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Thread: WHAT SEWING MACHINE HAS THE BEST 1/4 INCH SEAM

  1. #1
    browniva's Avatar
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    I AM WANTING TO BUY A NEW SEWING MACHINE AND NEED ONE WITH A PERFECT 1/4 IN SEAM. i HAVE AN OLD MACHINE AND ALSO HAVE A 1/4 IN FOOT FOR IT BUT MY SQUARES ARE NEVER WHAT THEY SHOULD BE. PLEASE HELP ME PICK A NEW MACHINE
    THANKS
    JOANNE FROM SASKATCHEWAN CANADA

  2. #2
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    I don't know if there is a machine like that. The user controls the seam, not the machine. Does your 1/4 inch foot have the metal guide on the edge? It could be bent.

  3. #3
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    It may not be your machine. I had a hard time getting mine right even when using the "quilt" setting on my new machine that automatically adjusted the needle position for the 1/4 inch. It took practice but I think I'm finally getting it. I don't use my 1/4 inch foot. The regular foot seems to work better for me. Try measuring exactly 1/4 inch from your needle and marking tbe bed of your machine with painter's tape. Align the fabric farther back as you feed it through rather than right at the needle. Don't know if this makes sense - it's pretty late where I am. :)

  4. #4
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    I'm using an old 301 Singer sewing machine. The needle plate has the 1/4 inch seam engraved right in it.Always works for me.

  5. #5
    Super Member fabric_fancy's Avatar
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    i've got to agree the with above - the problem is not the machine.

    use an index card to master the 1/4 inch and then mark the machine with some tape to use as a guide.

  6. #6
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    I use this on which ever machine I decide to use.

    http://www.softexpressions.com/softw.../PerPiecSG.php

    I lost my first one and quickly ordered a replacement. My seams are always accurate since I started using it.

  7. #7
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    I started using the 1941 Singer my brother gave me. My 1/4 seams are now perfect and my cutting is accurate. HST still come out wonky often enough to make me invent swear words.

  8. #8
    Super Member JenniePenny's Avatar
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    No machine is best. You may have to adjust your needle position. Spend the time to test out different settings and techniques .

  9. #9
    Super Member kriscraft99's Avatar
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    you can also mark your 1/4" with a rubber band - that way you can butt your fabric up to the edge of the band. This picture gives you a visual (but definitely not 1/4") ;-)
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
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    Are you sure the problem us even in your sewing? It could be in your cutting, pressing, even thread choice...But I will say that I've had the easiest time getting a consistent, perfect 1/4" on my narrower (4mm and 5.5mm) stitch width Berninas with the #37 and #57 feet. They're the same except the #57 has a sturdy metal guide to the right. I also love a screw-down seam guide, which is a very inexpensive item. Just know that on some machines, one thing or another prevents you from getting that guide that close. The only answer is to experiment. I like to make a block using strips cut at 1.5" like a 6-strip rail fence (12" finished block) or a double nine patch (9" finished block) or a goose in the pond, when I think I've got the 1/4" worked out on a new machine. A simple block with several seams across the width will show you if you're really being accurate. A quick test is to sew three 1.5" strips together, press, and measure the center strip, which should be exactly 1" across. But do a block with 11 seams across the width, such as a 6 strip rail fence, and you'll definitely find out if you are off!

  11. #11
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    I also have a Bernina and the 37 and 57 feet do a nice job, but I still have to pay attention to what I am doing as I sometimes (must be old age) let my mind wander and then the seam is definitely not 1/4 inch.

  12. #12
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    I agree with everyone who's posted. Here's a tutorial on how to check your seam and figure out where the sweet spot is on YOUR machine. I would take an hour or so and follow the tutorial and figure out where the 'scant' quarter inch is, then use one of the methods above to mark it. One method not mentioned is use a stack of post it notes. When the sticky stops holding, take the bottom sheet off & you've got a whole new adhesive. http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-89997-1.htm

    It's also good to recheck if you switch to thicker or thinner fabric or thread, but usually once you've taken the time to figure it out, your good to go. Cheaper than getting a whole new machine!!!!

  13. #13
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    I alway do a scant 1/4 seam...I ride the edge of my foot just OFF the fabric a fraction and then always square up my blocks to the right size. the 1/4" always has to allow for the thread and the fold of the fabric which throws off the true 1/4"

  14. #14
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    I can't really say what machine for a 1/4 inch seam without a price range. My Bernina 440 does a great 1/4 inch seam with the #37 foot as others have stated. It cost about $2,900 to buy this year. The price is probably going to go down as I've heard it is going to be discontinued? If you have a good sewing machine dealer where you are, bring a piece of 1/4 inch graph paper with you to try out their machines and see what works best. The reason it is best to check your area is so you have support for learning your machine and for repairs and cleaning.

  15. #15
    browniva's Avatar
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    THANKS SO MUCH SO FAR FOR ALL THE HELP
    I DID NOT MENTION I AM USING A BERNIA 910 WITH THE NUMBER 37 FOOT WITH THE NEEDLE POSITION ONE TO THE RIGHT AND FOLLOWING THE EDGE OF THE FOOT AND IT IS OUT. I WILL TRY SOME THE YOUR SUGGESTIONS AND HOPE I CAN COME UP WITH THE PERFECT BLOCK, HAS NOT HAPPENED YET USUALLY OUT ABOUT 1/4 IN ON A 12 IN BLOCK.
    MOST OF THE QUILTS THAT I MADE SO FAR DOES NOT MATTER I JUST SQUARE THEM UP AND GO ON MY WAY BUT IT KIND OF TICKS ME OFF AND MAKES ME NOT WANT TO TRY ANY KIND OF HARDER BLOCK.
    THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP

  16. #16
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    I've used graph paper that has the 1/4 inch grid to help me figure things out.

