Easy DIY Seam Guide Made with Household Items

April 7th, 2012 at 3:49 pm . Posted in Sewing Machine Talk .

G = Guide

You guys, I just discovered something AMAZING to help me sew straight seams. But let’s start from the beginning…

When I found out about a handy product for sewing — a magnetic seam guide — it prompted a rollercoaster of emotions. Many magnetic guides are available on the market, but I was sent a link to one from Nancy’s Notions. “Easily make sure your stitching line stays straight all the way,” the tagline says.

Emotional reaction: Excited. YAY, this sounds great!

But then the product overview warned not to use it with a computerized sewing machine, which is precisely the kind I have.

Emotional reaction: Crestfallen and confused. But… why not? I want to sew straight seams, too.

So I naturally went into research mode and did some Googling. I found a thread on a quilting message board that explained magnetic accessories can mess up the magnetic part of the machine’s hard drive.

I continued reading up on the topic on message boards, reviews and the Brother website. Brother actually offers a seam guide (happy!), but it’s not compatible with my model (sad).

I had a lightbulb moment when I realized seam guides don’t have to be magnetic — they can also be adhesive!

Emotional reaction: Hopeful and determined. Must find adhesive seam guide I can use…

I did find a couple different options, but I also found something even better: A suggestion for a non-magnetic, household-item “seam guide,” also known as a pad of Post-it notes. It sounds like the idea came from Treadle On.

Emotional reaction: Optimistic but skeptical. It’s at least worth a shot…

So I tested it. I found the notepad didn’t stick to the machine with its own adhesive as well as I would have liked, so I secured it down with a piece of masking tape. Lo and behold, it worked! I was able to sew a long straight seam by keeping the fabric right against the edge of the Post-its.



Emotional reaction: Super excited again.


27 Comments ( Reply )

  1. Katherine
    Apr 07, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

    When Kelsey suggested the magnetic guide to me and in turn me to you, I was super excited as well, but I’m SO GLAD YOU POSTED THIS. My machine, though not a Brother, is also computerized, and I have a feeling that magnetic seam guide would have caused me the same woes.

    Post it notes? Let’s just call you the MacGyver of the sewing world. Brilliant! I will have to do this ASAP.


    • Kelly
      Apr 07, 2012 @ 7:24 pm

      Glad to help 🙂


  2. Debbie
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

    What a great, resourceful idea. Don’t you just love thos “lightbulb” moments?


    • Kelly
      Apr 08, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

      Yes, they’re great!


  3. M
    Apr 09, 2012 @ 12:09 am

    I have a computerized machine also…a Bernina- what brand is yours? My sister, sews perfectly straight seams all on her own…I am so jealous of her…I need a guide!
    Happy A-Z April!


  4. Lucy Adams
    Apr 09, 2012 @ 11:46 am

    I’m catching up on my A to Z visits.

    My grandmother was a fabulous seamstress. She could sew anything. I’ve tried many times to improve my skills. The only thing I’m really good at making, though, is a pillow case. But, I suppose, that’s something.



    • Kelly
      Apr 09, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Lucy! A pillow case is nothing to scoff at!


  5. Sue
    Apr 09, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

    I have to admit that I am not a seamstress – I’m visiting from the A to Z challenge. But, I looked around at your blog and I’ve subscribed just for decorating ideas. I love the pics of your living room (I’m going to pin it in pinterest) and I’m sure you will have others. So, although I may not be making my own pillows, I can still get ideas…and my sister sews like crazy, so I can always forward projects to her that I REALLY want made. And who knows? Maybe you will inspire me to try sewing for myself! 🙂


    • Kelly
      Apr 09, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

      Hi Sue! Thank you so much for checking out my blog and subscribing I hope you keep finding my posts inspiring, whether for decorating or sewing ideas — or both!


  6. Tammy
    Apr 10, 2012 @ 12:53 am

    I love this!
    I’m a quilter so I do alot of sort seams when I piece, but really dislike when I have to sew long rows together or sew on borders
    because it really is hard to keep those seams straight!
    I plan on trying this method!


