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Thread: best tool to find 1/4 inch seam?

  1. #1
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    best tool to find 1/4 inch seam?

    I've been messing around with this and finally decided to ask the experts. Is there a tool that will show you a perfect 1/4 in seam? Someone suggested using the lines on an index card, which is a great idea. I put tape down, but every time I have to change my bobbin I have to start all over again. (Darn top-loading bobbins!). The 1/4 inch foot that I purchased especially for my machine is not 1/4 inch, I had purchased a guide that you put on your machine, but I can't use that either because it goes over the plate for the bobbin.

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Senior Member QuiltingHaven's Avatar
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    Okay, this is down and dirty and it works for me. I took a piece of cardboard 4 " x 8", marked exactly 1/4" on the edged of the 8" side all the way down the cardboard and gently put it under my needle with the point right on the 1/4" mark from the edge. Then I took blue painter's tape (could use the green, either one works) and put it gently on my sewing machine exactly next to the cardboard with the needle right my 1/4" line. Remove the cardboard. Now, I have a perfect 1/4 inch from the point of the needle to the edge of the tape. If I have to take it off (and I do because my bobbin has to be changed and that little plastic piece has to come up), I can put it right back on the bed in exactly the right place. I had to do this because every time I turn off my machine, it defaults to the left and then I have to center it again and again and again. Hope this helps.
    Last edited by QuiltingHaven; 08-05-2013 at 08:48 AM.
    Busy in Ohio

  3. #3
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    With a top loading bobbin I'm not sure any of the typical solutions would not have to be moved. Can you draw a line with a permanent marker on the bed of your machine? You'd have to be careful about the edge of the line depending on how thick a marker you used.

  4. #4
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    Bonnie Hunter has a seam guide that she puts on most of her machines. It is on her site www.quiltville.blogspot.com under the tips tab at the top of the page. It is under Best Seam Guide Ever and involves a 3M strip and a hotel key card.

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    Instead of a "guide" can you purchase a throat plate with quarter inch marks? If you use the tape method, you could cut the tape on both sides of the bobbin cover so that when you remove it, the tape stays on the cover. On occasion when I've wanted the marks to extend to the edge of the machine's bed, I've taken a soft leaded pencil and made little marks along the quarter inch line right on the machine bed. My machine is quite shiny and smooth and the marks come off easily, so it is a short term technique.
    Penny

  6. #6
    Super Member TerryQuilter's Avatar
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    I line my presser foot up with the edge of the fabric and move my needle (left or right) until I get my perfect 1/4" or scant 1/4" seam. Works great. If you can't move your needle it's kind of a moot point though.
    The Trike Riding Quilting Diva

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    Power Poster ube quilting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    Bonnie Hunter has a seam guide that she puts on most of her machines. It is on her site www.quiltville.blogspot.com under the tips tab at the top of the page. It is under Best Seam Guide Ever and involves a 3M strip and a hotel key card.
    That is brilliant!
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  8. #8
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    I think finding the 1/4 inch seam is a bit like learning how to drive in the proper lane. Or how to park. One just learns where to 'aim'

    I used an index card (or graph paper) and lined that up to see where the 'edge' should be in relation to the presser foot I am using. It may be that you line up your fabric exactly with the edge - it may stick out 1/16 of an inch to the right of the presser foot - it may be that the presser foot 'covers' the edge by 1/32 of an inch.

    It's much easier to learn 'where' your 1/4 inch is than to rely on a crutch that has to be replaced all the time.

  9. #9
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Bonnie Hunter sells her seam guide at her classes for $3. She doesn't mail them though. Walmart has them in the red colored plastic. I think by Dritz.

    http://lh3.ggpht.com/--GC4n9zh_XA/UT...5B5%25255D.jpg

    Here is a picture of how she handles the top loading bobbin seam guide.

    http://lh3.ggpht.com/-3hmC4FGGbts/UC...5B9%25255D.jpg
    Got fabric?

  10. #10
    Super Member luvstoquilt's Avatar
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    I have a 1/4" foot for my machine....LOVE it!
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do"....E. Roosevelt

    Sharon
    Yorkville, IL

  11. #11
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    I use a quarter inch foot and move the needle a tad to the right to get a scant quarter-inch seam. I also have a top loading bobbin so the tape deal didn't work too well, but a thin line drawn with a permanent marker sure does. And I think that after hundreds of seams you sort of learn where to aim, as someone else said. Good luck!!
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    I have heard that you can stick a tiny pad of Post It's. It is raised so provides an excellent thing to "line up" your fabric against. The next time you need it, tear off the bottom one and re-stick. Of course this is AFTER you know where it should be.

