Like many of us, when we start to sew, we are often too excited or impatient to properly investigate our machines. A great product is dependent on more than just sewing accuracy. We must also trace out any paper pattern precisely and cut it out perfectly before we even sit down at our machines.

Let’s assume for now we have triumphed in our tracing and cutting, and the final hurdle is sewing accuracy. My big tip is a simple one. Measure the distance between the needle, when in its centre position, and the edge of your foot. Once measured, sew a line of stitches, and check your measurements. You will then precisely know the seam allowance being sewn when you line up the fabric with the edge of your foot. It is so simple, but how many of us do this as a matter of course?

There can also be some variability in the Seam Guide Feet and Quarter Inch Feet, and it is best not to rely on these but repeat the measurements using these feet. You can then make the seam allowance correct by adjusting how the fabric is fed into the foot.

It is also helpful to take the time to check the marks on the sewing machine needle plate. You can extend the needle plate marks and feed the fabric at these distances using masking tape. Checking these marks will mean you can rely on their accuracy in the future.

Taking twenty minutes to investigate your machine will save many more minutes of unpicking – so I recommend you spend some time with a tape measure, masking tape, a pen and your feet as soon as possible. Write the results down – in a sewing book or your machine manual for easy future reference.

Go on – give it a go!