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Thread: The ever elusive SCANT 1/4" seam

  1. #76
    Super Member LynnVT's Avatar
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    When making something for myself or my own design, I don't worry much about this stuff. However, I'm making some D9Ps for the batik block exchange, and have cut out 6 blocks. Made the first one and it came out exactly 12", not the 12 1/2" I need. The pattern, which came from Quiltmaker magazine, said it was a 12" block, but I assumed that meant actually 12.5. Since it's going in the swap, which has to be perfect, I'm going to have to refigure it all. These tips might help. Sure is frustrating. Oh, and I have a Janome 9000, use the 1/4" foot, but never knew if I can move the needle to make it smaller. Does anyone have that machine who can tell me?

  2. #77
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    This has happened to me also, until I learned that you must
    put the line on the ruler on top of the cut pieced to get an
    accurate square or whatever you are cutting out. You can't
    butt the line up to the cut side...it will short your piece. So
    if you can't move your needle, try this. Hope it helps.
    I am new to this board today....and needed to sign in to
    let you know what happened to me.

  3. #78
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    I've been sewing for 40 plus years. Made all my clothes, kid clothes, curtains, swimsuits, wedding clothes, a full nursery layette, even made my husband a suit once! So I knew my way around a sewing machine and patterns when I began quilting. But quilting--with its preciseness--is, I've learned, very different. I tend to teach myself things, with the help of those who have been there before me. So, when I began my first quilt a couple of years ago, a simple 9 patch of my own design, from 100% Cranston cotton bought at Wal-Mart, I printed out a few instructions on line, and went to work. I sewed a 1/4" seam on all the pieces, sewed in sashing and borders as suggested by my online sources, used the backing as binding, and the quilt--a throw size--came out fine. I even handquilted it because I wanted to learn how and wanted the experience.

    Now, two years later, I'm reading and learning more about quilting and the whole thing has become more complicated--and I have to say--less enjoyable. I agree with whoever wrote that if you use the same 1/4" seam consistently and are not using a bought pattern (I've never used a pattern but have made quilts I see in photos or online; I figure out the blocks by looking at the finished quilt) then whatever seam allowance you use should work. Although, as others have pointed out, different fabrics and/or thread do create differences--I'm currently working on a star quilt in which I have lighter and heavier weight fabrics and I see how differently they sew and press--but I'm making slight adjustments for that as I go.

    This whole discussion on the dreaded scant 1/4 inch makes me anxious. I keep remembering how happily ignorant I was when I first began quiltmaking. And how well that worked for me!

  4. #79
    Super Member LyndaOH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nlpakk View Post
    I have to ask an embarrassing question, what is an accufeed foot? I have 2 Pfaff's, do they make them for Pfaff's?
    Accufeed is Janome's system for feeding the top and bottom fabric evenly. It's not available on all of their machines. I believe Pfaff has something similar called the Dual Feed foot but again it's only available on certain machines.

  5. #80
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    mme3924 - it sounds like you are doing fine.

    If you can make a man's suit, I would think you could piece any quilt block.

    If the blocks are turning out to be the size you want them to be, don't fret about it!

    It appears to me that quilting projects can vary from quite simple to extremely complex. It does make sense to me that one would have better results with a complex project if one's simpler ones are turning out 'as expected.'

  6. #81
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    I have a Janome Horizon and purchased the 1/4" quilting foot with the metal flange. I can make consistent 1/4" seams, but I measure before starting a new project. I have a little plastic guage with a hole in it. I put the needle through the hole and check it for accuracy. Better safe than sorry. Once you get it adjusted, you can't hardly drag it out of alignment. I had to get one to keep me accurate. $23.95 at Janeome, locally.
    Donna Quilts
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  7. #82
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    Scant is such an inaccurate term. Hand grenades and horse shoes. Somebody come up with the proper measurement please. We need a millwright's rule already, so why not name it.
    Donna Quilts
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  8. #83
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    Just as I got really comfortable with a 1/4 inch seam, some diabolical member of the quilt police came up with "scant 1/4 inch," and absolutely meaningless designation that has no reliable definition. Someone wrote to move the seam over "one thread." Here is a hot flash for all you flashers: All threads in fabric are not equal! Some are thick and some are thin and some are in between. Likewise the thread with which you are sewing.

    How about giving yourself a break, along with the rest of us? Go back to the 1/4 inch seam, try to sew straight and leave the scant 1/4 inch to all the sadists out there who just can't leave well enough alone.

    Keep that seam simple, sewists! froggyintexas
    Quote Originally Posted by gigi712 View Post
    I have a Janome 6600 and I'm using my 1/4 inch foot. I need 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 blocks. Every stinking one I've made is 8 x 8 or a little bigger, not even close to the 8 1/2. It has to be the
    SCANT part that I'm messing up. With the 1/4 inch foot, there's not much room to move my needle over. Do I need to change my foot? I'm at my wit's end here. Can anybody give me any advice? I"ve done the search here and nothing seems to 'click' with me. Hellllllp! Please.

