Basic Settings for Sewing Straight Stitches on a Sewing Machine

Are you confused or unsure about all the settings on your sewing machine? Here's a quick list of the average settings for sewing straight stitches on a machine. 

Seam sewn with straight stitches


  • Stitch Length: 2.5mm or 10 (stitches per inch)
  • Stitch Width: needle centered over stitch plate*
  • Stitch Tension: 4

*The Stitch Width dial moves the needle left and right. A straight stitch has no width so it makes sense to set the dial at "0". However, each machine varies so you will want to set the Stitch Width dial at the position where the needle is centered over the stitch plate. This will give you the most accurate seam allowance. If you can't figure out the correct setting for centering the needle and you don't have the owner's manual for your machine, stitch a seam with a 1/2 inch seam allowance and then use a ruler to measure the seam allowance. Adjust the Stitch Width dial as necessary.

Choosing a Sewing Machine

So, you're ready to start sewing but you don't know which machine to buy or if the used machine you have been given is going to work. Let's review some key things to think about when it comes to making a decision on a sewing machine.

  • Is it a manual (mechanical) or computerized sewing machine?
  • Does it have a drop-in bobbin or front-loading bobbin?
  • New or used? A used machine can be just as good as a new machine, but just make sure it's been well-maintained.
  • Does it require special presser feet and accessories or can you use standard parts (that are usually less expensive)?
  • What do you intend to sew with it?
  • Will you use it often or just for mending jobs and quick projects?
Choosing a Sewing Machine

Knowing the answers to these questions can be very helpful when making a decision. I have written a detailed blog post all about sewing machines on my craft blog, Dia's Days. It is entitled Let's Start with Sewing Machines and I think you will find it helpful when it comes to making the best choice for yourself.

If you want my personal opinion on a machine you're considering buying, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me. I'm happy to help!

The Teacher

claudia miller of sew you studio

Hi, I'm Claudia, the sewing instructor at Sew You Studio. I've been teaching children and adults to sew since 2007. I was once an elementary school teacher but became a stay-at-home mom when our first daughter was born. After a few years of being home and sewing for my children, I decided I'd like to teach again but this time I would teach sewing.

It's been a fun journey teaching others how to use a sewing machine and how to make clothes, quilts, items for home, and gifts. There are many people who have never learned to sew and are eager to figure it out for practical or creative reasons; they want to learn so that they can hem their pants, so they can express their sense of fashion, or they just want to develop a new hobby. Whatever the reason, they quickly learn that making and creating your own things is very rewarding.

LEARN: In the upcoming year (2014), my instruction will be focused on a sewing program for kids ages 8 and older--a type of "sewing school".  The goal is to give my students a good foundation in sewing by developing skills and independence over a semester-long program. The students will progress through different levels while making a variety of skill-appropriate projects. 

I will be offering a few project-based classes for those kids who can't make the "sewing school" series or who are looking for something fun to do on the days there is no school. (Calendar to be updated soon.)

For moms interested in sewing for their kiddos, join me on Monday mornings at Amelia's Mammas to sew cute things for the ones you love--childcare is provided for a small fee. Private lessons for adults are also an option as my schedule allows. 

If you want to learn to sew but don't live in the Denver area, please check out my online class on the Atly learning site: Sewing 101. It's a great class for beginners that will familiarize you with the sewing machine and teach you the basics you will need to start sewing with confidence.

Happy Sewing!


Welcome to the blog for Sew You Studio! I'm happy you've stopped by and I hope that you are as excited as I am about sewing. On this blog, I will be sharing tips and ideas to make sewing fun and creative because the process should be enjoyable. 

Learn to sew!

Learn to sew!

One reason I teach sewing is to share the joy of creating something with skill and pleasure. There's nothing that compares to the satisfaction of making something yourself and making it uniquely yours.

So, are you ready? Let's go sew!