    I line up the right edge of the presser foot with a line on the graph paper. Then I "sew" a few stitches to see where the stitching line is.

    Then, depending on the machine, I can adjust the needle position, or I can mark where the edge of the fabric should go with tape, post-it notes, or whatever.

    Some machines have lines marked by the feed dogs that are helpful - the graph paper can help "calibrate" these lines with the presser foot.

    The "sample test" using several strips of fabric is, in my opinion, the "best" way to see if one's block will end up being approximately* the expected/hoped for size.

    There are more variables than JUST the seam allowances that affect/afflict the finished size of a block.

    *For me, a 12.5 inch unfiniished block should be at least 12.5 inches and no more than 12.625 inches after pressing. (12-1/2 to 12-5/8) It's easier for me to ease in 1/8 inch than to "stretch" 1/8 inch

    With all the above said - there probably are some machines that feed the fabric better and will be easier to guide the fabric through.

    There is a thread saying that after changing machines, it was ever so much easier to sew accurately.

  17. #17
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by browniva
    THANKS SO MUCH SO FAR FOR ALL THE HELP
    I DID NOT MENTION I AM USING A BERNIA 910 WITH THE NUMBER 37 FOOT WITH THE NEEDLE POSITION ONE TO THE RIGHT AND FOLLOWING THE EDGE OF THE FOOT AND IT IS OUT. I WILL TRY SOME THE YOUR SUGGESTIONS AND HOPE I CAN COME UP WITH THE PERFECT BLOCK, HAS NOT HAPPENED YET USUALLY OUT ABOUT 1/4 IN ON A 12 IN BLOCK.
    MOST OF THE QUILTS THAT I MADE SO FAR DOES NOT MATTER I JUST SQUARE THEM UP AND GO ON MY WAY BUT IT KIND OF TICKS ME OFF AND MAKES ME NOT WANT TO TRY ANY KIND OF HARDER BLOCK.
    THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP
    check the way you cut your squares also...are you riding your ruler ON THE fabric not butted up to the line??? that makes a big difference...when I have taught rotary cutting so many quilters use the mat...not a good idea...throws everything off... :roll:

  18. #18
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    Don't shoot me for this opinion, but I get a better 1/4 inch seam if I don't trust the quarter inch foot. I measure my quarter inch from the needle as it is in the normal position and then I mark my machine. I mark it as far on the bed of the machine towards me as I can. That way, I always know where the quarter inch measurement is no matter what foot I use.

  19. #19
    Super Member sewwhat85's Avatar
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    the machine with the most experienced quilter in the drivers seat LOL :D :D

  20. #20
    Junior Member marshaKay's Avatar
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    redmatter,
    I too, invent swear words. My DH thinks it's a hoot. But as far as 1/4" seams go, I thinks operator error really has a LOT to do with it....especially after a couple of glasses of wine!!!! Oh, well Rip it, rip it.

  21. #21
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimsjunque
    I'm using an old 301 Singer sewing machine. The needle plate has the 1/4 inch seam engraved right in it.Always works for me.
    Ditto. My 301 sews a very straight seam, and I put a 1/4" foot on it, and my seam allowance comes out very good. I am very happy with the result.

  22. #22
    Super Member CorgiNole's Avatar
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    As others have said, it is generally an operator issue. Though 1990's Singer definitely pulls to the left (I find myself fighting to keep the fabric feeding straight), but that may be an issue of lint in the feed dogs also...

    I currently sew on a Bernina 801 (1970's) and use a stack of 1/4 inch tape as a seam guide. I have one of the scant 1/4 rulers to help me align the tape correctly.

    I would be wary of setting the needle to a position other than the center in case of forgetting later and ending up with the needle striking something it shouldn't strike.

    Cheers, K

  23. #23
    Super Member CorgiNole's Avatar
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    Something else to consider - the way you press the seams within the block can also affect the outcome of your block.

    In the end, though, I don't think it is so much about the perfect 1/4 seam, but the perfectly consistent seam.

    Cheers, K

  24. #24
    Senior Member lvaughan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maia B
    Are you sure the problem us even in your sewing? It could be in your cutting, pressing, even thread choice...But I will say that I've had the easiest time getting a consistent, perfect 1/4" on my narrower (4mm and 5.5mm) stitch width Berninas with the #37 and #57 feet. They're the same except the #57 has a sturdy metal guide to the right. I also love a screw-down seam guide, which is a very inexpensive item. Just know that on some machines, one thing or another prevents you from getting that guide that close. The only answer is to experiment. I like to make a block using strips cut at 1.5" like a 6-strip rail fence (12" finished block) or a double nine patch (9" finished block) or a goose in the pond, when I think I've got the 1/4" worked out on a new machine. A simple block with several seams across the width will show you if you're really being accurate. A quick test is to sew three 1.5" strips together, press, and measure the center strip, which should be exactly 1" across. But do a block with 11 seams across the width, such as a 6 strip rail fence, and you'll definitely find out if you are off!
    I agree with using the #57 foot, it works better for me than the #37. I do sometimes move my needle over one click, it all depends on the fabric thickness and pattern (lots of intersecting seams) and if you starch your blocks as you go. I am assuming (maybe wrongly) that you are trying to get a perfect seam to make as close to possible a perfect block.

  25. #25
    Junior Member geeblay627e120's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kriscraft99
    you can also mark your 1/4" with a rubber band - that way you can butt your fabric up to the edge of the band. This picture gives you a visual (but definitely not 1/4") ;-)

    What a great idea!

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