Many people are aware that the industry sews without pinning. It’s true, a considerable amount of sewing can be done on gauge without pinning. In fact, pinning where it isn’t needed, can distort the sewing and waste a lot of time. Sewing without pinning is especially effective when sewing long straight, or gently curved seams. Once learned this is a very fast way to achieve beautiful, precision sewing.
Here are the secrets to successful sewing without pinning:
1.  The pattern must fit before the fashion fabric is cut.
2.  The pattern’s seam allowances need to be modified so no trimming is needed after the seam is sewn. (See Post 18 REDUCING SEAM ALLOWANCES)
3. The fabric must be cut correctly.
4.  Notches must be cut, with just a snip of the shears, no deeper than 1/8 inch to help with controlling the seam as it is sewn.
To see video please visit
In this video Shira shows how to sew edge-to-edge, notch-to-notch, the way seams are sewn in industry.  Notice that Shira stops in the midst of sewing the seam, adjusts the top ply, makes sure the top notch lies directly over the bottom notch, before finishing the seam.  
Shira is making sure the edge of the seam allowance is running along the gauge on the machine. This is extremely important as sewing on gauge ensures that the garment will fit correctly.
Shira is wasting no time with pinning or removing pins.
Correctly sewn the top ply at either end of the seam is not even 1/16 inch shorter or longer than the bottom ply. The top long edge of the seam lies edge-to-edge to the long edge of the bottom ply. The seam allowance measures the exact amount drafted on the pattern.
In industry pattern makers check the seam allowances on the sample garments with transparent rulers to make sure the seams have been sewn on perfect gauge.  This is extremely important as it ensures that the garment will fit.

Essential to successful sewing is the gauge. Using a gauge eliminates the need to mark sewing lines on the fabric. If the sewing machine does not have a gauge, one can be put on the machine. Cut a small piece of masking tape. Tape it to the machine as shown in the diagram on the left.  Measure and mark the gauges from the sewing machine’s needle.
Also extremely useful is the straight stitch foot and plate. Their use prevents the fabric from jamming down in the race (the race encases the bobbin and bobbin case). Unfortunately straight stitch plates are no longer manufactured for many home sewing machines.  However, using just the straight stitch foot will help to prevent the fabric from jamming in the race. The plate shown in the diagram is from my 260 Pfaff. Plates vary in shape, depending on the machine.  If you have an older machine you may be able to purchase a straight stitch plate. It is worth the money. Straight stitch feet can be purchased on line below.

The zigzag plate is standard on today’s home sewing machines. The zigzag foot is excellent for finishing many seam allowances, especially if a very small width is used – as is done in France.  Unfortunately the zigzag foot and its plate have become the standard foot and plate used in home sewing here in the USA. That’s not the case in industry where precision sewing is essential.  In industry the straight stitch foot and plate are standard.



Straight stitch feet and others can be purchased from If you decide to order,please enter the brand and model number of the machine you are purchasing the foot for.

This is the Straight Stitch Foot 45321 – old style Singer  

pd60-45321 $8.99
Here are two other feet you might consider purchasing that I find essential when sewing.
I love the adjustable zipper foot. Set to the left of the needle it sets zippers; set to the right it makes cording. It should be used with a straight stitch plate.





I use the buttonhole foot when I make buttonholes.  This foot is used with the zigzag plate.



More later,
Link for Laurel’s books on Amazon
P:215 884 7065, F:215 884 3727, C:610 908 7222


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