric on. I also wrote the correct needle position on the tape. I sewed another strip of rectangles together, and this time I was only off about 1/16". Hooray! I will have to take the tape off to change the bobbin, but that's okay. I'm glad to have a solution.

Do you have any advice for sewing straight and accurately? I could definitely use some tips.


  1. Margo,
    I do the same thing.. When I sew a tiny seam ,that has to be straight, I put on a piece of tape.. works perfect every time..
    This strip looks like it is going to be a really pretty quilt.

  2. Keep yor eye on the tape and not the needle. It's hard with quilting little pieces. Mini mistakes snowball.

  3. My sewing machine is clearly marked, and I'm so grateful. I agree with Danielle, though. I never watch the needle, I just watch the edge of the fabric, and it's always worked out.