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Thread: I really am not dumb but...........

  1. #1
    Member grammy1231's Avatar
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    Lightbulb I really am not dumb but...........

    What is the difference between a 1/4" inch and a scant 1/4" seam? And where would I get such a presser foot for my husqvarna?
    Shirley Cooper

  2. #2
    Super Member HillCountryGal's Avatar
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    No doubt several others will weigh in on this one.
    For me, the difference is a "thread's width".
    Don't understand why patterns aren't made using a true 1/4".

  3. #3
    Super Member chips88's Avatar
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    i would try sew classic maybe they can help...

  4. #4
    Junior Member Freddie's Avatar
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    The 1/4 or scant 1/4 is not that important. Every machine and every person sews differently. When do sew the block, check the size of each component of that block after you stitch. Is it coming out the size they want it to be? example: If you stitch tree strips together and each one is cut 2 1/2 inches wide, check the center strip. Is it really 2 inches wide now? If it is larger, you need to increase the width of your seam allowance. If the center strip is smaller, you will have to narrow your seam allowance. The outside strips should measure 2 1/4 inch each. Then you could cut the three strip piece in 6 1/2 inch pieces, for a block to finish 6 inch. Hope you know what I am trying to say. It is easier to show someone. Good luck!

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    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    great explanation, Freddie
    Nancy in western NY
    before you speak T.H.I.N.K.
    T is it True? H is it Helpful? I is it Inspiring? N is it Necessary? K is it Kind?


  6. #6
    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    My first teacher drilled into me the 'scant 1/4 inch'. I can get it perfect if I use the Featherweight, that machine does it without me. The regular 1/4 inch is just that, it can be measured 1/4 inch if you take the ruler to it. But the scant 1/4 is less, noticable to me and to you. It is not an 1/8 for sure, but definitely not a 1/4 inch. This is my best definition: do not sew 1/4 inch but more than 1/8th.

  7. #7
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    for "scant" I run my foot just off the edge of the fabric...
    Retired and living in NE Michigan

  8. #8
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    I just move my needle over one click or yes run the foot just over the edge......I know that I tend to over sew my seams, meaning my seams are over a 1/4", so my pieces and then my blocks are too small....so I really concentrate on sewing a scant 1/4" which is yes between 1/8 and a 1/4". I have found I would prefer my blocks a little big and have to trim down to having them too small and having to rip out seams......This is especially true with points, for them to Really look good, then need to be dead-on....
    Yes that is a real picture of my hometown Temecula, California. We feature premiere Wineries, World Class Golf Courses, Pechanga Indian Casino and Hot Air Balloons

  9. #9
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    There are so many OTHER variables to consider besides the seam width.

    When I cut my strips, for example, they are actually about 2 -17/32 wide instead of 1-16/32 inches wide. Ruler placement on the fabric can affect how wide the strips are.

    I get 'a bit bigger' when I go around a template. If my template is 4 x 4, and I cut around four sides of it, my piece will probably be close to 4-1/16 x 4-1/16. So if I use a 'regular' quarter inch seam, I'm okay.

    I haven't checked the actual width of the strips using the June Tailor shape cutter, so I don't know how they come out.

    So a good place to start with 'where is the problem?' is with the actual width of the component (strip, square, whatever)

    If you use pre-cuts, they are probably 2.5 inches instead of a 'bit' more.

    Some fabrics are bulkier than others.

    Some threads are bulkier than others.

    So there is MORE than just the seam width to consider when trying for a certain sized finished block/unit.

    The 'sewing test strips' is really worth the time and effort!

    You know how some people think that if one glass of wine is good, two will be better?
    I think some people think that if a 'true' 1/4 inch seam is good, a 5/16 inch seam will be better.

    The difference - to me - is about 1/64th of an inch. (or as some said, one or two threads)
    Last edited by bearisgray; 08-28-2012 at 07:38 AM.

  10. #10
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    Bah! Any pattern that mentions a scant 1/4 is banished from my life. Since that measurement can't be defined it is worthless.

    I also don't fret if I can't exactly meet the given dimensions of a pattern. For the most part (I said MOST not all) it just doesn't matter.

    I can't imagine my grandmother sitting at her treadle worrying if she is sewing a scant 1/4" - or a precise 1/4" either and she produced some amazing quilts!

    This is a hobby to be enjoyed, not to get tangled up in stuff that gives people stress.

  11. #11
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I solved a lot of my 1/4" problems by using a thin thread for piecing. I learned that 50wt 3 ply is too thick for piecing when the seam is pressed to one side. I use 50wt 2 ply like Aurifil for the top, with a size 80/12 topstitch needle. For the bobbin I use size 60 or 70 poly. Most thin threads will be poly as it is stronger then cotton. 50wt 3 ply is great for machine quilting for the stitches to show.
    Got fabric?

  12. #12
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewmary View Post
    Bah! Any pattern that mentions a scant 1/4 is banished from my life. Since that measurement can't be defined it is worthless.

    I also don't fret if I can't exactly meet the given dimensions of a pattern. For the most part (I said MOST not all) it just doesn't matter.

    I can't imagine my grandmother sitting at her treadle worrying if she is sewing a scant 1/4" - or a precise 1/4" either and she produced some amazing quilts!