  9. #84
    Super Member nstitches4u's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sylviak View Post
    Why doesn't someone just make a "scant 1/4" foot"? Would save us all a lot of trouble when a pattern calls for it.
    That makes too much sense! lol

  10. #85
    Super Member nstitches4u's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nantucketsue View Post
    Precisely! However, I do think sometimes the the fabric and thread used affects the finished size. Better still would be an adjustable foot so that the "edge" could be moved to the left of the 1/4" mark giving even an 1/8" seam allowance if required. Wouldn't that be brilliant. Not all machines allow the needle to be moved to the right, mine doesn't.
    There is an adjustable edge stitch foot. I have one for my Janome and my BabyLock. You can adjust the guide to the required distance from the needle. I have better luck with the scant 1/4" with that foot. If I am making a quilt for myself or for charity, I use the 1/4" foot. As long as all the seams are the same, it doesn't matter. If I am making blocks for a block exchange, I use the adjustable edge stitch foot so that I have a consistent scant 1/4". Life is too short to stress over seam allowances.

    Norma

  11. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by FroggyinTexas View Post
    Just as I got really comfortable with a 1/4 inch seam, some diabolical member of the quilt police came up with "scant 1/4 inch," and absolutely meaningless designation that has no reliable definition. Someone wrote to move the seam over "one thread." Here is a hot flash for all you flashers: All threads in fabric are not equal! Some are thick and some are thin and some are in between. Likewise the thread with which you are sewing.

    How about giving yourself a break, along with the rest of us? Go back to the 1/4 inch seam, try to sew straight and leave the scant 1/4 inch to all the sadists out there who just can't leave well enough alone.

    Keep that seam simple, sewists! froggyintexas
    I was looking for help because everything was cut right and all sewn with a 1/4 " exactly and my blocks were not measuring up correctly. THAT'S WHY I brought the subject to the board. And you know what? Now I have several 8 1/2" perfect blocks! Believe me I'd love to sew the 1/4" and be done with it, but it wasn't working for me. I don't know about you but I'm not sewing just to listen to the machine, I want to make a quilt where all squares line up! Now you go back to your 1/4" seams and let us sadists who aren't doing so great using that method find a solution. How about THAT???????

    Gale in Texas

  12. #87
    Junior Member nlpakk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyndaOH View Post
    Accufeed is Janome's system for feeding the top and bottom fabric evenly. It's not available on all of their machines. I believe Pfaff has something similar called the Dual Feed foot but again it's only available on certain machines.
    Thanks Linda, Yes Pfaff has the dual feed, called IDT and I have it on both of my machines. In fact it comes on almost all of their machines, I believe, except the Hobby ones or less expensive ones.

  13. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by gigi712 View Post
    I was looking for help because everything was cut right and all sewn with a 1/4 " exactly and my blocks were not measuring up correctly. THAT'S WHY I brought the subject to the board. And you know what? Now I have several 8 1/2" perfect blocks! Believe me I'd love to sew the 1/4" and be done with it, but it wasn't working for me. I don't know about you but I'm not sewing just to listen to the machine, I want to make a quilt where all squares line up! Now you go back to your 1/4" seams and let us sadists who aren't doing so great using that method find a solution. How about THAT???????

    Gale in Texas

    What did you change doing to get your blocks to come out to the right size now?

    (Whatever you did, glad you got the blocks to come out to the size you are hoping for)

  14. #89
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    When cutting your fabric, it helps to place the line for the measurement you want ontop of the fabric, not off the edge of the fabric. If you are placing that line off the edge of the fabric, you are cutting the piece a "scant" too small. There should not be extra fabric showing beyond the line, however. Just make sure the entire thickness of the line is ontop of the fabric, nothing more, nothing less. This "scant" stuff is something we all struggle with to get right. You have tons of company!

  15. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    What did you change doing to get your blocks to come out to the right size now?

    (Whatever you did, glad you got the blocks to come out to the size you are hoping for)
    bear is gray, I did the 3 strip test that I believe you had suggested, tested and found my 'spot' at 3.8. It's perfect for 'this' quilt and I couldn't be happier. I'll continue to test every quilt with this method. Saved my sanity plus I'm going to get a beautiful quilt to boot. Can't beat that with a stick.
    Last edited by gigi712; 05-04-2012 at 04:52 AM.

  16. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by gigi712 View Post
    bear is gray, I did the 3 strip test that I believe you had suggested, tested and found my 'spot' at 3.8. It's perfect for 'this' quilt and I couldn't be happier. I'll continue to test every quilt with this method. Saved my sanity plus I'm going to get a beautiful quilt to boot. Can't beat that with a stick.
    The three strip test really takes only a few minutes to do - glad it worked for you this time.

    There are so many variables that can cause size differences in a block. After one finds 'the sweet spot' - it's important to try to continue/maintain what one did for that project. (If one has to put it away before it's done - it's helpful to put a note with the project - stating what ruler one used, where one places the ruler on the fabric like JustAbitCrazy suggested - which by the way, is where I place my ruler when cutting - which sewing machine with what presser foot and what settings, which kind of thread one was using, etc.)

