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Thread: The Mystery of the Scant 1/4".

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Indiana, USA
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    What is a scant 1/4" seam???









    I hear this question all the time.

    It was a question I asked myself

    when I started quilting.

    In quilting we generally sew our

    seams with a 1/4" seam allowance.

    And that is where this mystery begins...
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  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Indiana, USA
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    My first advice would be to get

    a 1/4" seam allowance foot for

    your machine. This will help with

    your accuracy and it just makes it

    so much easier. The photo above

    is the foot for my machine, I love

    the fabric guide on the bottom right,

    it makes it sooo easy. These days,

    you can get a 1/4" seam foot for all

    sorts of machines, even older models.
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  3. #3

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    Sep 2011
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    Indiana, USA
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    Next, you should test to see if your

    1/4" foot is accurate. I run the edge of

    an index card along my foot and sew a

    row of stitches, then I measure to see

    if it really is a 1/4". Mine was, if yours

    is not you will have to adjust for the

    difference. Okay, so now we can sew

    a perfect 1/4" seam and that is the heart

    of our mystery ~ we don't want that.




    WHAT? You may ask? We don't

    want perfection?
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  4. #4

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    Yes, we do want perfection and that is

    when we have to think of the whole

    quilt block and thus, the whole quilt.

    We must take into consideration the

    fact that we have to press that seam open

    and in doing so will lose just a bit of fabric

    as we do so. And that is where the scant

    1/4" seam comes in.
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  5. #5
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by american homestead
    My first advice would be to get

    a 1/4" seam allowance foot for

    your machine. This will help with

    your accuracy and it just makes it

    so much easier. The photo above

    is the foot for my machine, I love

    the fabric guide on the bottom right,

    it makes it sooo easy. These days,

    you can get a 1/4" seam foot for all

    sorts of machines, even older models.
    I must be the only one who doesn't like that guide on the quarter inch foot - I have both, and never use the one with the guide. I prefer to eyeball the 'scant' part, even though I can move the needle over if I wanted.

    I don't know why manufacturers don't make a 'scant' foot - all they need to do is to file off a tad - if not, why don't quilters get their DH's to do it for them?

  6. #6

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    Sep 2011
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    Indiana, USA
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    If we sew all our seams just a bit smaller

    than 1/4" (and I mean 1 or 2 thread widths

    smaller) we will have room to accomodate

    the loss of fabric as we fold and go over the

    stitching as we press. If you move the fabric

    just slightly to the left of the guard, you

    will do just fine.




    Okay, at this point some of you are

    probably saying, "You must be kidding!

    Why should I worry about 1 or 2 threads?"




    But that is when I will remind you that we

    are quilting! In a 12" block we can have many

    seams as we put that block together and if we

    lose just a bit in every seam, they add up to

    a big difference at the end.

    I am always hearing from quilters that their

    blocks don't turn out to be the correct size.

    If you cut correctly and use a scant 1/4" seam,

    your accuracy should improve immensely.




    Note: On many new machines you can move

    the needle easily and this would do make the

    seam just a bit smaller than 1/4". Since all

    machines are different I can't tell you exactly

    how to do this but if you visit the shop where

    you purchased your machine, they could tell

    you exactly how to do this and that could

    make a scant 1/4" seam even easier
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  7. #7
    Senior Member RUSewing's Avatar
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    I love my 1/4" foot and had to adjust it slightly for the scant 1/4". Now my blocks come out the same size and I wouldn't be ashamed to swap them. Kudos to the inventor :)!

  8. #8
    Super Member frarose's Avatar
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    I still haven't got mine right but will keep trying.

  9. #9
    Super Member Chicca's Avatar
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    I enjoyed your post with the information and humor! It really makes sense. Thank you for sharing!

  10. #10
    Super Member Sienna's GiGi's Avatar
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    Akron, Ohio - Atlanta, GA - Mannheim Germany
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    I brought a seam guide to screw onto my machine. You can get them for under 5 bucks at Amazon. You just screw them into the hole on the side of your machine. I also use electric tape too. I will use anything that will make my seams perfect. The seam ripper is not my friend.

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