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Thread: solution to 1/4" seam

  1. #1
    Member sallywag's Avatar
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    I just wondered if anyone just changes the 1/4" seam to 1/2" seam for their quilts. I'm pretty new at quilting and feel I have better control with a little more seam allowance to "play with"?

  2. #2
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    For the most part that will work, the only time it would get tricky is when you are sewing very narrow pieces/multiple intersections, then the seam allowance could get in the way :D:D:D

  3. #3
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    I thought the same thing a year ago when I started. I have sewn all of my life with a 5/8 inch seam. This 1/4 idea just seemed scary to me.

    However, I have found that 1/4 is plenty. I did have to buy a 1/4 inch foot to put on my sewing machine to guide me, as I just can't do 1/4 on my own.

    Just food for thought. Using 1/2 inch will work too, unless you go for really tiny pieces or have multiple seams intersecting...

  4. #4
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Increasing the seam allowance does add bulk to the quilt. Which would be a problem for many patterns. Though for some simple blocks it would be fine.

  5. #5
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    This can work if the block doesn't contain triangles. It does add a surprising amount to fabric requirements, and makes the quilt heavier. Can be a problem is you decide you want to quilt the traditional 1/4" outside each seamline.

    It's better to just practice until you are consistent with 1/4". Are you trying to sew without a seam guide? I use a strip of moleskin carefully positioned as a "stop" for my seams. Trying to use a tape mark or 1/4" foot (often inaccurate) does not work nearly as well for me as the physical guide.

  6. #6
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    I generally prefer to use at least a 3/8 inch seam for denim and flannel.

    For "regular cottons" - the 1/4 inch seam is adequate.

    I have some antique hand-pieced blocks that had scant 1/8 inch seams.

    I do have an "older" quilting book that called for1/2 inch seams!!

  7. #7
    Super Member fabric_fancy's Avatar
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    since i don't work with patterns i use what ever seam fits me for that project.

    the only time i adhere to the 1/4 rule is in swaps.

  8. #8
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    The first quilting instruction book I bought (loooong time ago) used 1/2" seams throughout the book. As the others have said, this is okay for basic blocks (I also use this for some kids quilts). The best thing is to learn the 1/4" seam--all patterns today use this so you wouldn't have to convert them to accomodate a larger seam. Also doesn't work with triangles, OBW's, very small blocks.
    Practice, practice, practice LOL!!

  9. #9
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    Mary Ellen Hopkins uses what she calls her PPM (personal private measurement) when she pieces and she swears that you don't have to stick to a quarter inch, as long as your seam allowances are consistant thoroughout the project. Her recommendation is to use the seam allowance you are comfortable with. I haven't tried her method (I'm a quarter-incher), so I can't testify to it. But she is a prolific quilter and has written a boat load of quilting books. So I tend to think she is on to something.
    However, pieced block instructions are almost always based on a quarter inch seam allowance, so a change in seam allowance with change the size of the finished block.

  10. #10
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    Tiny blocks for miniature quilts are easier with 1/8" seams, so I'd imagine larger blocks would be fine with 1/2" seams. I usually cut larger and then square up units as I go to their proper size.

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