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Thread: That pesky 1/4"

  1. #1
    Senior Member Termi's Avatar
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    That pesky 1/4"

    OK, I have a question. I understand that we're supposed to use a scant 1/4" which works fine if you just sew two pieces of fabric together and iron the seam to one side. Ironing to one side uses up the scant part. However, what do you do when one seam crosses another causing some bulk? If you iron the whole thing to one side, the bulky part takes up more than a scant so part of the seam uses up the scant and the bulky part uses up more than a scant causing things to look wonky. I've tried using a hammer to flatten the bulk, sometimes it works, sometimes not. I've tried not sewing into the seam but that doesn't help the fact that two lines of stitching are crossing each other causing the bulk.
    I hope I've explained this clearly. Am I trying to be too perfect? Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Super Member gramajo's Avatar
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    I, too, have problems with 1/4" seams, but I have found when crossing seams, it helps to have the seams pressed open. It doesn't completely solve the problem, but it does help.

  3. #3
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    Steam them into submission. Works great. If they are on the bias you might need starch to keep them from stretching.
    Judy

  4. #4
    Senior Member QuiltingCrazie's Avatar
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    I press open on lots of seams like pinwheels and 'm doing carpenter blocks for a quilt and I'm pressing them all open so they will lay flat. I try to be perfect too but I don't make quilts for show either mine are all made to be used and loved!!
    *Rachel*

  5. #5
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    i also go to the side but when doing double seams i press open.
    it works for me, mine are not for show either just to be used.

  6. #6
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    I guess I don't over-think it. I sew on the same machine, using the same guide for my seam width. There is then consistency thru-out the quilt. If I had several layers of fabric, I would be pressing seams open, too. It reduces the bulk.
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  7. #7
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I press open all seams that will have four layers or more of fabric in them.
    Got fabric?

  8. #8
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    Yes the bulky seams do cause a problem in making the blocks fit. I believe you have to press in such a way and join to give the least bulk at these junctions. Also, fabric weight and thread weight can make a difference. This is why it is always a good idea to make a small practice sample and then adjust according to the nature of the fabric and thread. I find that heavier weight - even #50 can cause more space to be taken up. Even one eight in bobbin and the other in top can give problems. One has to experiment.
    I tend to grab any thread handy when thread runs out and if it takes up more space then switch back etc etc etc.
    There is no sure way - need to experiement. Then, if I do have a bulk problem, I may shave a bit of one seam allowance to reduce the bulk.

  9. #9
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    if you 'nest' your seams they do not build up- turn one one way the next the other way- & nest them side by side. alternate rows, so seams are pressed in one direction for one row- the opposite direction for the next row- and nest them as you join them. i've heard of beating seams with a hammer-but doesn't that break down the fibers??? an awful lot of work- to just destroy the integrity of the fabric--(just my thoughts)
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  10. #10
    Power Poster joyce888's Avatar
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    I sew the scant 1/4" seam and press my seams open. For me it's easier to get the seams matched and cuts down on bulk.
    Joyce

    Four things you can't recover: The stone.....after the throw. The word......after its said. The occasion.....after its missed. The time......after its gone

  11. #11
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    I press my seams on the back with a dry iron to set the seam then flip the block or quilt over and spray lightly with a diluted starch and press well. So far so good except with pinwheels. Those are little more troublesome.

  12. #12
    Senior Member omaluvs2quilt's Avatar
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    There are also videos on how to do multiple seams (like the pinwheel) where you just snip a few threads, push your finger into the middle and they fan clockwise. I used this method for a "Quilt in a Day" and it worked beautifully.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Termi's Avatar
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    That Pesky 1/4"

    Thank you all for the great ideas! I've heard of the one that Eleanor Burns teaches where you snip some stitches and form a pinwheel of the seam but I've never seen a video on it. I will check it out. Thanks all!!

  14. #14
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    This clip shows nesting seams and the method where all seams are pressed into the same rotation. The center creates a flat piece. Using this method on a pinwheel creates a swirl

    http://video.about.com/quilting/Nest...uilt-Seams.htm

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