    This is a hobby to be enjoyed, not to get tangled up in stuff that gives people stress.
    And I totally agree with you, it is a hobby, I just know that I have to watch myself because I get too generous with my seams, especially when I am merrily chain stitching along....and then this section does not match that section and non match the previous block.......just need some care but not TOTAL OBSESSION......
    Yes that is a real picture of my hometown Temecula, California. We feature premiere Wineries, World Class Golf Courses, Pechanga Indian Casino and Hot Air Balloons

  13. #13
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    a scant 1/4" is a couple of threads over.
    I don't think there's a specific foot for it on any machine
    On my Jem Platinum I can set the stitch for a scant 1/4" - which is one of the reasons I bought it (plus it has a needle down function).
    Do what LindaR said.

  14. #14
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grammy1231 View Post
    What is the difference between a 1/4" inch and a scant 1/4" seam? And where would I get such a presser foot for my husqvarna?
    The difference is not much. But it adds up. You can get a couple of tools to help with the scant seam allowance from Marci Baker.

    This tool, http://shop.online-quilting.com/shop...&category_id=2 will help you find the scant quarter on your machine.

    This tool, http://shop.online-quilting.com/shop...&category_id=2 will mark that edge so you know where it is.

  15. #15
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    I sew with 1/4" seams, unless I'm making a HST (which will then be trimmed to size, if needed).
    Neesie


    By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.
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  16. #16
    Junior Member msariano's Avatar
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    I agree with sewmary. I just don't pay attention to "scant".

  17. #17
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    As long as we are consistant, I think if we are making blocks for ourselves it isn't important as long as the finished pattern looks good.
    If we are making blocks for an exchange we have to be a little more dilligent so everyone's blocks fit together.
    http://www.oregonquilting.net
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  18. #18
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Here's the thing. Patterns are actually created using perfect 1/4" seams. For example, a finished 9-patch block made with 3" squares means the finished block will measure exactly 9" square. Each patch gets an exact 1/4" seam added to it. So, patterns are made with exact measurements.

    The problem is that the thread you use to sew a seam, plus the little bit of fabric that is in the roll of the seam when you press it, eat up tiny bits of that perfect 1/4" seam. If you sew perfect 1/4" seams for that 9-patch block, meaning your needle enters the fabric exactly 1/4" from the edge of the pieces, you will end up with a finished block that measures something less than a perfect 9". This is because the thread used to sew the seams, and even more the "turn of the cloth" from each seam being ironed, both eat up a little bit of that perfect 1/4".

    This does not matter if you are sewing only strips or squares, and it does not matter much if the blocks are simple blocks. With many blocks, such as rail fence, you simply cut your blocks so they end up square. Where you start to run into trouble is with triangles, complicated blocks, and blocks with many pieces. Those slight differences in the finished measurements start adding up, and can create impossible matching conditions.

    What's important is to test your seam allowances. The test is not how scant you sew, but rather how accurate the *finished* piece is. The usual way to test is to sew three 2.5" strips together, press, then measure. If your seam is correct, the width should measure exactly 6.5". If it's smaller than that, you need to make your seam allowance smaller. If the width is bigger than that, you need to make your seam allowance bigger.

    The importance is in the finished measurements, not on how exact or scant your seam allowance is!

    Edit: Just want to add that you don't even have to bother with measuring for simple patterns, such as rail fence. All that is important for those simpler patterns is consistency with whatever seam allowance you use. Achieving consistency is the topic for another thread!
    Last edited by Prism99; 08-28-2012 at 10:49 AM.

  19. #19
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    For those who say that the seam doesn't matter: As long as your blocks don't have to be a certain size and as long as there are no points along the outer edges you may be correct. Many blocks don't matter.

    Having participated in some swaps where size mattered the regular seam on some blocks did not give me the finished size. So I use the scant 1/4" to make the size work. Also when a block has HSTs, it may require less than a standard seam so you don't cut the points off.
    Martina
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  20. #20
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadQuilter View Post
    For those who say that the seam doesn't matter: As long as your blocks don't have to be a certain size and as long as there are no points along the outer edges you may be correct. Many blocks don't matter.

    Having participated in some swaps where size mattered the regular seam on some blocks did not give me the finished size. So I use the scant 1/4" to make the size work. Also when a block has HSTs, it may require less than a standard seam so you don't cut the points off.
    I've sewn many star blocks, with points along the outer edges, using an exact 1/4" seam. Points end up right where they're supposed to be, 1/4" from the raw edge (stitching line). Maybe the "trick" is in pressing, correctly.
    Neesie


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  21. #21
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    You've already gotten wonderful explanations of the difference between 'true' and 'scant'. To your second question, on my Viking, the setting for the needle to the extreme right position and using the 'A' foot will generally give you the 'scant' measurement - IF you are really careful in keeping your fabric lined up with the edge of the foot. Otherwise, you get more of a 'true' 1/4". HTH.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grammy1231 View Post
    What is the difference between a 1/4" inch and a scant 1/4" seam? And where would I get such a presser foot for my husqvarna?
    Viking does sell a foot with red lines for the scant 1/4" It is new I was told. I did buy it but holy cow are the feet for these new machines expensive!

  23. #23
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I always use 1/4" seams and the consistency of the seams is what counts to me. You could also press the seams open and you wouldn't be adding or taking away for the thick seam allowances.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  24. #24
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    I have had several teachers say they do not agree with the "scant" philosophy. I check to be sure my 1/4 inch is exact and sew my quilts. We collect vintage machines and I like to sew on all of them. When using different machines on one project it's important to make sure the stitch width is exactly the same on all of them. Much easier to do with a "true" 1/4" seam.
    Cheryl Robinson
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    APQS Millenium Longarm with Intelliquilter

  25. #25
    Member grammy1231's Avatar
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    Thank you all, so much information....such wonderful explanations.
    Shirley Cooper

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