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A Testimonial about the 1/4" Seam Allowance

by Rick
(Pensacola, FL)

I am working on a patchwork quilt that I designed on EQ7. I also recently just got a new non-mechanical sewing machine--that was a HUGE adjustment for me.

Prior to my new machine, it was next to impossible for me to sew a true 1/4" seam allowance even with a presser foot designed for a true seam allowance. So, I mostly limited myself to just sewing what I could sew with foundation piecing. But I was really missing out on all those patchwork classics that sometimes cannot be done with a paper foundation feasibly.

Those classics are now open to me because I have a machine that sews a true 1/4" seam--for one, the needle is set true to center and I can make fine adjustments to sew a scant 1/4" and two, I have the presser foot with the built in edge guide.

This presser foot did not come with my new machine, however.

The patchwork foot that came with my new machine will sew a true 1/4"--BUT ONLY if I align the seams correctly EVERY time into the foot. I just got done sewing 13 six inch pinwheel centers and everyone one of them was a little off but some were really off--even with seams correctly aligned.

When I went to sew on the outside patches, nothing was fitting and my frustration was through the roof.

So, I switched out the presser foot to the one with guide rail and re-seamed all 13 pinwheeels. And like magic, everything is matching up nicely. Maybe not perfectly--I am always within a 1/16 of an inch--but it's a far cry from being a 1/4" short on a seam or having my points all clipped by the seam allowance.

Also, use a stiletto of some fashion. I never used to use one until recently and its a great aid in precision.

My point is this--don't give up. If you love the art of quilting, push through and try everything and keep working at it until you have that breakthrough.

It will be worth it if you keep at it.

I have renewed my passion for quilting because I can now sew things like the Bear's Claw--which would have been a nightmare to sew on a paper foundation.

Paper piecing is the most precise method for many things, but at some time, you still have to match seams and all that paper just adds more bulk.

Happy Sewing!

Comments for A Testimonial about the 1/4" Seam Allowance

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precuts are not uniform
by: Anonymous

Using precuts that have the pinked edge, I can maintain my scan quarter of an inch seam allowance if I sew below the points..the true width is not at the points, but in the valleys.

quarter inch seams
by: Anonymous

If I use a quarter inch seam but not a scant quarter inch, individual pieces will all be the same size, right? They may not add up to the dimensions given in the pattern, but they will form the planned on block. Is this correct?

scant quarter inch
by: Christine Gleason

Just thinking, instead of adjusting the stitch why not just measure your fabric a scant bit wider, then the quarter inch foot would give you the scant quarter inch.

From the Editor: What works for you is ALWAYS THE BEST WAY to do things, so if it does the job you need, then excellent!

For my own piecing, I like the exactness of rotary cutting. Scooching the fabric over a wee bit would mess with my, admittedly, anal brain. I would have a hard time keeping that 'scooch' even from patch to patch and cutting session to cutting session.

So, my personal preference is to move the needle.

There's always more than one way to get things done in quilting, isn't there?!! Thankfully! :)


Julie Baird

by: Anonymous

I am wondering if I get the 1/4" foot with a guide, what good is it if I want to do the scant 1/4" seam & have a machine that doesn't have a moveable needle?

From the Editor: If you don't have a movable needle, I suggest taking your machine with you to the sewing machine store and trying it with the foot on and the settings that you have.

Yes, it's a pain to lug a machine in...those suckers are HEAVY.

However, if it works, you know it. If it doesn't, you're not stuck making a second trip to return it.

I do know that for both my Juki and my Viking, using the foot with the guide (my favorite as you know) I definitely move the needle to get my 'perfect' stitch.

I wish I had a more satisfactory answer for you.


Julie Baird

scant quarter inch
by: Chris G

I bought the 1/4" foot for both my machines, Kenmore and Viking. I could never get a precise scant 1/4" with them. Now I send my needle to the far right and get a perfect scant quarter inch seam allowance.

I recommend it.

From the Editor: I'm so glad you persevered, Chris! Having a reliable quarter inch seam makes all the difference in the 'enjoyment-factor' of quilting.

Thanks for sharing.


Julie Baird

by: Julie

Rick, you made so many good points! I, too, love the 1/4" foot with the guide on the righthand side. It's my go to foot for almost everything.

And like you, I do a lot of paper piecing—especially for those times when I want to sew, but really my eyes are too tired to stitch a straight line.

Thank you for sharing! I'm glad you've renewed your love of quilting!


Julie Baird

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