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Thread: Question regarding the infamous 1/4"

  1. #1
    Senior Member tallchick's Avatar
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    I did a search and did not find anything so please forgive my ignorance if this has been answered before I am very new to quilting.
    In a pattern I have it is calling for a 1/4 inch seam allowance for all blocks so do I use the true 1/4 inch or the scant 1/4 inch??
    Thank you and I hope everyone is have a wonderful day!!!

    Lisa

  2. #2
    Super Member btiny36's Avatar
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    Personally I always aim for the scant 1/4". That is my likely with block I make.

  3. #3
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    It really depends on the block, some simple patterns you don't need a scant.

  4. #4
    Senior Member LLWinston44's Avatar
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    I really have a hard time understanding the scant vs true. I mean, I understand the concept, but I guess I haven't seen it in practice. I'm an extremely visual learner so I guess I'll have to wait to find someone to "show" me.

  5. #5
    Super Member AlwaysQuilting's Avatar
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    I can't see well enough to do a scant 1/4" so I just find the true 1/4" (with an index card) and use it on all quilts.

  6. #6
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    1/4" is 1/4 " .... a good way to check if you are getting the right measurement is to sew three 1-1/2" strips together and re-measure. If it's 3-1/2", then you've got your 1/4" bang on.

    If not, you're not doing 1/4"!!

    Sometimes it's easier to move your needle position to get you that precision, than to change how you sew, especially if you're using a 1/4" foot.

  7. #7
    Super Member maine ladybug's Avatar
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    If it calls for a 1/4 inch, then I would do that. It should say if they want you to only use a scant 1/4. Until recently patterns were always cut for the regular 1/4 inch seam allowance. I don't understand why that has changed, but since it has we just have to go with it I guess. If you aren't sure about your 1/4 inch then I would do a test piece and make sure it is accurate before starting the project.

  8. #8
    Super Member donnajean's Avatar
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    After sewing a block using the 1/4", measure to see if it is the correct size. If it comes up short, then use the scant 1/4"

  9. #9
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    i'm just consistent w/ how i sew the seam. It makes me head hurt to over-think something ;)

  10. #10
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    The other consideration in all this ... pressing! A good sharp press on the seam, makes such a difference to the measurements.

  11. #11
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    If a quilter is using plain borders (one or more strips of all one color, or with border cornerstones & center cornerstones) all you need to do is be consistent with your SA with all your blocks.

    Those who use pieced, decorative borders, flying geese, curling ribbons, etc., need the scant 1/4" so the borders match without adjustment.

  12. #12
    Senior Member tallchick's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone, thats why I love everyone here; you are all so helpful!!! I will go as instructed for 1/4 in seam allowance. I just wish someone would make a scant 1/4 in foot or just keep with the 1/4 in seam allowance it sure would make things easier!!!!

  13. #13
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    As long as all your seams are the same, it doesn't matter 99% of the time.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Kristin in ME's Avatar
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    Cut precisely, press precisely, and unless it says to use a scant quarter inch, just do a normal quarter inch. (Does your machine have a quarter inch line marked on it? If so, just follow that line.)

  15. #15
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    As a long-time quilt maker, I would advise any newbie to just aim for an accurate 1/4 in seam. It's hard enough to make an accurate 1/4 in. seam with out worrying about the "scant". When you are adept at 1/4 In. seams, then think about the scant if your blocks aren't accurate. Happy quilting, don't sweat about the "scant things".

  16. #16
    Super Member feffertim's Avatar
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    If you want a scant 1/4", just move your needle over one position.

  17. #17
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    I don't worry about it unless I'm making swap blocks and then I don't worry very much. Pressing & cutting are more important to me in achieving the correct size but my Elna pulls fabric much more smoothly than my other 2 machines and came with a true 1/4" foot. On my older machines--I had to pay much more attention while sewing--especially long seams to keep my 1/4" true. Since I learned to do it on fussier machines, maybe I'm over-estimating how much better the Elna performs but I don't think so.

  18. #18
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    It depends on your sewing and your machine setting. You need to measure "your" 1/4 inch.

  19. #19
    edda-k's Avatar
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    I use a 1/4" foot with the guide at ALL times, so I keep the seam allowance consistent that way.

  20. #20
    Super Member fireworkslover's Avatar
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    I've never been bothered with making sure I have exactly a 1/4" seam allowance. If you are making something from a kit or need your finished top to be an exact size, then yes you need to know this. Sometimes, when I'm working on something very small, I switch to an 1/8" seam allowance. I've only done this PP tho.

  21. #21
    Super Member fireworkslover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edda-k
    I use a 1/4" foot with the guide at ALL times, so I keep the seam allowance consistent that way.
    Even w/ this foot, you should still check if you are in fact having a 1/4" s.a. If you can move your needle position to get exactly there, then you'll be set.

  22. #22
    Super Member rwquilts's Avatar
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    I always try and make my seams a scant 1/4". When you add the fabric fold over and thread, it equals 1/4", but for learning, it's more important to be consistent and have straight lines and when you've mastered that, you can work on the other...enjoy the process...this is your work and you should enjoy what you're doing! No quilter starts at the top...we all started somewhere and work on improving our craft over time...have fun with what you're doing!!! :)

  23. #23
    Super Member Doreen's Avatar
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    When I have a lot of piecing on a quilt, I use a thin thread like Bottom Line. When you press the seam it makes a difference.

  24. #24
    Member FirstQuilt's Avatar
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    The focus should not be on the 1/4 inch, scant or not. The focus should be on the patch size that is left after seaming and pressing.

    Measure the block after seaming left and right edges. Is it correct size? If not, take "scant" smaller or larger seam, whatever is necessary. The size of the seam is relative; the size of the finished patch is not.

    This, of course, is from my prospective of reading, and not actually doing. Still working on my first quilt ;-) ;-)

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