Welcome to the Quilting Board!

Already a member? Login above
loginabove
OR
To post questions, help other quilters and reduce advertising (like the one on your left), join our quilting community. It's free!

Page 1 of 3 1 2 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 57

Thread: 1/4" seams, why & how? Please help!

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tyler, Texas
    Posts
    14

    1/4" seams, why & how? Please help!

    So I am very new to quilting and having this seam problem. I have finished my 1st quilt which is bassinet size- 20" x 30" approx. On it, I didn't really understand where 1/4" was on my machine & so I actually ended up with about 3/8"- 1/2" seams. After re-cutting a few pieces, I made it work. Now, on my 2nd I'm trying to do 1/4"seams & they tend to want to pull out. Is there a reason I can't just re-figure my cut sizes & use a bit wider seam? Any suggestions to fix this? Thanks to all for any help!

  2. #2
    Super Member gale's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    North-Central Indiana
    Posts
    4,750
    Blog Entries
    1
    You would have to really change your sizes if the block is anything but plain squares. Even then you may have to. I don't understand why your seams are pulling out at 1/4". Is your stitch length too long? Are you using regular quilting cotton? If you can, post pictures of your seams (from the wrong side) that show the stitch and the seam allowance.

    I'm guessing nearly 99% of the quilting world uses a 1/4" seam and so far, I haven't heard of any problems with seams pulling out. Your quilting experience will be a lot simpler if you can figure out what the problem is and try to use 1/4" (and better yet, scant 1/4") seams.

  3. #3
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    11,902
    Blog Entries
    1
    since quilt patterns always use 1/4" seams (some even scant *less than* 1/4" seams) it is important to find & learn to use your 1/4" seam- some patterns don't go together well when you try to increase the seam allowance- can mean re-drafting the whole pattern. take a ruler with a 1/4" mark- put your needle down- with the foot up- place the ruler 1/4" mark even with the needle- then put a piece of masking tape (or something) along the edge of the ruler- marking the 1/4" --- I have one machine that seemed like the feed dogs were crooked or something- I took a stack of about 6 post-it colored tabs (they are about 3/4" wide by 1 1/2" long) stacked together- placed those along my ruler edge & taped them down so I had an edge to put my fabric against. then you need to do a little practicing- cut some strips of fabric 1 1/2" wide by 6" long- take 3 of them and sew them together along the long edge- then measure- the center strip should measure 1" wide. the whole piece should measure 3 1/2" wide. if not- look at your seams- determine why & try again- practice until you have good consistent 1/4" seams. not sure what you mean by your 1/4" seams wanting to 'pull out'--- if the stitches are coming out- you need to backstitch at the beginning & end to lock your stitches- if you mean the fabric is pulling *skewed* at the end of a seam- you need to slow down, pause & re-align the fabrics- sometimes it is necessary to use a pointy tool (some use the end of their seam ripper) to hold the fabric close to the end as it travels under the foot.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  4. #4
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    5,114
    ckcowl has given you excellent advice. The only thing I would add is to shorten your stitch length - increase the number of stitches/inch - and you should have less issues with your seams 'pulling out'.

  5. #5
    Super Member quiltinghere's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Longarm Quilter NW Indiana
    Posts
    3,490
    Blog Entries
    1
    Great advice above. I agree with the tape on the machine and shortening your stitch length. Without seeing pictures of where the stitching is coming out, I'll guess it could be at the beginning and the end of your sewing. Try Leaders and Enders (as Bonnie Hunter calls them) or Spiders (as Marianne Fons calls them)! That's where you start to sew on a scrap piece of fabric and continue on (without out cutting) to the good fabric you need to sew. I use LOTS of spiders...they're all over when I'm sewing.

    The WHY? I think you can call the '1/4" seam' a Standard - like 8 ounces is a 'standard cup' measurement. Imagine the difficulty of making a cake using different sized 'cups'. What would happen if the instructions said '1/2 a coffee cup'...Would I use the 8 ounces, 12 ounces or the 20 ounce mug?

    There's LOTS of practice ahead of you! Enjoy it ALL!

