Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A quick little PSA: 1/4" seam allowance

No WIP Wednesday today since I can't share anything I'm working on.  Boo.  :(  Plus I've been super busy getting ready for the Big Event next month.  I'll have the big announcement the last week of September & I promise - it's BIG!

So anyways, I have something quick today that I've been meaning to share for a while.  I'll be the first to admit I'm terrible about following patterns/instructions when it comes to the seam allowances.  When I first picked up sewing again a couple years ago, I just used the edge of my sewing foot as my guide & kept my needle in the center position.  My seam allowance was about 3/8", and I never really had any issues with any of the patterns I used.

Then I joined the String Me Along virtual quilting bee, and of course everybody wanted 1/4" seam allowances.  No biggie, I measured with the needle in different positions, did my best, and thought I was doing pretty good with the 1/4" seam allowance (or so I thought).  But my blocks were coming out a tiny bit small (sorry ladies!), or at least not big enough to be able to trim down & square up.

Now that I'm working on the watermelon quilt blocks, I knew I needed to have exact 1/4" seams to make sure everything came out the size it's supposed to.  Plus, I knew I really needed to start being more precise with my seam allowances.  So I picked up this 1/4" foot from Distinctive, and I love it!  Some of the reviews on Amazon say they don't like it because the center hole for the needle doesn't allow you to make a scant 1/4" seam.  But I was able to put my needle just to the right of center (my needle goes from 0 to 7 for the left & right placement, so I set it at 4.5) to get that perfect 1/4" or scant 1/4" seam.

So here's my little test piece.  The red is my old 1/4" seam I was making with my regular sewing foot.  The dark line in the center is using the 1/4" foot with the needle in the center position.  This is a true 1/4" seam.  The blue is using the 1/4" foot with the needle just a couple nudges to the right of center, making a scant 1/4" seam.

1/4" seam

It's so nice to be able to be so precise now!  Blocks are coming together much better, and it makes all the difference in the world.

My only problem is I keep forgetting to move the needle to the center before I start sewing, and I've already broken at least two needles from hitting the top of the sewing foot.  I'm definitely getting better about remembering though!

Until next time...


  1. Glad you found something that works for you :o)

  2. YAY! Isn't it amazing what a difference it makes? you wouldn't think such a small amount would matter.

  3. I've had a 1/4 inch foot for a while, but my seams are never perfect! I have always wondered though, living in a metric country, what on earth is a scant 1/4"??

  4. Hate to suggest it, but,,it also matters which way you press. If you press open you get one result, to the side gives a fractionally different result. I am sure Lily's quilts did an item on this not long since...

    But I am glad you are getting the result you need. So frustrating when it comes out, just not quite!


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