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Thread: Tolerance

  1. #1
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    Tolerance

    How much plus or minus from the expected measurement do you consider acceptable when you make an item?

    For example - if the unfinished block size is supposed to be 12.5 inches - and this was for a group project - what measurements would you consider acceptable (and easy to work with)?

    (I also know that many of you are miracle workers in making almost anything/everything 'work' - but if you could have your druthers - ?)

    I know that 'exact' is just about impossible to attain - so how much leeway do you allow yourself?

    Even manufacturers of low tolerance items have a plus/minus from the expected measurement.

    For me, my tolerance would be 12.25 to 12.75 inches if 12.50 is the target size.
    Because - I could make 1/8 inch seams on the smaller one and the points would not look overly floaty, and I could fairly easily ease in the extra 0.25 inch on the larger one.

  2. #2
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    Since I'm still a pretty new quilter, I allow myself a LOT of leeway! I use the lowest common denominator approach where everything gets trimmed down to the smallest block and sashing makes up the difference. But so far I haven't made blocks that had points or anything that would really show the block had been trimmed.

    Plus I tell myself there's a certain amount of charm in a slightly wonky quilt. Though honestly I prefer things to line up, I'm just not all that skilled yet. My first quilt has blocks that are probably a half-inch off - thankfully I've gotten a LOT better! LOL

  3. #3
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    For my own use - whatever works. For a group project - probably 1/8 to 1/4" depending on the size of the block. But maybe that's why I seldom do group projects. When I first started quilting I somehow wound up putting together all the blocks from a group, and it was for a quilt meant for a raffle. I wound up having to make extra blocks to replace the ones that just would not fit. I wouldn't want some other quilter to be saddled with blocks that I didn't have the skill or patience to make well.

  4. #4
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    for swaps- when a 12 1/2" block is supposed to be swapped there is seldom any (tolerance)---a 12 1/2" block is expected- if you tend to not make your blocks precise you would be best off to make them a little large-then trim to the proper size before sending for the swap- often if your blocks are not correct they are returned unswapped.
    if i am working on something for myself i try very hard to make my blocks the size they are supposed to be- even an 1/8" off will add up to a whole inch in only 8 pieces---if my first block does not come out right i figure out why- if i continue to have problems i try to adjust so they are larger & can be trimmed to size.
    if your blocks are continuously 1/4" off it only takes 4 to be a whole inch off---if following a pattern that can really cause nothing to work- it is generally best to strive to get them right- not allow yourself a (tolerance)
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  5. #5
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    I always square up my blocks before I start sewing together...I can't make them bigger, but I can get larger ones to get a little better. I try to find the smallest one and see if I can get the rest to match. If not I do smaller seams on that one or two and the go from there.

  6. #6
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    For myself as long as they're all the same size I'm generally okay with it unless it's a real fussy block. For swaps I make sure my own blocks are the perfect measurement for the swap. I discovered I don't have much tolerance for other people's tolerance so I don't swap.

  7. #7
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    If it is for a group project or swap ... 1/8 inch or less what I find exceptable to receive . If its my own work , and I am very critical of my own .. its less than 2 mm...even then I would be dissapointed in my lack of precision.

  8. #8
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    1/8" is my tolerance. If the block is for a swap or group quilt I make sure it is the exact size or bigger to trim to exact size. No tolerance in swaps for me. I have been in too many swaps where close enough was considered by some as okay to send. It is not.
    Got fabric?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl View Post
    for swaps- when a 12 1/2" block is supposed to be swapped there is seldom any (tolerance)---a 12 1/2" block is expected- if you tend to not make your blocks precise you would be best off to make them a little large-then trim to the proper size before sending for the swap- often if your blocks are not correct they are returned unswapped....
    Ty, I agree.
    especially if the pattern has a point and that extra 1/4" would chop off the points.
    Swaps are great because everyone should aim to do their best. With that in mind, your skill will improve.

  10. #10
    Super Member pollyjvan9's Avatar
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    First off, I don't enter swaps because I tend to get distracted and end up starting a new project or completing a project I haven't thought about for months and would probably miss the deadlines. However for myself I really strive for the correct size (no tolerance) in a pieced quilt. As someone already stated a very small + or - tolerance can add up to a very difficult quilt to put together. Back to being easily distracted...maybe that is why I make so many machine applique quilts. It is very easy to cheat and still come out ok. My background square is usually about 1/2" big so that I can trim them all down to the same size.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    How much plus or minus from the expected measurement do you consider acceptable when you make an item?

    For example - if the unfinished block size is supposed to be 12.5 inches - and this was for a group project - what measurements would you consider acceptable (and easy to work with)?

    For me, my tolerance would be 12.25 to 12.75 inches if 12.50 is the target size.
    Because - I could make 1/8 inch seams on the smaller one and the points would not look overly floaty, and I could fairly easily ease in the extra 0.25 inch on the larger one.
    That's it for me too - 1/4" either way

  12. #12
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    For my own work, consistency is what matters, not a specific measurement. I don't use commercial patterns, so I'm not aiming for someone else's finished size goal. Consistency, however, pretty much means zero tolerance.

    The blocks in the last swap/group project I was in measured from 11.25" to 13". I no longer do swaps...that one ate up the last of my 'tolerance'.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  13. #13
    Super Member KalamaQuilts's Avatar
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    No tolerance. If you work to KNOW where exact 1/4" is on your machine you won't have to worry about it.
    And start with pressed starched fabric. Unpressed fabric will grow when you start pressing the seams.

    The best way I've found to find that perfect 1/4" on the various machines I've used over the years is start with a pile of 1-1/2 squares and make 9 patches. It is pretty easy to get your 3 patches stitched together to come out a perfect 3-1/2". But when you stitch those 3 strips together into the 9 patch you can quickly find the block is short in one direction.