    I first learned about the 3-strip 'test' from Mary Ellen Hopkins in her "The It's Okay if You Sit on My Quilt Book"

    It's a book I highly recommend.

  17. #92
    Senior Member LilaKay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gigi712 View Post
    I have a Janome 6600 and I'm using my 1/4 inch foot. I need 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 blocks. Every stinking one I've made is 8 x 8 or a little bigger, not even close to the 8 1/2. It has to be the
    SCANT part that I'm messing up. With the 1/4 inch foot, there's not much room to move my needle over. Do I need to change my foot? I'm at my wit's end here. Can anybody give me any advice? I"ve done the search here and nothing seems to 'click' with me. Hellllllp! Please.
    I have the same machine...I use the 1/4" foot with the flange with the accufeed system and set my stitch width to 6.0 and my stitch length to 2.0. Make sure your needle clears the foot by turning the wheel by hand to test it. When I use these settings my blocks are spot on..
    LilaKay...greatgramma to Brielle Mae

  18. #93
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    I will no longer use the scant seam. Both times I have used it has been on high quality cotton fabric and both times the seams have frayed so bad in places that it is in need of repair before it is even used. I am trying to figure out how to change things to use a one half inch seam in everything I make. I have decided that adding 1/4 in to each side of a piece will do that. So if I want a 5 inch block I think I would cut it 6 inches to accomplish this.
    If someone can give me a better clue I would appreciate it.
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  19. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by lillybeck View Post
    I will no longer use the scant seam. Both times I have used it has been on high quality cotton fabric and both times the seams have frayed so bad in places that it is in need of repair before it is even used. I am trying to figure out how to change things to use a one half inch seam in everything I make. I have decided that adding 1/4 in to each side of a piece will do that. So if I want a 5 inch block I think I would cut it 6 inches to accomplish this.
    If someone can give me a better clue I would appreciate it.
    Your post has me filled with questions -

    * Did you wash/preshrink your fabrics before cutting them? SOME fabrics do shrink a lot and will pull out of a seam.
    * How 'scant' are you making your seams?
    * Most 'high quality cotton fabric' that I've used has held up very well with 1/4" seams. Even some 'less-expensive' fabrics have held up well.
    * How and how much was the item quilted? Or was it tied?
    * I do have an older book that uses 1/2 inch seams. It's called "Quilt Like a Pro" by Kaye Wood - original Copyright 1983 and Revised 1989. The illustrations look rather primitively drawn, but it seems to have good information in it.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by bearisgray; 05-07-2012 at 07:04 AM.

  20. #95
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lillybeck View Post
    I will no longer use the scant seam. Both times I have used it has been on high quality cotton fabric and both times the seams have frayed so bad in places that it is in need of repair before it is even used.
    With bearisgray's permission, I would add another question.

    * Are you cutting your pieces on a straight fabric grain, either length or width? All but the very loosely woven fabrics will fray far less if their edges are as close to the grain line (i.e., a single thread running top to bottom) as you can make them. This is true for even the 'bargain brand' woven fabrics.

    Fabrics want to look neat and tidy so they try to shed all their 'loose ends' to even up their edges. Once the edges are even, they're happy and they stop fraying.

    Also, if the scant business is a problem for you, why not just use a regular quarter inch? Why go to the trouble of trying to increase everything to a half inch? That's too much math for me and I'm a math geek big time. It would also use a lot of fabric that will never be seen, put bulk in the seam joints, be difficult to keep accurate (no " foot that I know of), and throw off all the formulas for things like HSTs and setting triangles. Why not try a standard quarter inch seam for awhile and see how you feel? Just a suggestion.
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  21. #96
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    I don't see the sense in scant 1/4" seam, as long as every seam is done the same size it doesn't really matter - just that the overall size of the quilt will be slightly smaller.

  22. #97
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    I also have a Janome , used the quarter inch foot and all my seams were were too big.Removed the little material guide that was on it and use the edge of the foot as my guide.Perfect 1/4 in seam.

  23. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebeljane View Post
    I don't see the sense in scant 1/4" seam, as long as every seam is done the same size it doesn't really matter - just that the overall size of the quilt will be slightly smaller.
    I agree. Me and the "scant 1/4" seam" parted company a long time ago. Saves me a lot of grief and frustration and I don't think my quilts look that different.

  24. #99
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    I found this ruler( Perfect Piecing Seam Guide Perfect Scant 1/4" Seam) By Perkins Dry Goods
    You use it to move your needle to get a perfect scant it work great!

  25. #100
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    I feel your pain!! I have a Janome Horizon, and bought the accufeed 1/4" foot. I sew about 10 feet for a 4 patch sashing only to realize that it sewed 3/8" seams. My fault. I should have tested it first. The needle needs to be moved over, way over to give 1/4" seams. Guess what I did for 5 hours yesterday. :-((

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