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.