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Thread: Quarter inch seams

  1. #1
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    Quarter inch seams

    I've always thought I was getting quarter inch seams using my quarter inch foot. Even measuring the seam it looks like 1/4 inch. Started the Skill Builder BOM at the beginning of the year and my first block didn't come out right. I got one of those plastic thingies with the tape that you tape down to have 1/4 inch seam...my presser foot wouldn't go down with it on my machine. So then I read about measuring 1/4 using the lines on an index card. I did that yesterday and decided to put painter's tape where 1/4 line is. It covers one of the feed dogs! What's up with that?!?!?! I have the Pfaff Ambition 1.5. Why would the machine be designed this way? Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

  2. #2
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    The seam will work better if you use a scant 1/4". You may have to move your needle to the right a notch to get the scant 1/4".
    Pat H
    Carencro LA

  3. #3
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    I use the quarter inch foot with guide on my Ambition and it works great.

  4. #4
    Super Member Maggiemay's Avatar
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    I use the 1/4" foot on my Pfaff & it works great. I move the needle over a notch for a scant 1/4". The 1/4" foot on my Janome is wide though, so you are right in that they are not always accurate.

  5. #5
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    You can have a perfect quarter inch seam and have your block still not come out the right size. It actually isn't about what's on the seam allowance side of the seam. It's what's left on the other side of the seam that matters. Take three pieces of fabric 2 inches wide and sew them together. Measure the center piece on the right side and if it's not 1.5 inches adjust your seam allowance accordingly.

  6. #6
    Super Member PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    I also have to move my needle to the right when using my 1/4" foot.
    Scissor Queen has provided the best way to check your seam.
    After you figure out where it is on your machine, you're good to go. Note, however, if you change thread size, or fabric, ex: going from cotton to flannel, you should re check and possibly readjust. It only takes a few minutes, and I'd rather take some time checking my seam allowance before I begin than to spend a lot of time and energy pushing/pulling & ripping out to make my blocks fit.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  7. #7
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    You cut out the part that covers the feed dogs leaving the feed dogs open to operate. You mentioned you were using painter's tape. Just cut out the section of tape which covers the feed dogs leaving the tape before the feed dogs, after the feed dogs and to the right of the feed dogs.

    If I can find my camera I'll take a picture for you. I use a folded index card as 1/4 seam guide. First I measured 1/4 and then I taped the card in place to the front and back of my sewing machine. Where the index card would cover the right hand feed dogs, I cut that out so the feed dog wasn't covered.

  8. #8
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    On my Bernina 1230, I move my needle one notch to the right to get my scant 1/4" seam. I have never been able to get accurate seams using a foot. I measure my 1/4" from the needle, then place a physical barrier so I can butt my pieces against it when sewing. I can sew much faster with this barrier. Have cut up and used moleskin in the past, but now I use a Dritz adhesive seam refill because it is higher. (Do not trust their red "seam gauge" that goes with these refills for setting your 1/4" seam. I measured it, and it is set for a full 1/4". If you use it, your seams are almost guaranteed to be a little too big.) I would have posted a picture, but no one on Amazon seems to sell it right now. Got my last batch at JoAnn's for under $3.

  9. #9
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    Thank you everyone for your insights. I've hesitated to move the needle over, because then I'd have to remember it every time I turn on my machine. My memory is not what it used to me, I have to use notes all over the place to remember other things, so I guess I could just attach a note to my machine. I appreciate everyone's help!

  10. #10
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    It took me a long time (at least a year) to remember to move the needle over every time. Now I seldom forget. For a long time I would place a piece of blue painter's tape in front of the needle when I finished a sewing session so I would remember to move the needle before removing the tape. I wrote on the tape too.

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