I am struggling to make a perfect 12.5 inch square. I am very careful about my cuts and my 1/4 inch seam, but it still seems to end up slightly less than 12.5 inch. It ends up about 12 3/8". What am I doing wrong? Do I need more of a "scant" 1/4" seam? Do I need to adjust my pressing?
Is another option to just square up all the squares to 12 3/8" and call it a day?
Thanks for your help!
I have found that pressing is my problem, so I make a scant 1/4 seam and that seems to solve my problem. Might work for you.
Have you measured a seam to see if it is actually 1/4"? Not all feet that claim to be 1/4" truly are.
I agree with Dina about pressing. Accurate pressing is vital. I press against the seam with my fingernail before I use an iron, that way I'm positive that I have it open all the way.
I will check the pressing. My foot is an accurate 1/4" but it could be a little more "scant" I think.
That pesky 1/4" seam. You really don't want to measure the seam, you want to measure the patch that is the result of sewing and pressing the seams. Here's one of several great tutorials on this board that explains it better than I just did:
Having said that, for this project if all your blocks are consistently 12 3/8, and all the blocks in the quilt are square, then I would square them all up to that measurement and complete the quilt. You can sort out your seam width on the next one!
If you can square up all the blocks to 12 and 3/8 without disappearing points, go for it. Unless the block is for an exchange I just try to have a consistent block size for a quilt. If you have a pattern with an intricate pieced border that needs to fit a certain sized interior, then you might have to re-do the blocks or go with a plain border.
I would trim them all to 12-3/8" and be done with it. Try harder to get it perfect on the next one. If you need it a bit bigger, make a bigger border. That is how I would do it.
It was always an adventure for me to get the 12 1/2 inch block. I have found that when I press the seams, I need to first set the seam with the iron and then press it open. I know it takes a moment longer to do the pressing, but it saves me so much agonizing afterward.
If all your blocks are the same 12 3/8 is not an issue. If they are not sometimes we just start over with that one block and then we add some pretty borders and make a doll quilt out of that block that is a little smaller and give it to some little girl who will appreciate it. I have done that many times -- to the point that when we have white gift Sunday at church they look for the doll quilts that they know are coming from me.
It is quite easy to block your blocks and make them a perfect 12.5
Go out and get yourself a cork bulletin board. Take your 12 1/2" square ruler and a sharpie permanent marker and trace the 12 1/2 square onto the cork board.
Take your finished block and pin it to the cork board, pinning opposite corners first then the sides, use as many pins as needed to stretch out that block to meet the drawn lines. Get a spray misting bottle with plain water. spritz that block until it is good and damp then go on and do something else for several hours or overnight allowing the pinned block to dry in place. Remove pins and like magic you will have a perfectly squared up 12.5" block.
Blocking can also be used to square up a completed quilt as well.
Are you trading these blocks with others? If they are all going into one quilt for you, just accept that your seam allowance is your own "personal private measurement" and get on with it. :)
Jan in VA