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what's your best advice to beginner for keeping 1/4" seam consistent?

what's your best advice to beginner for keeping 1/4" seam consistent?

Old 01-28-2017, 05:19 PM
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Default what's your best advice to beginner for keeping 1/4" seam consistent?

Helped teach the first beginner class in series of 7 today--first with machine and while last week (cutting, pressing, color/value etc class) they were told how to find the 1/4" seam with their two 2.5" squares and given that homework, it always seems that we have beginners that struggle to keep a consistent 1/4" on their strip sets for first block (railfence).

So my question to you--what do you use to keep a consistent 1/4" seam that a beginner would find helpful? Keep in mind that we are talking many different machine types and much difference in sewing abilities. Thanks!
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Old 01-28-2017, 06:02 PM
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I spent a bunch of time adjusting the needle position on my machine so that I could line up the fabric with the guide/line on the presser foot.

Then I wrote it down! I keep all my 'figured it out' notes on small notecards next to my machine. Then I can look then up rather than trying to remember them. I have notes about machine settings (I just made one today about machine applique!), cutting various triangles, cutting binding strips, etc...

Also, I've been quilting for a few years and I'm terrible at strip sets. I don't like sewing a WOF (40 inch) strip to another one. Ugh. For beginners I would make them shorter (like in half). And even (my preference), cut it into rectangles (or squares) and sew those.

Good luck with your teaching! What a fun way to meet and share with other quilters!
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Old 01-28-2017, 06:09 PM
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I've had the best luck with the 1/4" foot that has the edge guide.
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Old 01-28-2017, 06:14 PM
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Find the 1/4" position just before the presser foot and mark it with the edge of a strip of painters tape. Doing the same behind the needle can be helpful too.
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Old 01-28-2017, 06:57 PM
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I'm a beginning quilter. I've tried several things, including two $20.00 1/4" feet especially for piecing. The painters tape (as popover suggested) has been the most successful for me.

I've also found that a zig-zag foot works better than a straight stitch foot. The wider foot seems to hold the fabric over the feed dogs more evenly on my vintage slant shank, (if that makes any sense) so it feeds straighter.

bkay
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Old 01-28-2017, 07:24 PM
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Go to Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville site and look for the tutorial of the Best Seam Guide Ever. It shows how to make one out of a sticky strip and a hotel door card piece.
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Old 01-28-2017, 07:32 PM
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I'd suggest getting to know your machine feet very well. I used a 1/4" foot with an edge guide and when I actually measured - the outcome was anything but 1/4 inches.
Then there is the starting and stopping. Some feet tend to pull the fabric during starts and stops. Starts can be helped with leaders and stops can be controlled with a stylus.
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Old 01-28-2017, 08:04 PM
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Find your needle position for 1/4" seams and then keep a consistent seam with this nearly free tip.

Jan in VA
(drawn graphics are my own.)
Attached Thumbnails easy-quarter-inch-seam-allowance-trick.gif  
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Old 01-28-2017, 08:23 PM
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I use a ruled 3x5 index card to set my machine to 1/4". The lines are 1/4" apart. I normally sew with a scant 1/4" because of the fold of the fabric. To measure this, for normal fabric, I position the needle so it touches the line barely to the right. Then I put a piece of the neon tape in front of the foot to mark the position. Also, at the beginning of every project I take 4 squares of a known measurement (1.5", 2", .... depends on what I have laying around), make 2 2-patches and measure them to make sure are the right size (if not, I rip adjust, and start again), then I sew the 2-patches together and make a 4 patch, measuring again.

Common errors, the first few stitches and the last few stitches are not accurate because folks anticipate sewing onto the block or sewing off -- that is why using leaders and enders (or sew ons and sew offs as we called them when I was taught) help. They are not only for keeping points out of the feed dogs but are also good to help folks keep a straight seam. I heard Mary Ellen Hopkins say that the most important stitches when you piece are the first 3 stitches and the last 3 because these are the ones that allow you to match up the seams.

Also, I would suggest new quilters learn the joy of starching since the stiff fabric is easier to sew accurately.
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Old 01-29-2017, 12:35 AM
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I have been quilting for over 20 yrs and was taught to stack masking tape several layers thick, be sure that the edges are straight, find the 1/4 inch and place the tape. 20 yrs later I still use that method..even if I have a quarter inch foot.

This is the method that worked best when I gave summer camp sewing lessons. Each student had a different machine so just adding tape worked just fine. These were children 8 - 12 yrs old. It was lots of fun we tied the comforters and I bound them on the machine.[ATTACH=CONFIG]567005[/ATTACH]
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