    I probably stitched 2 dozen blocks getting it right on my new Horizon because there are so many setting variables.
    Once I had it consistently turning out 3-1/2" square blocks I used a sharpie and wrote those setting on my machine along with which foot.

    Do it right and take pride in your hard work and to honor the expense and time that goes into a quilt.
    I too have assembled group quilts, it's kinder to just return blocks that aren't right.

  14. #14
    Super Member chickadeee55's Avatar
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    I agree, I learned back with I first started quilting to check my 1/4" seam and always square up my blocks. It saves so much later on, when you find your quilt is not straight or things don't line up. But on another note, I also find I can work around something if I have to, adjust or whatever, but I prefer not to, becasue my first choice is to rip it out and redo it.

    Always be proud of what you make, not perfect, but close and proud of it. But enjoy what you do.

    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl View Post
    for swaps- when a 12 1/2" block is supposed to be swapped there is seldom any (tolerance)---a 12 1/2" block is expected- if you tend to not make your blocks precise you would be best off to make them a little large-then trim to the proper size before sending for the swap- often if your blocks are not correct they are returned unswapped.
    if i am working on something for myself i try very hard to make my blocks the size they are supposed to be- even an 1/8" off will add up to a whole inch in only 8 pieces---if my first block does not come out right i figure out why- if i continue to have problems i try to adjust so they are larger & can be trimmed to size.
    if your blocks are continuously 1/4" off it only takes 4 to be a whole inch off---if following a pattern that can really cause nothing to work- it is generally best to strive to get them right- not allow yourself a (tolerance)

  15. #15
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    If it's for an exchange, I can accept 1/16- 1/8 but any more than that and I do it again and again and sometimes again. That's why I seldom do exchanges. I never do exchanges out of fabric kits because those give me nightmares in case they come out wrong and I have no more fabric. Yikes, too much pressure!

  16. #16
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    I aim for precision because 1/16th-1/8th of an inch multiples over time and can make your quilt off an inch or two and can be the reason it is not square, has puckered blocks, etc.
    Bernie

  17. #17
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I don't participate in swaps but, if I did, I would make sure my block was exact. If the block is not too far off in measurement, this can typically be achieved by "blocking" the block. Sharon Schamber has several videos on Youtube that show how to do this with starch and iron. If I could not achieve exact measurements, my tolerance would run a max of 1/8th of an inch.

  18. #18
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    If I was involved in a swap - it would have to be exactly 12.5 inches so that they could be sewn together.

    Think about this for a moment - if we sew w/ 1/4 inch seams, a finished square that is 12.25 inches has almost zero allowance for seams. Make the square a smidge larger and trim it down to the precise final measurement.
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  19. #19
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    Wow. This "tolerance" is one of the reasons I rarely do group swaps. To me, 12.5" means 12.5". I've been frustrated in the past having too narrow of a seam to feel confident in the seam integrity after several washings when I've received less than accurate blocks in a trade.

    Jan in VA
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  20. #20
    Super Member bjeriann's Avatar
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    I'm glad I read this thread. I thought it was just me. I don't do swap anymore because I don't have the tolerance for close enough. If I need 12.5" then that's what I do. If it take a try or 2 then so be it. I was afraid I was being inlisted in the Quilt Police. I don't mean to judge others so if close enough is ok for them, it's their quilt.

  21. #21
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    If I was trying to put them together, I could live with an 1/8" seam, if necessary. If the block was too large, I could just trim it.

    On the other hand, if I was sending my own block to someone else, I would keep working on it, until it was the right size . . . . I'd be too embarrassed, to send something obviously wrong.
    Neesie


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  22. #22
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I don't belong to any swaps or groups. I tolerate whatever I need to if it is my work. I have figured out most everything I want to do. I would not want my work examined by anyone else.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  23. #23
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    To me 8 1/2" = 8 1/2", etc. That was the biggest learning curve for me coming from apparel sewing. Once I learned it, I have no tolerance.

  24. #24
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    I err on the side of someone sent me their best effort. Allowing for the inconsistencies of some rulers and mats I don't sweat it. I will find a mutual color to frame the smaller blocks and trim the over size ones. I am the last person to say my way is the only way. And I have a beautiful set of blocks awaiting my finishing appliquing the central theme block.

    I have sweated blood over exact 12 1/2 inch squares for a project only to end up having to make several new blocks because the constant unsewing made holes in the fabric. Prewashing and using the same rulers and mats through out as well as marking my 1/4 inch on my machine all seem to have helped, however I still have the occasional oops.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider View Post
    For my own work, consistency is what matters, not a specific measurement. I don't use commercial patterns, so I'm not aiming for someone else's finished size goal. Consistency, however, pretty much means zero tolerance.

    The blocks in the last swap/group project I was in measured from 11.25" to 13". I no longer do swaps...that one ate up the last of my 'tolerance'.

  25. #25
    Super Member GingerK's Avatar
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    I also have very little tolerance. But I have learned that using sashing between blocks--and marking the 'expected' points on the sashing-can make a huge difference. It's such a persnicketty thing, but marking where the blocks should start and end often means stretching just that 1/8 inch or easing in that 1/4 inch per block and ends up making the whole project less stressful.

    I do not participate in swaps. Heck, I don't have time to finish my own stuff much less work to someone else's time table. Right now I have a Winnie the Pooh baby quilt half completed on my table, ideas for a doggie blanket for a co-worker in my head and have just ordered the fabric for my DGD's big girl quilt--design in limbo but percolating!!
    Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down the their level and beat you with experience.

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