This is a super easy thing you can do to improve your stitching, guys.
Are you ready for it?
Draw on your stitching lines. Don’t rely on the little lines on your sewing machine and your cut fabric edges to stay on your line! Your stitching will wobble and your seam won’t be accurate. So draw on the lines you need to follow to make the seams.
In the photo below you can see an example of this technique. When I make my own patterns, I don’t include any seams allowance. That way I can include whatever amount I need to for each project and made adjustments as I go. I trace the pattern, add my seam allowance (or just wing it!) It also means that after I trace the pattern for cutting, my stitching lines are already there on the fabric.
See the pencil lines on the top and bottom of my pieces in that picture? Those are my stitching lines.
Whenever the fabric allows, I use a regular pencil as my marking tool. It’s accurate and easy. When that won’t work (on dark fabric or when I’m worried the pencil will show through), I opt for chalk. Whatever marking tool you like as fine, just make sure it will wash out of your fabric (or not show when the garment is finished) and mark an accurate line.
This can absolutely work with a commercial pattern as well. You’ll just have to draw in your stitching line after you trace the pattern. Do it carefully, but it works! Drawing your seams allowances can be time consuming, but the results are worth it, especially on a curved seam where it’s already hard to match the edges. Having a line to pin through and then follow with your needle makes a huge difference!
You’ll notice in the picture above that the lines don’t go all the way to the edge. That’s only because it’s the easiest way to trace the pattern, not because that’s where you stop stitching! Your stitching should go all the way through your seam allowances to the cut edge of the fabric. Always. Almost always. Which is close enough to always for me. If you don’t stitch all the way through, you’ll have some serious weirdness when you try to join seams that cross each other.
So. Draw in your stitching lines. Always. I promise it’s worth the time!