    Nan - IN
    https://napquilting.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/NAPQuilting/

    My GOAL is to ALWAYS ENJOY EVERY STEP of the quilting process....

  6. #6
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    2,642
    All good advice. It took awhile for me to get my 1/4 seams right too

  7. #7
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    10,115
    Go here:
    http://customgraph.com/SG/piart.php?art=229

    Print out this graph paper it is 1/4" size. After printing, double check with your ruler just in case there is some scaling issues with your printer.

    Take the paper and bring your needle down on any line on the graph paper. Look at where the next line is to the right. That is where your 1/4" is on your sewing machine. Now do what CK Cowl advised and put down masking tape. Take a very find sharpy marker and also mark a little line on your presser foot so you know where the fabric needs to go under your presser foot as well, to maintain the 1/4" seam allowance.

    The whys have been explained by previous posters. You really want to master a 1/4" seam allowance so you can make any pattern you come across without having to redraft or be concerned about bulk. If you seams are coming out you need to shorten your stitch length. You can do this!

  8. #8
    Junior Member totosmom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Bedford Co, PA
    Posts
    256
    All the above info is excellent, especially the need to master the 1/4" seam before proceeding. In this case, as in most cases, "practice makes perfect".

    In addition, many quilters use a separate foot ... a 1/4" foot ... to ensure an accurate seam. You may want to get one for your machine too.

    All the best in your quilting.
    Dorothy in PA

  9. #9
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Front row
    Posts
    14,658
    Blog Entries
    2
    If you were saying the seam seems to veer off at the end, the way to keep a perfectly straight seam at the end is to put your finger against the left edge of the foot and the seam will stay straight. A Command refill strip makes the perfect seam guide, it comes right off with no residue to deal with. It took me a long time to get the 1/4" seam consistent but it is very important when following a pattern.
    Got fabric?

  10. #10
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    34,879
    My machine has quilting 1/4 inch foot that I keep the material even with. If you are coming from a garment sewing background the 1/4 inch seam can seem flimsy but it is what most quilters strive for. Can you sew with wider seams? Sure but you will have to adjust all quilt pattern sizes, there will be too much bulk when multiple seams meet and it uses more material.
    As others have said, practice getting a true 1/4 inch seam and use a seam guide if necessary.

  11. #11
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Monroe, IN
    Posts
    2,285
    The larger seam allowances for clothing ( 5/8" ) were to help with the fabric pulling loose at the seam when under stress. For quilts, the 1/4" seam allowance is plenty for one main reason - since the three layers are all quilted together all over the quilt, the individual pieces or layers are not under any stress from pulling. When you pull on the edge of a quilt, you pull all three layers at the same time. I've been sewing clothes since I was 9 years old (learned for 4-H) and I know how hard it is to get the 1/4" seam burned into your brain. Practice is your best friend when making quilts - use scraps and make lots of little things like potholders, dog beds, and such. Your 1/4" seams will get much better, as will your piecing and quilting. Then when you make something to show off, you can be assured that you did it right!

  12. #12
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    6,060
    Getting free he foot for your machine would help you a lot. Wouldn't be without mine for anything
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

  13. #13
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Upland CA
    Posts
    18,358
    All great advice, practice and it will start to come naturally. At first it seemed like such a small seam after being used to garment construction, but now it just seems like the norm to me.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    415
    Without more information, it is difficult to know what you mean by the 'seam is pulling out'? Do you mean that the stitiches are pulling out at the end of a seam? It could be either your stitch length as mentioned previously or it could be your tension.

    To test the tension, sew a seam and leave a thread tail long enough to grasp with your fingers. Try pulling on ONE of the threads - top or bottom. If the thread easily pulls out, then you need to adjust your tension.

  15. #15
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    dallas tx.
    Posts
    5,004
    Blog Entries
    3
    Ema, listen to these ladies. They are very knowledgeable and will help you. If you do what they say and practice, you will become very good at this. I'm not trying to be bossy, but I know how hard it is to get a 1/4 inch seam.

