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Thread: 1/4 seam

  1. #1
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    1/4 seam

    I am working of a patter that requires a scant 1/4" seam, and there is no fudging here, it has to be perfect. It is a twisty Bargello. Since I rarely use the real 1/4" seam I decided to help mysel a little by placing some markers such as 3M tape for holding up hooks. The tape works great BUT to get a SCANT 1/4" I would have to put the tape so close that it would interfere with the regular sewing foot I have. I ordered the 1/4" but they sent me a wrong one! Just my luck. I have two options - one is to move my needle to the rightmost position mark my distance and hope for the best, and the other option is to use regular needle position with a walking foot. I prefer not to use walking foot for piecing. The reason I usually do not use 1/4" is because I always create my own patterns and I just use the width of my regular sewing foot. My seams are always very consistent width. If I did it the same with the pattern, do you think it would distort it? All the seams would be the same size but a tad wider? Please help! Thank you!
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    Super Member paulswalia's Avatar
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    There is no "legal" definition of a scant quarter. I've heard it described as a "few threads" short of a quarter inch. HUH? So I use my quarter inch foot, which has flange that you run the cut edge of the fabric against, and just make sure I don't push the fabric up tight against the flange. I make sure I can see some space between the cut edge of the fabric and the flange. Here's my bottom line - as long as I'm consistent then things work out. I often say "if you're going to be wrong, be consistently wrong!" I doubt the bargello has any blocks that you can measure to ensure you are at the right measurement. That works for traditional blocks - make a sample and then measure to ensure you have the right size - but maybe not in bargello. Just be consistent!
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  3. #3
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    I just move my needle one notch to the right, when I need to use a scant 1/4 in. seam. That works perfectly for me.

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    Sorry I should have mentioned, that I use a 1/4 ft. also.

  5. #5
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    Move your needle a little to the right to make scant 1/4" seam. As long as you keep checking needle position this should work. This is what I do on my Singer when I use the regular sewing foot. Most pattern call for 1/4" seam but if you are consistant with your seam allowance then you should be alright. Size of quilt may vary due to larger/ small seam allowance. Also what is "scant" anyway? My definition of scant may be several threads smaller/larger than yours.

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    I think the best advice I can give is be consistant. The quilt may end up being a little smaller than the pattern if you don't get a scant 1/4 but if all the seams are the same I don't think it will matter. I think Bargello calls for narrower seams because on some of the very narrow pieces, you don't want the seam allowances to overlap. I have a good 1/4 foot and I move my needle position over one space when A pattern calls for a scant 1/4.

  7. #7
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    It helps a lot to use thin thread. I don't like to piece with any thread heavier then 50 wt 2 ply. Connecting Threads Pro on the cone is 70wt and it is good piecing thread and economical. Superior Sew Fine is excellent and Aurifil. Invisfil is nice too. There are lots great thin threads available that your machine will like.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    I think the best advice I can give is be consistant. The quilt may end up being a little smaller than the pattern if you don't get a scant 1/4 but if all the seams are the same I don't think it will matter. I think Bargello calls for narrower seams because on some of the very narrow pieces, you don't want the seam allowances to overlap. I have a good 1/4 foot and I move my needle position over one space when A pattern calls for a scant 1/4.
    This is what i do. I figure the 1/4" then move the needle one click to the right.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for your help. I will let you know how it goes. I have an inexpensive but good Singer and unfortunately my needle can go in three positions. There are no in between clicks. I will they and see what works the best . The starting strip is only 1" wide and I need to sew strips on both sides. Yikes! I see lots of spray starch in my future.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tashana View Post
    I am working of a patter that requires a scant 1/4" seam, and there is no fudging here, it has to be perfect. It is a twisty Bargello. Since I rarely use the real 1/4" seam I decided to help mysel a little by placing some markers such as 3M tape for holding up hooks. The tape works great BUT to get a SCANT 1/4" I would have to put the tape so close that it would interfere with the regular sewing foot I have. I ordered the 1/4" but they sent me a wrong one! Just my luck. I have two options - one is to move my needle to the rightmost position mark my distance and hope for the best, and the other option is to use regular needle position with a walking foot. I prefer not to use walking foot for piecing. The reason I usually do not use 1/4" is because I always create my own patterns and I just use the width of my regular sewing foot. My seams are always very consistent width. If I did it the same with the pattern, do you think it would distort it? All the seams would be the same size but a tad wider? Please help! Thank you!
    I have an older (30 years old) Riccar machine which I used for piecing when my niece used my Janome. Like yours it has limited needle positions and I don't have a quarter inch foot that fits. I also used 3M tape to get a quarter inch seam but I put the tape about a quarter inch in front of the foot. As long a the fabric leads into the needle at the appropriate width it will stitch at that width with the possible exception of the last little bit. I used my seam ripper to steady the last little piece. I was very pleased with the way that this worked. BTW I also starch well.

