Sew Multiple Lines of Stitches- straight!

October 20, 2023
graphic of the parallel stitch foot
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Sewing in a straight line can be rough sometimes, right? Well, what would you say if I could show you a sewing machine presser foot that will not only help you sew straight lines, but you can use it to maintain evenly spaced lines when sewing multiple rows of stitches? I hope that you're saying - that's amazing- because that is what I am going to show you today!

What can you make with the Parallel Stitch Foot?

Honestly, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination! This foot is intended to be used with decorative stitches. The wide opening on the foot permits you to use zig-zag or decorative stitches. This is fun because it allows you to use your imagination and create your own fabric design. Play around with mirrored stitches to mix it up even more. After you create your fun fabric, you can then sew your project.

You can also use a straight stitch when using the parallel stitch foot. You could use this foot to spice up garments. I saw a skirt where multiple lines were sewn, and it created not only a beautiful design but an intriguing texture. Personally, I love making zipper pouches. They make great gifts and they're useful. The parallel stitch foot is a great accessory to make a happy little zipper pouch. Decorative towels, pin cushions, a beautiful edge on a pillow case - the list goes on and on.

an example of a project you can sew with a parallel stitch foot

What does the parallel stitch foot look like?

This presser foot has a clear plastic plate with lines on both the left and the right side of foot. The markings can vary by manufacturer, but they generally have:

  • a red center mark. This mark indicates the center needle position
  • a red vertical line on either side of the foot at the 1/2" from the center needle position
  • then another vertical line after the 1/2" line that is a 1/4" increment
  • also, there is usually a horizontal line. This line helps you match your starting point of each line
  • on the underside of the foot, there is a large groove. This groove allows for the dense stitches, again decorative stitches or satin stitches, to pass under the foot smoothly.
parallel stitch foot sitting on a table

How does the parallel stitch foot attach to your machine?

Depending on the manufacturer, it may be a screw on presser foot or a snap on presser foot.

Screw-on option

The one that I am using in the video is a generic, low-shank parallel stitch foot.
This will fit many low-shank domestic machines; however, if you need help verifying compatibility, reach out to us and we will be happy to help you.

Snap-on option

Some are snap on feet. That means that your machine has a shank or presser foot holder that remains on your machine, but by pressing a button on the back of the presser foot shank, the foot releases. You can then place your new presser foot underneath and using your presser foot lifter, you can lower the shank onto the bar on the presser foot, and the foot will click in. This makes it super easy to swap out snap on presser feet.

showing the difference between a screw on parallel stitch foot and a snap on parallel stitch foot

Now you've seen what you can make with this foot and it's attached to your machine - you're ready to go. Let's use it.

How to sew straight!

  • Start with marking your first line. You can use a marking tool like an air erasable marker (my fav) or tailor chalk.
  • At your machine, place your fabric underneath the parallel stitch foot. Remember that the red center line indicates your center needle position. This is also a perfect guide to help you sew directly on your marked line.
  • Select the stitch that you would like to use.
  • Using the red center mark, sew along your marked line. Tip: when sewing, don't look at the needle! Look at the guideline.
  • When you reach the end, cut your thread and bring your fabric back up to the starting point.
  • Line up the horizontal line with the starting point of your first line. This will ensure that all of the sewn lines will start at the same point.
  • Depending on the distance that you would like your sewn lines apart, you can use the different vertical lines available. You can also, center your previous stitches within the lines. I also love using the edge of the foot as a guide. There are so many options.
showing how the parallel stitch foot looks in use

How else can I sew straight?

If you aren't looking to sew multiple lines of stitches and are just needing help sewing a straight seam, check out our blog on the Ideal Seam Gauge and Ideal Seam Guides. It helps you get an accurate- straight- seam allowance, everytime!


I hope this little tutorial has helped you or inspired you. Until next time, Happy Sewing, everybody.

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