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Thread: Any tips or best advice for a scant 1/4 seam

  1. #1
    Junior Member bobbiesboutique's Avatar
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    Any tips or best advice for a scant 1/4 seam

    Good morning QB I have a huge favor to ask I just got my first patterns I've ever paid for in the mail and I am picking out fabrics and beginning to make templates. Starburst and Stardust from Dereck Lockwood I will probably alternate working on quilts lol. My question and request is one calls for a 1/4 scant seam is there anyone who can give me some pointers on the best way to achieve these, and is there anyone who has done either one of these quilts if so any info that would help. I have been a quilter for almost a year and I am really confident with my sewing I absolutely have fallen in love with quilting and not a day goes by that I am not learning something new by choice or sewing, planning just anything to do with quilting. I absolutely love this site and all of you I do not belong to a guild or group there are none close to me and I have a 6,4,and 14 year old so there is no gatherings at times I can go to until they are all in school You guys are my guild love ya all you are such an inspiration!

  2. #2
    Junior Member bobbiesboutique's Avatar
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    I have wanted to share photos of my quilts and other items I've made but I am not that good with computers and I do not know how to get my pics on here maybe I will just have to get my love (husband) to help me soon.

  3. #3
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    It will be helpful to use a seam guide. I use Command Strips but you can use painters tape, mole skin or paper. I make my seam guide to go across the whole width of my machine throat. I use a 1/4" foot. Be careful to not veer the end of the seam to one side. That causes a lot of fitting problems later. Sew very slow. I piece slow enough I can count the stitches as I go. I went to an expensive precision piecing workshop for making show quality quilts and the main point was to sew SLOW, never be able to see the underneath fabric peeking out and backstitch at start and stopping even when chain piecing.
    Got fabric?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Donnamarie's Avatar
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    Get yourself a 1/4" foot and always be consistent where the fabric lines up to the foot. Pretty easy with that foot.

  5. #5
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
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    Definitely get a 1/4" foot and keep the edge of the fabric under the edge of the foot, rather than poking out even a thread's width on the right side. On my machine it's a difficult process because the feed dogs are also directly under the edge and want to keep pushing the fabric just slightly to the right, so when it's not critical I just stay with a full 1/4" seam rather than a "scant" one.
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

  6. #6
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
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    I don't care for the "scant" 1/4" seam. I have a 1/4" foot for my machine and I just use that and have never had a problem.

  7. #7
    Junior Member bobbiesboutique's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the advice I have the 1/4 foot and use it everytime the instructions say if I don't use a scant 1/4 the blocks will shrink in size if I use a 1/4 seam because of all the seams

  8. #8
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    If you really want precise 1/4" seams, then you have to check them. Here's a tutorial that shows the standard verification method. remember to use the same ruler you are going to use with your project:
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/tutoria...ce-t89997.html

    Once you figure out where the scant 1/4" is on your machine, you can adjust the needle and use your foot and/or use something stuck to your machine bed to guide the fabric (like a stack of postit notes, or a piece of moleskin). If you always use the same weight fabric, and same weight thread, then you really only need to do this once. If you change something, like the thread weight, or use a different fabric for a project, then you need to do a recheck. It really only takes a few minutes and with a complex design, it makes a huge difference.
    Also, remember that pressing can also make it or break it. If you press and get a tiny fold in the seam, your patch will be off.
    My thought is that it takes the same amount of time to sew a seam that's the correct width as to sew one that's sort of close. I think you really save a lot of time when your pieces fit easily vs. having to ease or rip.

    A great book on this topic is "The Art of Machine Piecing " by Sally Collins.
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Machine-Pi...ollins+machine

    There are lots of copies available on Amazon for a dime. Even with shipping less than a magazine!
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  9. #9
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I have a 1/4 inch foot that has an opening that allows me to "needle over" or move the needle to each side of center. Best investment I made in feet. Even with my single hole 1/4 inch foot I can move the needle slightly. The trick is to remember every time you work on that project to set the needle in the same position you used for the other blocks.

  10. #10
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    Don't laugh I use a "bumper". Since most 1/4 in feet are the full 1/4 in from needle to outer edge of the foot, for me I have to line up my fabric before it hits the foot. I use the Q tools Sewing Edge from Marcie Baker.

    http://shop.online-quilting.com/shop...page.tpl&pop=0

  11. #11
    Senior Member mcdor's Avatar
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    I always use the Q tool Sewing Edge. Perfect scant 1/4 in seams.

  12. #12
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    Check to make sure your 1/4 inch foot is sewing an exact 1/4 inch seam first. Sew two pieces together and measure the unit to see if it measures the correct amount. If it measures correctly then the pattern should work out. If your unit measures a bit short, try moving the needle position over one spot on your machine (if it has this feature) and do another test. If you use Aurifil thread to piece, it is very thin and makes more accurate piecing also.
    P.S. remember that if you move the needle position, you may need to change the foot and the needle plate (if using a single hole plate) so you don't break a needle hitting something.
    Last edited by Tartan; 03-15-2013 at 07:13 AM.