    • Kelly
      Apr 10, 2012 @ 11:27 am

      I hope it helps!


  7. Michelle L.
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

    Hi, Kelly – a friend sent me to your blog – what a great post! I am learning to sew and can’t wait to try this! Thanks for a fun tutorial – you are a really good writer.


    • Kelly
      Apr 24, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

      Thanks, Michelle! I hope this helps with your sewing 🙂


  8. Nancy
    Jul 14, 2012 @ 7:49 am

    Thank you for thw informtion on sewing a straight seam using post its. Im on it ASAP. im excited you have made my day! I have both items already in the house. Wow what an exceellent idea. Thanks again!


  9. Michele A.
    Oct 08, 2012 @ 8:12 pm



  10. neeruam
    Nov 02, 2012 @ 3:18 am

    To maybe make this idea even better, Post-It now makes a Super Sticky version as well as a version that has adhesive over the entire back of the note. I don’t know if one works better than the other though, but I’m planning to test both very soon. One or the other may eliminate the need for the masking tape…


    • Kelly
      Nov 03, 2012 @ 4:27 pm



  11. Nanci Byers
    Jun 20, 2013 @ 1:19 am

    Hi Kelly,

    You are simply amazing. I just started sewing a little while ago also–first time touching a sewing machine at age 43! Anyway, I picked the same machine you did–the Brother CS6000i. I am still having problems with the 1/4″ seam and tried and tried all the different possibilities without much success. Then I saw the same beautiful seam guide you did and as you were, was super excited!! Then, like you, I found out it did not work with our machine. When I did some more internet searching, I found your lovely post. 🙂 Yah! It’s funny that we are both learning to sew at approximately the same time. 🙂 Although with your blog and this post it sounds like you are much further along than I am! I tried your cool trick and it worked better than anything I have ever tried. I am super excited. The perfect 1/4″ seam might just be within reach. Thank you so much. Cheers, Nanci


  12. Scooter
    Oct 23, 2013 @ 11:55 am

    Super awesome idea! I have the darnest times sewing a straight line for very long. This is the cure for all of my 5/8 seam woes!


  13. sharon
    Dec 28, 2013 @ 10:41 pm

    A strip of masking tape works great. As well


  14. GiGi Hooks
    Jan 19, 2014 @ 9:49 pm

    Fantastic! I was shopping online to purchase sewing notions and ran across your blog. I am beginning to sew again and can’t find all the little gadgets I once had. Things are much more expensive now than they were when I begin to sew. I even printed a six inch ruler from the Internet, laminated it and made a 6″ sewing guage. I took some empty cans, (peas, corn, etc.) and made holding caddies for my scissors, pencils, and other items to avoid them from rolling to the floor. I covered the metal cans with fabric using hot glue. I can’t wait to try your idea.


  15. Magan Reiser
    May 30, 2014 @ 9:26 pm

    When I attended my first sewing class the instructor gave one of these to a little girl to use. We made a fabric wallet (first sewing project ever)and my seams were not very straight. I went out and bought one of the magnetic seam guides today and unfortunately on the back it states not for computerized machines:( Great that’s what I have. I will be taking it back but I was so glad to find this post and will be giving the post it’s a try!



  16. lissie
    Jul 17, 2015 @ 6:06 pm

    The info on magnetic seam guides is not accurate. We have checked with Brother who have assured us it its okay and they put it in writing. So when info is put out let’s make it accurate and old wives tales!!


  17. tamara
    Nov 08, 2015 @ 5:06 am

    your post made my day, thank you so much


  18. Donna Bell
    Nov 15, 2016 @ 8:07 pm

    Kelly, you are a lifesaver for me. I’ve been trying forever to find out what I could use instead of the magnetic seam guide I bought. Got to this blog just browsing and I am forever indebted to you. I feel so much better now. Thank you so much for this information


  19. Joy Stone
    Dec 13, 2016 @ 2:57 pm

    Just came across this when researching magnetic seam guides. Wonderful idea! I will try it today!


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