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Thread: SCANT 1/4 INCH IS MAKING ME CRAZY

  1. #1
    happy_lady's Avatar
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    I've been quilting for almost ten years and continue to find sewing a scant 1/4 inch very frustrating. Is there such a thing as a quilting foot that measures this elusive 1/4 inch? If there is, I would love to own one. or is this just another one of my pipedreams.

  2. #2
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I wish they would make a scant 1/4" foot!
    I use my 1/4" foot and move the needle one click to the right :D:D:D

  3. #3

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    There is a quarter inch sewing foot. I use mine all the time. Can't piece without it. lol You should be able to purchase one that works with your machine.

  4. #4
    Super Member maine ladybug's Avatar
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    I know. this new "scant 1/4 inch" is enough to drive you crazy. I've come across it and my question is...."Why not just give us the correct measurements to cut the fabric, so then we can just sew the normal 1/4 inch? "

  5. #5
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I would not piece without my 1/4 foot with attached guide. Without the guide it's useless to me. I have one for all my machines from Featherweight to Janome. they are easy to find on Ebay and most machine shops online.
    The directions would say cut strips to 1/32" if the scant 1/4" was factored in. Most would freak at that measurement. LOL

  6. #6
    Super Member sewcrafty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo
    I would not piece without my 1/4 foot with attached guide. Without the guide it's useless to me. I have one for all my machines from Featherweight to Janome. they are easy to find on Ebay and most machine shops online.
    The directions would say cut strips to 1/32" if the scant 1/4" was factored in. Most would freak at that measurement. LOL
    A lot of feet will sew the 1/4", but the scant is to compensate for the thread used for the piecing. If you have a thinner thread, then probably no need for adjustment. If thicker weight thread, that's when the adjusting is going to come into play.

    I have a Janome 6600 and I adjust the needle position by 2 clicks to the right to compensate.

  7. #7
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I use the standard sewing foot and move the needle to be in the right position (1/4" or scant 1/4") It is a pain!

  8. #8
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I don't rely on a foot. I use a strip of heavyweight moleskin and butt my fabric up against that as I sew. My seams turn out much more even that way.

    To measure the scant 1/4" for moleskin placement, I place my favorite cutting ruler under the presser foot, make sure it is positioned fairly straight front-to-back, move my needle position one place to the right (with my older Bernina I have to do this in order for the moleskin to clear the feeddogs), lower the needle so that it touches the ruler just to the right of the 1/4" line, and lower the presser foot to hold the ruler in place. I have already cut the moleskin into strips using a ruler and rotary cutter, so I just remove the paper from the back of the moleskin and carefully position it so it is butted up against my ruler edge.

    Although I often use just a 2" or 3" long strip of moleskin, my preference if I am going to be sewing long strips together is to make the moleskin strip even longer, so it is guiding the fabric long before the fabric actually gets to the needle.

    Anyway, with this method I don't have to force my eyes to constantly look at the marking on a foot; as long as the fabric is butting up against the moleskin as it feeds, I am going to get a good seamline.

    As someone else mentioned, thread thickness can affect seam width. Once you have the moleskin positioned, it's a good idea to do a test of 3 2-1/2" strips sewn together so that, when ironed, you are sure the finished measurement is exactly what it should be.

    Moleskin is available in the foot section of pharmacies. It is a cushioning product sold for placing on heels, etc., to prevent blisters or protect a blister from rubbing.

  9. #9
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    The 1/4" foot is NOT the issue and typically it's not the pattern either. You will have to move the needle position based on fabric and thread thickness as mentioned before. I have to move my needle when working with flannels(thicker) and the different brands and weights also affect the seam allowance. It's always best to do a test run of the fabrics you're using with the thread and move your needle over if need be. Usually I don't have to move my needle at all if I'm using LQS fabric with Aurifil 50 wt. thread. But, if I change any of those, I do a sample.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewcrafty
    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo
    I would not piece without my 1/4 foot with attached guide. Without the guide it's useless to me. I have one for all my machines from Featherweight to Janome. they are easy to find on Ebay and most machine shops online.
    The directions would say cut strips to 1/32" if the scant 1/4" was factored in. Most would freak at that measurement. LOL
    A lot of feet will sew the 1/4", but the scant is to compensate for the thread used for the piecing. If you have a thinner thread, then probably no need for adjustment. If thicker weight thread, that's when the adjusting is going to come into play.

    I have a Janome 6600 and I adjust the needle position by 2 clicks to the right to compensate.
    this is why the cutting of the dreaded 7/8" for HST's is a waste, i just round up. if i was cutting one strip, i may cut that, but when you are cutting alot of them, in a row..i just cut the whole number up..
    and i also have the 6600 and the 1 or 2 clicks for me..are good.
    (depends on what thread i am using.)

  11. #11
    Senior Member merrylouw's Avatar
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    There is a marvelous 1/4 inch foot that is clear plastic and is also marked with 1/4 inch horizontally at the needle position as well as 1/4 inch behind the needle and 1/4 inch in front of it. (Is that clear as mud? )

    It's made by Littlefoot and available at some LQS as well as at http://littlefoot.com. I got one this summer and LOVE it.