  16. #16
    Super Member gale's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    North-Central Indiana
    Posts
    4,750
    Blog Entries
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Dolphyngyrl View Post
    Getting free he foot for your machine would help you a lot. Wouldn't be without mine for anything
    Can you clarify? What is the foot you're talking about?

  17. #17
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Long Island
    Posts
    798
    I know many, if not most, will not agree with me, BUT since you are a beginner, it is consistency that counts the most. You are probably using patterns and designs that are not too complex. Pick a seam allowance, for example width of the sewing foot on tour machine, and stick with it. If all your seams are consistent, your pieces should fit just fine. As you get more experienced, you will get to the elusive 1/4" seam. Up until recently, I had a machine on which 1/4" seam was impossible due to the position of the feed dogs, and I still made some awesome quilts including Bargellos. Good luck!

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    484
    IF your machine is not computerized, I really like these magnetic seam guides. I put it next to the presser foot but sticking out more towards me than even with it. It really helps. Plus, it is important you keep your eye on the material as it feeds into the presser foot rather than watch the needle.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  19. #19
    Super Member gale's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    North-Central Indiana
    Posts
    4,750
    Blog Entries
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Tashana View Post
    I know many, if not most, will not agree with me, BUT since you are a beginner, it is consistency that counts the most. You are probably using patterns and designs that are not too complex. Pick a seam allowance, for example width of the sewing foot on tour machine, and stick with it. If all your seams are consistent, your pieces should fit just fine. As you get more experienced, you will get to the elusive 1/4" seam. Up until recently, I had a machine on which 1/4" seam was impossible due to the position of the feed dogs, and I still made some awesome quilts including Bargellos. Good luck!
    Only true if she's doing squares. For example, if she did a simple rail fence block and used the original dimensions to cut, the blocks would not turn out square because of using different seam allowances. Anything more complicated (even if it's still a very simple block) would not go together correctly without using the seam allowance that is considered in the instructions. Now if she knew the finished dimensions of each part of a block and then added the 1" to use a 1/2" seam allowance, that would work. However, that doesn't seem like something a beginner would want to tackle.

  20. #20
    Junior Member Dalronix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Blue Mountains, Australia.
    Posts
    145
    Quote Originally Posted by cheryl222 View Post
    ... Plus, it is important you keep your eye on the material as it feeds into the presser foot rather than watch the needle.
    I'm a total beginner at using a sewing machine let alone quilting, however, I came across this advice a week or three ago and it's made a huge difference to my accuracy.
    ~: Ron :~

    "You cut up fabric then sew it back together again? Really?"

  21. #21
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Here and there
    Posts
    1,660
    All the above advice is good, but if you buy a quarter inch foot for your machine, your problemd will be 99 percent solved. If you don't live near a sewing machine place, look on Amazon. froggyintexas

  22. #22
    Senior Member hevemi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Turku, Finland
    Posts
    596
    http://www.quiltdesignnw.com/quiltin...t-patterns.htm
    Scroll down to find - 1/4" Seam Allowance Guide...
    Download, print and practice! Keep close to your machine for reference.

  23. #23
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tyler, Texas
    Posts
    14
    I found a different foot along with a magnetic guide which I put in front of the foot tokeep seam & material straight. I've only used it on scrap pieces to test but it seems to be working consistently. As for them pulling out, it was a stitch length too long, atleast shortening it seems to have fixed that. Thank you all! I am learning to use every little knob on my machine while trying to adjust anyway. My only sewing bckground prior to starting this is a class in high school 20+ years ago. Thanks again!

  24. #24
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    150
    Blog Entries
    2
    I have been quilting for a little over a year or more and these women and men are so kind about sharing their sewing tips and advise. The answers they have given have been a great help, their ideas are wonderful. You couldn't have asked a better bunch of people . I have learned so much. Thank you and kuddos to all of the great people here at the QB.

  25. #25
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    2,877
    Try reduce your stitch length. The length you would use on clothing or projects with a larger seam will not be close enough for piecing a quilt. I use a 2.0 on my pfaff. Small enough to hold well, but not to small to rip out when I need to.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.