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Thread: sewing 1/4 straight

  1. #1

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    Hi people, I have been quilting for about 2 years, feel that i am still new to it. the worst the is that for some reason i can't keep my 1/4 steam straight. i have tried to put tape and still that doesn't seam to help. is there some kind of tool out there? i need help with this so that my quilts are just as lovely and beautiful as i see on the quiltboard. i will take any tips to help me with this.
    thanks quilting people.

  2. #2
    bj
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    Super Member bj's Avatar
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    I keep a small piece of moleskin (Dr. Scholl's) at the 1/4" mark to help me keep straight.

  3. #3
    Super Member QuiltnCowgirl's Avatar
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    There have been lots of suggestions. Some people use the Dr. Scholls cut in a strip, or I remember one person taped a pad of post-it notes 1/4" to the right of the needle. This would give you a tall, firm edge to keep your fabric against. Maybe this would help you develop an eye for that elusive scant 1/4".

  4. #4
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    I just bought the 1/4" foot for my feather weight machine and it has helped me a lot. My other machines have the 1/4" line on them and for some reason I do good with that. Go figure.

  5. #5
    Super Member MommaDorian's Avatar
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    I have a 1/4" foot. It has a 'bar' on the right side of the foot. You hold your fabric right up to that 'bar'. I don't know what I did before I got it.

    Here's a picture of the one I have:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
    Super Member Rose L's Avatar
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    Slow and steady wins the race IMHO. Some machines have 1/4" feet (Janmome does) that have a fence along the inside to line your fabric up against. Some have quilting bars that are adjustable so you can set it to the width of stitch you need. I also have a "Little Foot" quilting foot and as long as I eyeball the edge just right (it's see through) so that I can see the fabric edge under the foot or on the outside edge of the foot, I can get a perfect seam. I sew slowly to ensure even stitching...I just hate re-doing. Good Luck!

  7. #7
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    Put a piece of tape farther to the front of the pressure foot so the fabric doesn't go into the foot at an angle.
    Also, look to see how you are sitting in relation to the direction the piece is going into the machine. If you are sitting at an angle, there is a tendeny for the fabric to also be going under the presure foot at an angle. If you are sewing a long piece....stop and readjust. The suggestions above are good but the tape down front helps as well.

  8. #8
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    Another option, provided you don't have a computerized sewing machine, is there is a magnetic guide that you can place on the bed of your machine. It's about 3/8 in. tall and it provides the same edge to line up that some of the 1/4 in. feet do but at a much cheaper price. Joann's has them for about $5 I think. If you have a computerized machine do not use this as magnets and computers do not play nicely together. Anything that has enough of a lip that you can help to guide your fabric will work. And as Holice says, putting a piece of tape further forward on the bed of your machine will help as well.

  9. #9
    Senior Member sandyo's Avatar
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    remember to also look ahead of the stitching not right where it is hitting the needle.

  10. #10
    Super Member PegD's Avatar
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    I have that one on my Janome, and just used it for the first time. It worked great.
    Quote Originally Posted by MommaDorian
    I have a 1/4" foot. It has a 'bar' on the right side of the foot. You hold your fabric right up to that 'bar'. I don't know what I did before I got it.

    Here's a picture of the one I have:

  11. #11
    Senior Member OraLee's Avatar
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    I use a 1/4 inch foot for my machine. It is so much easier. Just feed the material through.

  12. #12
    Super Member EagarBeez's Avatar
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    I follow the pressure foot. Works for me

  13. #13
    saf
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    Quote Originally Posted by ramonarivera2010
    Hi people, I have been quilting for about 2 years, feel that i am still new to it. the worst the is that for some reason i can't keep my 1/4 steam straight. i have tried to put tape and still that doesn't seam to help. is there some kind of tool out there? i need help with this so that my quilts are just as lovely and beautiful as i see on the quiltboard. i will take any tips to help me with this.
    thanks quilting people.
    I have just bought a new Janome which had a 1/4 inch foot with an edge but before that I used a repositional vinyl strip called Qtool sewing edge. There is a very good video tutorial on Alicia's Attic, demonstrating how to sew a scant 1/4 inch seam.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Kat Sews's Avatar
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    There is an attachment you can buy for your machine if there is a screw hole in the needle plate. I think it is called a seam gauge. You attach it to your machine and adjust it to the seam with you want to sew and tighten it down. It will attach in front of your foot and can be used with most quarter inch feet and on most machines. Unlike things that stick to your machine it will last for years and leaves no sticky residue. If you want to look at a picture the one for brother machines is accessory #SA538

  15. #15
    Senior Member MYWR's Avatar
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    I had a great deal of trouble - then I figured I was always looking to the right to guage my seams - But not everyone has their right eye as their dominant eye - I'm left eyed ! Ever since I discovered this - I am much closer to that elusive 1/4 inch seam ! Hopefully that will help someone!!