  12. #12
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I found I don't have to worry about the scant 1/4" if I use very thin thread. When using size 60 or or lower thread I adjust my foot guide a fraction to compensate. I don't move my needle. If I stay true to the seam allowance the blocks will match no matter if I use a scant or full. That's hard to do without some sort of guide.

  13. #13
    Super Member C.Cal Quilt Girl's Avatar
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    Alright call me a rebel, but unless triangles or exact pattern, 1/4 is for the birds (my opinion) and no this isn't to offend, as long as all the seams are straight and the same measurement, I go for something that can be seen normally lands closer to 3/8, don't have to worry about fraying, just gives a little extra room to work with if adjustments need to be made. :)

  14. #14
    Super Member fabric_fancy's Avatar
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    you could always put it into your cutting and then just sew a standard 1/4 inch.

    if the pattern says to cut 2.5 inches just cut 2.5 plus 2 threads more of the fabric.

  15. #15
    Junior Member bels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.Cal Quilt Girl
    Alright call me a rebel, but unless triangles or exact pattern, 1/4 is for the birds (my opinion) and no this isn't to offend, as long as all the seams are straight and the same measurement, I go for something that can be seen normally lands closer to 3/8, don't have to worry about fraying, just gives a little extra room to work with if adjustments need to be made. :)
    You got THAT right! I agree. When I use 1/4" or worse, scant 1/4" it always gives me trouble. First washing and it comes apart....and you really can't fix it because it has frayed some and now it is too small to come together correctly. Now I compensate for that by doing some stay-stitching ( don't have a serger) on the seams that look like they may come apart easily. And am seriously considering a larger seam allowance on my next quilt. (Hope I remember ) lol

  16. #16
    tooMuchFabric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bels
    am seriously considering a larger seam allowance on my next quilt
    Just have to cut larger enough to make up that difference if doing points and triangles.

  17. #17
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
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    Nothing works for everybody. Learn your machine. Spend a whole day figuring it out. You are in control. The tool works for you. Once you figure it out, you work together. peace.

  18. #18
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    I use my 1/4" foot and slip the needle over to the right one click - it becomes a scant 1/4"

  19. #19
    Super Member natalieg's Avatar
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    I never thought about moving the needle over a little bit. That's a good idea. I will have to look into that!

  20. #20
    Super Member quilting cat's Avatar
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    What kind of machine do you have? I found out from my Bernina serviceperson that the needle can be realligned! (I have a 30 year old 830 and just learned that recently!)

  21. #21
    Super Member damaquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    I wish they would make a scant 1/4" foot!
    I use my 1/4" foot and move the needle one click to the right :D:D:D
    Thats what I do too.

  22. #22
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    one way is to put your needle down, put a small ruler against the needle and find the 1/4" mark...put a little dot...mark a couple dots in line...just inside of the 1/4" mark so you have a scant 1/4"...then run a piece of masking tape along your dots...so you have a guide that is straight and a scant 1/4". sometimes when a pattern calls for scant seams people will cut larger...stitch then trim to size instead of having to deal with it...but i have found a guide on the machine works pretty good.

  23. #23
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happy_lady
    I've been quilting for almost ten years and continue to find sewing a scant 1/4 inch very frustrating. Is there such a thing as a quilting foot that measures this elusive 1/4 inch? If there is, I would love to own one. or is this just another one of my pipedreams.
    I measure from the needle to a place on my machine and lay down a piece of blue painters tape. It doesn't leave residue and is easy to see. I do have a 1/4" foot and know that scant is just inside the right finger. I can't move the needle because of the single center hole in the foot.

  24. #24
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    I picked up a 1/4" foot at a quilt show. You can purchase one from The quilter's Portable, 208 South Street, Mallard, Iowa 50562. 712-425-3478. I wouldn't be without mine. In fact, I have two. One that I keep on my sewing machine when I am going away to quilt with a group.

  25. #25
    Super Member QuiltswithConvicts's Avatar
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    When teaching new students about setting up their sewing machines, I use this technique:

    Cut 3 pieces of fabric each 1 1/2" wide by 6" long with 1 piece from a different fabric. Sew the 3 pieces together with the contrasting fabric in the middle. Press seams and measure the width of the center piece. If it is 1", you have your perfect 1/4" seam. If not, you need to adjust your needle position. I have them use a longer stitch than usual so it is easier to rip out and sew again. Keep trying until you get it, then write all your settings down for the next time.

    I have (and love) the 1/4" foot with the little black "wall" against which you run the fabric to sew. HOWEVER, the needle position still needs to be set. For my machine, I need to move the needle from the default setting of 3.5 over to 4.2. On my older Janome, I don't need to move anything - go figure!

    A scant 1/4" is only the difference of about a single thread's width. This is done because when we press seam allowances, the fabric goes up and over a teeny, tiny bit before lying flat, so we need to allow for it's detour by taking a teeny, tiny bit smaller seam width.

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