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Thread: scant 1/4 inch stitch

  1. #1
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    scant 1/4 inch stitch

    Is it better to do the scant or the regular 1/4 inch stitch for all your quilt making? Some patterns say scant others say reular 1/4 inch. I would like your feedback on this, Thank You.

  2. #2
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    It's better to use the seam width that will give you the expected size of the blocks/units you are making.

    A good test - or trial run - for any project:

    Cut three strips of the fabrics you plan to use 'your' two inches wide by 5 inches long
    Sew them together with 'your' 1/4 inch seam and the thread you plan to use
    Press the seams the way you press them - to the side, open, whatever
    Measure the unit you just made - it 'should' measure 5 inches by 5 inches - and the center strip should be 1-1/2 inches wide.

    If it's smaller than expected, make narrower seams.
    If it's larger than expected, make wider/deeper seams.

    Some variables that can affect the finished size:
    Were the fabrics washed/shrunk before cutting - some shrink when steam-pressed
    Cut size of pieces
    Seam width
    Thread thickness
    Pressing technique

    When I say 'your' measurements of the cut pieces - unless one is using a die cutter, one can have small size variations - depending on which ruler one uses, where one places the ruler on the fabric, etc.

  3. #3
    Junior Member Freddie's Avatar
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    I totally agree with bearisgray. It is final result that is important.
    Last edited by Freddie; 05-22-2012 at 01:48 PM. Reason: wrong name

  4. #4
    Super Member tatavw01's Avatar
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    still don't know what a scant is...my husband is a math teacher with a master in Mathematics, he said a scant is not a measurement or number like 1/16 or 1/8 or 1/4 etc..

  5. #5
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    'Scant' - when referring to cooking measurements or seam widths - is just a 'tad' or 'smidgen' less than the stated measurement.

    Seriously, though, I think in many cases, it means to use an exact 1/4 inch - or perhaps a 31/64 inch seam - or a 63/128 inch seam - there are so many variables, that one has to do a little practice run for most projects.

  6. #6
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    My Bernina sews a perfect scant 1/4. I think the most important thing is to be consistent. Use the same seam allowance throughout the project. I do a test block and measure it to be sure it meets the pattern requirement.

  7. #7
    Super Member cabbagepatchkid's Avatar
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    I've read that the reason they recommend a "scant" 1/4 inch is because the stitching line takes up "space" and it fills in the rest of the 1/4" and doesn't use any of the space required in the block itself. Clear as mud???
    ~~Cathy~~

  8. #8
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    yes to all the things Bear said and would like to add ...

    .... it also depends on the thickness of the fabric you are using (especially if you are ironing to one side). An Asian print for example, will require a smaller seam allowance to get that 5" square she described, and a batik will require less. If you are using fabrics of various width's in your project, you will get various results

    It will not make a whole lot of difference if you are making blocks using large pieces - say a 9 patch with 5" squares. But if you make small piece blocks (like me) it will make a LOT of difference.

    Lastly, the size of the seam allowance may or may not make a difference BUT it should always be uniform. If your pattern calls for pieced border - then the size of the quilt before the border needs to be accurate which means your seam allowances need to be accurate. If you are putting on a solid pieced border you're going to measure it anyway so the quilt size can be whatever you want it to be.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  9. #9
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Unless the piece calls for a scant 1/4" seam, I would NOT use it. My reason is quite simple; if you habitually use a scant 1/4" seam, then when the piece requires that measurement, you'd have to use a scant scant 1/4" seam, to get the proper result. Seriously, you could "scant" yourself out of a seam, entirely!

  10. #10
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Yes, you always need to use a scant 1/4". On some patterns it won't matter in the long run, but if you are used to doing it then it becomes second nature. Then all your blocks will be perfect and life will be good.

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