We’re going to cover some basic tips that are great both for quilters who are just starting out, and the more seasoned quilters who are looking to really hone in on their skills. This week we’ll be talking about how to get a perfect quarter inch seam.
Your 1/4” seam is the key to perfect corners in your piecing. There are a few ways it can go wrong; maybe your pieces weren’t cut quite right, or you didn’t press your seams well, or maybe you’re working on multiple machines, each with a slightly different 1/4” foot.
Let's talk about ¼" feet first. These feet come two ways - with or without a guide. The guide allows you to run the edge of the fabric along the edge of the guide. This is great when you are sewing along an edge of your fabric. It doesn't work when you are binding, on curves, or other places where you sew across fabric. As you can tell, we're not fans of the foot with a blade. You also don't learn to pay attention to the ¼" lines on your machine or feet. And you can't do a scant ¼" seam allowance. A scant ¼" is just that - a scant or one or two threads narrower than a ¼" seam. The pattern instructions will let you know if you should sew a ¼" or a scant ¼". What ever you choose, sew all your seams the same size throughout sewing the project. On many newer machines and extension tables, there are lines on the sewing surface and/or throat plate showing you a ¼". These work well and often give you a longer line to follow for a guide.
We sell the tools to make sure you’re working with a consistent 1/4”. We have a Perfect Piecing Seam Guide that slides under the machine’s presser foot with a hole for the needle. Once it’s set in place, this ruler lines up along the 1/4”. From there, we recommend using Qtools Sewing Edge, which comes as a set of reusable strips. You can line it up against the guide and leave it on your machine so that you have a larger reference point for placing your fabric as you sew. Alternatively, you can use tape, which we sell in the store as well.
Having this line to follow as you guide your fabric through the machine can help a lot more than the small guide that comes on your 1/4” foot. Most machines come with the ¼" foot with the guide. It is worth your while to get one without the guide. Go to the dealer for your machine type or check at All Brands Sewing Center.
You can practice with scraps to make sure you’re getting a full 1/4” seam. If you’re just starting out, try sewing on an index card — the lines are spaced a quarter inch apart, so it makes for great practice with getting a solid seam.
If you want to try the Perfect Piecing Seam Guide for yourself, head on over to the shop, and we’d be more than happy to give you a walkthrough on how to use it. We hope to see you soon!
Happy sewing everyone,
Benny and the QA staff