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Scant 1/4" seam allowance

Scant 1/4" seam allowance

Old 03-21-2022, 12:56 PM
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Question Scant 1/4" seam allowance

I've been working on a quilt that needs to have a scant 1/4" seam allowance. The thought that goes through my mind is that I wonder how well the seams are going to stay closed, through the washings. My scant 1/4" seam is right in the middle between 1/8" and 1/4".

In pretty much all my previous quilts, I have used a full 1/4" seam. So, I guess this is why it is worrying me a bit.

Does anyone have problems/issues with seams fraying open when doing the scant 1/4" with quilting cotton, after multiple washings? And, what is actually the measurement of a 'scant 1/4" seam allowance?
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Old 03-21-2022, 01:09 PM
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I have made several quilts that require a scant 1/4 inch seam and they have held up with no issues. My understanding of a scant 1/4 inch is 1 or 2 thread widths smaller. Thread weight as well as the ability to move the needle over also helps in achieving this goal.
I am sure others with far more experience will chime in with their expertise.
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Old 03-21-2022, 01:51 PM
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There is no actual measurement for a "scant 1/4 seam". What really matters is the final finished measurement of the block after it is sewn. For example, most of us cut a 2.5-inch square if we want the final finished measurement to be 2 inches square, now if you are using a heavy canvas material, you might find you need to make a skinnier seam as the fold made while pressing will take up more of the fabric than using a sheer material where you might need to take closer to an actual 1/4 inch seam. The thickness of the thread you use, also effects that actual seam amount you need to take. Best way is to stitch some practice pieces of very similar material and thread and then measure them. There are video's how to do this. For raveling, I haven't had much problem with even a scant seam as I use the more tightly woven quilt shop quality cotton, reduce my stitch length to 2.0 or lower on my Bernina. and make sure I edge stitch around big blocks or the entire quilt to make sure the ends of the seams do not come apart. If you have a very loosely woven fabric, you may need to take a bigger seam or edge finish the seam allowance. This would be tedious on a large quilt and you would have to recalculate all the pieces you need to cut to adjust to the larger seam allowance. Normally, as I am using quality quilting fabric, I have no problems with seams raveling even if I get down to an eight of an inch. I do my own quilting and will do a dense quilting design if there are many, many small pieces and lot of seams. They have held up during machine washing and machine drying.
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Old 03-21-2022, 02:54 PM
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I don’t like using a scant 1/4. If a pattern calls for it I either don’t use the pattern or just sew it with 1/4 instead.
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Old 03-21-2022, 03:30 PM
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I decided to sew with a scant 1/4" on my current project and I've about had it. Seams are coming out much more wonky than when I use a full 1/4". I don't think I'll do this again. My understanding is that we are supposed to use the scant 1/4 most all of the time. If so, why can't they make a scant 1/4" foot? I have enough trouble sewing a nice, straight, perfect, even 1/4" but when I have to sew it short by 1 or 2 threads it a little too messy for me.
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Old 03-21-2022, 03:31 PM
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Old 03-21-2022, 04:32 PM
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I just measured some of my seams and it is looking like most if not all are 1/8" seam allowance. If you were me, would you redo the seams?
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Old 03-21-2022, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by berrynice View Post
I just measured some of my seams and it is looking like most if not all are 1/8" seam allowance. If you were me, would you redo the seams?

Yes, I would.

I don’t want to do all that work to make a quilt and then have it come apart. I have lost a few threads due to fabrics fraying along the way. There wouldn’t be a seam left at that point.

What type of units are you making for the blocks? Can you over-size them and trim down?
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Old 03-21-2022, 05:01 PM
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I'm using jelly roll and then cutting them with the strip tube ruler. Two jelly rolls sewn together, then cut. I think I will redo them. Especially since the edges are pinked/zigzagged edges on the jelly rolls.
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Old 03-21-2022, 08:35 PM
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Thanks JaneW , i have the Janome M7 and the link helped me understand!
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