Friday, July 26, 2019

The Accurate Quarter Inch Seam

Recently, I've seen a few quilt blocks and tops in which the quilters think they're sewing a quarter inch seam, when in reality they are not. And since I'm working on a project that requires an accurate 1/4" seam, I think it's a good time to go over how to accomplish that.

The Accurate Quarter Inch Seam tutorial

Cut Accurately

The first step in accurate, easy piecing, is to cut the fabric accurately. Not a smidgen bigger or smaller - cut the size required. Here, my project calls for 2 1/2" squares.

2.5 inch squares for quilt piecing

Use a Quarter Inch Foot

Most sewing machines come with a 1/4" foot, or allow the needle to be moved side to side for adjustments. My machine has both, and I move my needle a few spaces to the right to achieve that quarter of an inch between the needle and the fabric guide.

quarter inch between needle and fabric guide on the sewing foot

Measure the sewn unit

The final test of an accurate 1/4" seam is to measure the finished unit. Press the seam to one side, then measure the unit. Remember that seams always take up 1/2". In the photo, two 2 1/2" squares sewn together results in a unit that is 4 1/2" wide.

accurate quarter inch seam

If that unit is too short or too long, first double check the cut size of the pieces. Then go to the machine and adjust the needle. Can't move that needle any more? With the help of a ruler, place a piece of tape on the machine bed to mark where the fabric edge should be. Then sew and measure the unit again. Keep adjusting the needle (or tape), and checking the final unit until an accurate 1/4" seam is achieved.

With all of those accurate seams, enjoy having block pieces that fit together easier, taking a lot of frustration out of quilting. 

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1 comment:

  1. I have found that I also have to allow for a fabric that is thicker and if not using 50 wt thread allow for that thickness also. Knowing one's true 1/4" and testing the selected fabric is so important! Good post Susan!


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