  16. #16
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    If your pieces are skewing at the ends of the seams, you might need an awl, stiletto or skewer (I have a Purple Thang), to help hold the fabric straight as that last little bit goes under the needle.

    One of my machines is hard to control because the 1/4" seam is only hitting the left feed dog causing my fabric to skew. My solution to that problem was to move the needle as far to the right as possible and measure 1/4 inch to the right of the needle and draw myself a line to follow from the throat plate down the front of the machine. You could make the little guide rail of moleskin, painter's tape, sticky notes or whatever instead of drawing a line. I'm a paper piecer also and having anything sticking up gets in the way so drawing a line with permanent marker works better for me than constantly having to put a guide rail up and off again.

    I have a little cheapo White sewing machine that runs so rough there is no way to keep an accurate seam. Even paper piecing is nearly impossible unless you go very slow with it. I think the feed dogs go in circles on it--LOL!

    Another problem I used to have was sewing long seams accurately. I'd start going faster & faster and not paying attention to the fabric on the bottom so it was slipping farther & farther to the left. The top looked like a good straight seam but I'd completely missed the bottom fabric. Now I only run about 6 inches through at a time and stop to check that my strips are aligned.

    If you were taught that it's ok to sew over pins, that could be wrecking your seams also. I know my home ec teacher said it's ok to sew over the pins but she sure doesn't show up to help me dig them out of my bobbin area when my machines decided to eat pins and spit out needles.

    Lining yourself up with the needle is a good suggestion. I have also noticed myself drifting to the left which causes my seams to drift.

  17. #17
    saf
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    Quote Originally Posted by BKrenning
    If your pieces are skewing at the ends of the seams, you might need an awl, stiletto or skewer (I have a Purple Thang), to help hold the fabric straight as that last little bit goes under the needle.

    One of my machines is hard to control because the 1/4" seam is only hitting the left feed dog causing my fabric to skew. My solution to that problem was to move the needle as far to the right as possible and measure 1/4 inch to the right of the needle and draw myself a line to follow from the throat plate down the front of the machine. You could make the little guide rail of moleskin, painter's tape, sticky notes or whatever instead of drawing a line. I'm a paper piecer also and having anything sticking up gets in the way so drawing a line with permanent marker works better for me than constantly having to put a guide rail up and off again.

    I have a little cheapo White sewing machine that runs so rough there is no way to keep an accurate seam. Even paper piecing is nearly impossible unless you go very slow with it. I think the feed dogs go in circles on it--LOL!

    Another problem I used to have was sewing long seams accurately. I'd start going faster & faster and not paying attention to the fabric on the bottom so it was slipping farther & farther to the left. The top looked like a good straight seam but I'd completely missed the bottom fabric. Now I only run about 6 inches through at a time and stop to check that my strips are aligned.

    If you were taught that it's ok to sew over pins, that could be wrecking your seams also. I know my home ec teacher said it's ok to sew over the pins but she sure doesn't show up to help me dig them out of my bobbin area when my machines decided to eat pins and spit out needles.

    Lining yourself up with the needle is a good suggestion. I have also noticed myself drifting to the left which causes my seams to drift.
    Lots of great tips. I had the same problem with pins. Long seams too.....sometimes you just get carried away :lol:

  18. #18
    Super Member quilterella's Avatar
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    I had tried almost everything that has been suggested, without much luck. I finally invested in a 1/4" foot for my machine and it is the best investment I have made yet as far as quilting tools go. And they are available for almost every machine now. Good Luck.

  19. #19
    Junior Member trugger's Avatar
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    I'm not sure what kind of machine you have, but something like this might help you:
    http://shop.sew-classic.com/Seam-Gau...-SCF161172.htm

  20. #20
    Senior Member lisalisa's Avatar
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    Dont know if this has already been suggested but the pressure foot tension being too loose can allow the fabric to wiggle as it's being fed through. You might need to tighten it a bit so it holds down the fabric better.

  21. #21
    Super Member quiltmaker's Avatar
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    I know there are many members that have absolutely no problems with using a normal foot to create their scant or regular quarter inch seams...I just always had the problem you are describing.

    My solution was the quarter inch foot as many have listed above with the right guide to help keep my seams accurate and have never looked back. Since I use my Pfaff my IDT (walking foot) it is always engaged when piecing my fabrics so both top and bottom move together at the same time. I also use it for straight line quilting for exactly the same reason. Course with FMQ you don't use the IDT (walking foot) but have found that it really isn't necessary because you quilt from the middle out and that takes care of not having bunching in your quilt back.

    If you go to the site listed below you can find many helpful ideas for you:

    http://www.daystyledesigns.com/

    Wishing you great success in your quilting adventures.

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