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Seam allowance for quilting

What is the seam allowance when sewing strips together?


The standard seam allowance in most quilting instructions is 1/4".

If you are piecing patches together (or strips in your case) you'll sometimes see it as a 'scant quarter inch seam'. The 'scant' part means a thread or two short of 1/4" so that when the seam is pressed open, the 'turn of the cloth' in the seam allowance doesn't make the pieced patch smaller than it should be.

You can do a quick sewing test as described here to make sure that you've got your sewing machine set for a good quarter inch seam. It's not hard and only takes a couple of minutes.

For applique, the 1/4" seam is usually a 'suggested' seam allowance--some appliquers like a narrower one to turn under.

The only time I deviate from 1/4" seams is when I'm joining lengths of fabric for my quilt's backing...then I use a 1/2" seam for strength.

So since you are strip piecing, yes, your seam allowance should be 1/4" unless the pattern you are using indicates something else.

Thank you for your question.


Julie Baird

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