  13. #13
    Super Member MartiMorga's Avatar
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    There is a small ruler out there with a hole in it for your needle and that shows you exactly where the scant quarter is - mark it with one of the above mentioned seam guides. Works all the time for lining up your scant 1/4 and keeps you consistent. I have found I do better without using the 1/4 foot now that I do the ruler method.

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  15. #15
    Junior Member bobbiesboutique's Avatar
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    Thank you Teeler that is exactly what I needed I have no problems sewing a 1/4 seam never really has been an issue I've always just made the right adjustments to get it and I would never try such complex patterns if I couldn't sew a good 1/4 seam I just haven't ever had a pattern call for the scant and was hoping to get some good advice from experienced quilters. Thank you all I sincerely appreciate the responses. Now let's get back to the needle and thread life. Have a great weekend everyone.

  16. #16
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    I seem to write about this every week, but I will continue to tell everyone because it is so great. It is called a Prep-Tool. It gives you a scant 1/4" seam. You can buy it from www.Guidelines4Quilting.com . Be sure to find the Prep-Tool. It is good for more than a scant 1/4" seam. They also sell Seam Guides that stick on your sewing machine. They leave no sticky residue. They are inexpensive. I love this tool! I have used it on all of my sewing machines and have the Seam Guides on all my sewing machines. I have scant 1/4" seams every time. I use 2 seam guides in a row. One behind the other. Try the prep tool. You will love it!!
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
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  17. #17
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I agree with checking your scant seam allowance as PaperPrincess suggests. Scant really does mean scant in some patterns. I use moleskin or another physical guide to ensure my seams are exactly the size I want, as I was never able to achieve consistent "scant" by using a 1/4" foot. Also, the thread you use can make a difference. It has been much easier for me to achieve consistent "scant" 1/4" seam allowances after switching to Aurifil 50wt 2-ply thread, which is a finer thread than the standard 3-ply thread I had been using.

  18. #18
    Junior Member bobbiesboutique's Avatar
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    Thanks jcrow i will have to try that tool out

  19. #19
    Junior Member bobbiesboutique's Avatar
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    Prism99 i do certainly agree with you

  20. #20
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    I say forget worrying about the scant quarter inch seam. As long as all seams are consistent that is what counts.

  21. #21
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mucky View Post
    I say forget worrying about the scant quarter inch seam. As long as all seams are consistent that is what counts.
    That works for certain types of patterns. It doesn't work for more complex patterns.

  22. #22
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    I'm fair"ly new to quilting, what is the difference between a scant 1/4" and a 1/4"?

  23. #23
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    A scant 1/4" is just a thread or two short of a full size 1/4", to accomodate what is lost when the seam is folded to one side, with the thread thickness inside. If you sew a full quarter inch seam, you'll lose a bit more in that folded seam with the thread inside, and your block will finish smaller than it should. If you sew the scant quarter inch seam, then what is lost is lost in the seam allowance, not in the remainder of the piece. Make sense? It may sound insignificant to be concerned about a thread width, but it isn't. If you are off just a 32nd of an inch, and repeat that 32 times over the width or length of a quilt top, your top is now a full inch off. If your quilt top was constructed of only equal sized squares all over, it wouldn't matter in matching up the seams as long as your seam allowance size was consistent--it would just mean your quilt top would not end up exactly the expected size. But for any other pattern, involving pieces which are not squares, (triangles, rectangles, etc.) and with unequal numbers of seams vertically and horizontally within individual blocks and over the entire quilt top, all those minor inaccuracies add up and make seam matching impossible or just very difficult.

  24. #24
    Super Member fireworkslover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartiMorga View Post
    There is a small ruler out there with a hole in it for your needle and that shows you exactly where the scant quarter is - mark it with one of the above mentioned seam guides. Works all the time for lining up your scant 1/4 and keeps you consistent. I have found I do better without using the 1/4 foot now that I do the ruler method.
    I too bought a 1/4" foot and later found it wasn't accurate. So now I put a section of multiple layers of masking tape at the scant 1/4" location. It takes a bit of retraining myself when I use this, but it's worth it in the end. I started doing this when exchanging blocks with others, to ensure my blocks would be accurate. If I'm making all the blocks myself, it's not such a big deal, however once you learn how to sew a scant 1/4", why not do it all the time.

  25. #25
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    I agree with LoriS's comment. If you can pssibly move your needle, do so. I made several four patch units
    using a different needle position until I found the exact one to give me a scant 1/4 inch. I think that we all forget that when we fold the material at a seam we lose just the tiniest amount of width on the square.

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