  13. #13
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    http://www.quiltdesignnw.com/quiltin...t-patterns.htm
    Printable guide here, scroll down some and print thr 1/4"Seam Allowance Guide

  14. #14
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    if placing a guide on your machine bed is not an option- or a pain due to having to remove it all the time why not just draw it on with a sharpie? or nail polish- something that will last, not rub off on your fabric- and not have to be removed? since each machine is different it is hard to say there is a specific tool to use- each person has their own 'need'. one of my machines I used an index card- lined up with the needle- then drew a straight line with a fine tip sharpie- then when it had time to dry I coated the line with clear nail polish- the line has lasted a few years now. I too was tired of having to remove my guide every time I needed to change the bobbin. after years of practice/use I have found my 1/4" and just know exactly where to line up- regardless of which foot i'm using- but that one little old machine still has it's mark on it- when one of the kids are over wanting to sew they like to use that one.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TerryQuilter View Post
    I line my presser foot up with the edge of the fabric and move my needle (left or right) until I get my perfect 1/4" or scant 1/4" seam. Works great. If you can't move your needle it's kind of a moot point though.
    This is what I do too. However, I'm so stupid I just figured that my machine was geared for that all by itself. No wonder I could never get a good 1/4"!

  16. #16
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    Thank you Tartan!!!!!!!

  17. #17
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    I use tape and have a drop in bobbin which has a clear plastic cover. I used a fine point sharpie to draw lines on the underside. I actually have 2 lines - one for 1/4" and one for "center of the needle" for doing diagonals. (no need to mark them!)

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  18. #18
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    I'm going to use the Bonnie Hunter idea on my Janome Gem! Better than purchasing another foot for my granddaughter to use!

  19. #19
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    Thank you so much for all the great ideas! It would be so nice if my 1/4 foot actually worked...but, I think I'm going to try the marker. I'm anxious to do this!!

  20. #20
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    I have a 1/4" foot with a fence. Invaluable!

  21. #21
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
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    I put an omnigrid ruler under the pressure foot and SLOWLY lower the needle just to touch one of the lines. Then I mark 1/4" away with a sharpie. If you want to really be precise, you have to take into account the width of the thread. If you use Connecting threads thread, you will have to have the sew, be a bit larger than if you use John Flynn's So Fine. When you fold the seam over to press it, the bigger thread takes up more space than the thinner thread. Again, though, it depends on precise you need/want/care to be.

  22. #22
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    Bonnie Hunter has a seam guide that she puts on most of her machines. It is on her site www.quiltville.blogspot.com under the tips tab at the top of the page. It is under Best Seam Guide Ever and involves a 3M strip and a hotel key card.
    I was going to mention Bonne - she also sells a little acrylic template for $3 at her workshops...it's a little ruler with holes in it, you drop your needle in the 1/4" hole and it shows you a true 1/4". I'm not sure if it's available on her site or not but I love mine!!!
    Valerie Smith - pumpkinpatchquilter
    Obsessed Quilter and APQS Long Arm Machine Quilter
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  23. #23
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    I use the 1/4" foot with the metal edge that came with the "Quilter's Companion Set" of my Janome. I've never actually measured to see if it's absolutely accurate but, in my experience, if you carefully use the same foot in all the piecing of your top it will fit together at the intersecting seams and the points. If I took part in a round robin quilt I expect I would have to be more precise but so far I never have. As I only quilt for pleasure I don't want any extra hassle. The 1/4" foot (with edge) is fine for me.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member lynndianne's Avatar
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    Yipes.....checking the width of thread...I'm going crazy. I always ask "If I can't get a 1/4 inch, how do you expect me to get a scant (2 threads?)? I am doing better with a stack of painters tape.

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  25. #25
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    One of my machines has the 1/4-inch setting, but you have to select that position. By default this machine always centers the needle and I had forgotten (yeah, I know!) about the needle right feature.... At the very least, I now check for the feature on whichever machine I am using. Good Luck :-)

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