Go Back  Quiltingboard Forums > Main
1/4 inch for quilting and when done, it >

1/4 inch for quilting and when done, it

1/4 inch for quilting and when done, it

Old 07-15-2012, 04:53 PM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
sewhat540's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Cheektowaga, NY
Posts: 394
Default 1/4 inch for quilting and when done, it

1/4 inch for quilting so I have been told and try to keep it going but what am I doing wrong in the end. Some times it works out great then, later I measure and it is off,not by much but as time goes by four or five blocks later it doesn't measure right.

So I need some answers to get this straight. I have seen on some measuring that different rulers seem to be a bit different when done. Or am I stretching fabic too much or not holding the rotary tter straight. Any help will be appreciated.

sewhat540 is offline  
Old 07-15-2012, 05:02 PM
Super Member
grammy Dwynn's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Oregon
Posts: 2,040

1/4" seams can be a pain in the ........ (you fill in the blank) The biggest question ~ do you have a 1/4" foot? Trying to sew, just using the itty bitty, tiny little mark on you machine is another pain in the ....... You should be 'guiding' the fabric, not push, pulling, or stretching.

Rotary cutting does also affect the outcome of your blocks. As does pressing and your 1/4" seams.

Try to use the same brand of ruler on a project.
grammy Dwynn is offline  
Old 07-15-2012, 05:03 PM
Super Member
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Bosque County, Texas
Posts: 2,709

Is it the cutting that is bothering you or the stitching?
TanyaL is offline  
Old 07-15-2012, 05:03 PM
Power Poster
Join Date: May 2008
Location: MN
Posts: 22,549

Could be any or all of the above.

Places where variations can occur:

Ruler used
Where ruler is placed on the fabric
How rotary cutter is held - perpendicular to the fabric or at a slant
Seam width
Thread used
Pressing technique

A handy test to see how you are doing:

Cut three strips of the fabrics you are using your (2 x 5 inches)
Sew them together with your 1/4 inch seam with the thread you plan to use
Press the way you usually press

Measure the unit:

It 'should' measure 5 x 5 and the center strip should have 1.5 inches showing

If it's wider than 5 x 5 - or the center strip is wider than 1.5 inches -
Your strips may be cut a bit wide
Your seam allowance may be too narrow

If it's narrower than 5 x 5 - or the center strip is narrower than 1.5 inches
Your strips may be cut a bit narrow
Your seam allowance may be too wide

Or it could be a combination of several factors - those are two of the easier things to 'fix'
bearisgray is offline  
Old 07-15-2012, 05:11 PM
Super Member
paulswalia's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Vermont
Posts: 1,095

Oh Ginny - could be ALL OF THE ABOVE! If cutting is off, then the block size is off. If you stretch the fabric, especially a problem when sewing on bias edges, then the block size is off. I've even had a problem when using two different rulers (from different companies) and the block size is off. Then there's the "scant quarter inch" issue. Don't get me started.........Best thing is to take three precisely cut 2.5 inch by 3 inch rectangles and sew them together on the 3 inch sides. Measure when done and you should have a 6.5 by 3 inch block. If you don't, and you know for certain that your cutting was accurate, then it's your sewing. That means you need to "find" your quarter inch. Take a piece of grid paper, 4 squares to the inch or a lined index card. Put your needle EXACTLY on a line and see where the next line to the right of it falls in relation to your sewing machine foot. That is where your fabric needs to flow under your foot in order for your seam to be a quarter inch. If a block has many seams in it, it's best to have your seams be "scant", or ever so slightly short of a full quarter inch. And some people even use thinner thread in order to not take up excess measure in the seam (once it is pressed over). Oh, and pressing can also turn your block into the wrong size. Remember to press, not iron. And check your block measurements at interim steps in the block. Square up if necessary. There should be a full 3 credit college course on this subject - so keep practicing until you get it.
paulswalia is offline  
Old 07-15-2012, 05:14 PM
Power Poster
PaperPrincess's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 11,229

Try to use the same ruler, or at least the same brand ruler for the whole project.
Here's a good way to check your seam as you sew, this will also work with the ruler you selected, and check your cutting:
Make sure that you are also pressing your seams correctly. Sew, Press (up and down) on the seam you've just sewn, then press (up and down) the seam to the side. Make sure you don't have a tiny tuck at the seam.
Measure each block as you go in case you are drifting off. Till you get the hang of it, don't wait till you've done 5 blocks to get a measurement.
And finally, don't be too hard on yourself. It's great to shoot for perfection, but the quilt will be lovely even with some slip ups.
PaperPrincess is offline  
Old 07-15-2012, 05:37 PM
Super Member
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Mechanicsville, IA
Posts: 1,497

I found the best rulers to help us with cutting straight are the TruCut rulers and cutter sold at www.graceframe.com/site/rotarycutting/ruler. The ridge on the cutter rides on the track of the ruler so you don't get cutting errors from tipping the cutter. I like their ergonomic cutter best. The cutters only work with their rulers.
Silver Needle is offline  
Old 07-16-2012, 05:37 AM
Super Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 5,397

I know how you are feeling. My first civil war quilt was like this when I was trying to make 6 1/2 in sqs. My teacher checked my seams and they were 1/4 in. Then she shared a tip with me that really helped. I now use Aurifil thread. It may not seem like much it being a 2ply thread and most others being 3ply but when you are looking at several seems in a small block it can add up. Also, not all rulers are the same. Use one ruler for the whole quilt so you get consistancy. I also move my needle over so that it's slightly more than a scant 1/4 in so I'll have some room if I need it. I'd rather square it down then not have it big enough. I like to starch my fabric because it helps keep it from stretching and if I'm doing triangles, I really like to starch it.
romanojg is offline  
Old 07-16-2012, 06:42 AM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
sewhat540's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Cheektowaga, NY
Posts: 394

Thank you for your interest in my problem. I also notice that every 1/4 is not the same with or without a foot. I do have a foot but now am wondering if I should just mark my machine and call it a day.
sewhat540 is offline  
Old 07-16-2012, 06:44 AM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
sewhat540's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Cheektowaga, NY
Posts: 394

I know I was having a problem with the bottom thread and had to turn it around but with talking to others, I am now wondering if it can be the thread if it is not the same top and bottom. I usually don't have this problem but this time it really irritated me. I had to take it all apart.
Thanks for writing.
sewhat540 is offline  
Related Topics
Thread Starter
Last Post
08-21-2017 07:49 AM
07-21-2011 02:25 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.