  11. #11
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Since your needle can't be moved in tiny increments, try using a different foot. If you have a foot with a groove in it, like for satin stitch, give that a try. I accidentally found out one particular presser foot will give me a scant 1/4", by moving my 1/4" into its groove, just a bit past a true 1/4".

    On my old machine, I would sometimes measure each presser foot, until I found one of the proper width, for whatever seam I wanted, then used the edge of that foot, as a guide.
    Neesie


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  12. #12
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neesie View Post
    Since your needle can't be moved in tiny increments, try using a different foot. If you have a foot with a groove in it, like for satin stitch, give that a try. I accidentally found out one particular presser foot will give me a scant 1/4", by moving my 1/4" into its groove, just a bit past a true 1/4".

    On my old machine, I would sometimes measure each presser foot, until I found one of the proper width, for whatever seam I wanted, then used the edge of that foot, as a guide.
    Excellent suggestion! I will try that right now. Thank you.

  13. #13
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    Warning if your machine reverts to the center position when turned off:

    Whenever I am doing a project that involves moving the needle position I put a note on my machine with the project name and the needle used. I use painter's tape to hold the little post it note ... so it won't fall off and is more visible.

    ali
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  14. #14
    Senior Member mary705's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AliKat View Post
    Warning if your machine reverts to the center position when turned off:

    Whenever I am doing a project that involves moving the needle position I put a note on my machine with the project name and the needle used. I use painter's tape to hold the little post it note ... so it won't fall off and is more visible.

    ali
    I do the same thing with the little post-it-notes. I also keep a larger index card file that I will write the info on and can also attach fabric pieces or pictures.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Sewflower's Avatar
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    I think with the pattern you are using the scant is not as important as consistency. A scant 1/4 is a myth in my opinion just like the unicorn. Have fun and don't stress.
    Sewflower

  16. #16
    Senior Member 2blackcats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    I think the best advice I can give is be consistant. The quilt may end up being a little smaller than the pattern if you don't get a scant 1/4 but if all the seams are the same I don't think it will matter. I think Bargello calls for narrower seams because on some of the very narrow pieces, you don't want the seam allowances to overlap. I have a good 1/4 foot and I move my needle position over one space when A pattern calls for a scant 1/4.
    Being consistent is the key! I just finished a pattern that called for a scant 1/4 inch seam and I just used my 1/4 foot. It came out just fine. I recently read on a pattern that you might want to go slightly larger than 1/4 inch to accommodate for the folding over of the fabric. I ignored that too and just use my 1/4 foot. Consistency.
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  17. #17
    Super Member Pam H's Avatar
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    Where you might run into a problem not perfecting your scant quarter inch is when piecing and not having the same number of seams on each section of the block. Or having 1 piece with no seams and trying to connect it with a piece with a few seams. It really can make a difference. Anyway, that's where I have problems.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Traditional's Avatar
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    I use a 1/4" foot and move my needle one notch to the right for a scant 1/4"

  19. #19
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    The other thing I've done is to take a tape measure, lay it out to 1/4 inch and mark the machine with a sharpie. If I want a scant inch I sew on the left edge of the mark and if I want a regular 1/4 inch I sew on the right edge of the mark. Has worked pretty well for me and it gives me a nice mark to guide the whole piece into the feeder dogs.

  20. #20
    Super Member k9dancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sewflower View Post
    I think with the pattern you are using the scant is not as important as consistency. A scant 1/4 is a myth in my opinion just like the unicorn. Have fun and don't stress.
    I agree 100%!
    Stephanie in Mena

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