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Following accurate rotary cutting, the accuracy of your 1/4" seam is the next step in accomplishing proper sized blocks. If your seams are not accurate, your block will not turn out to be the proper size. A seam greater than 1/4", will result in an undersized block and a seam that is smaller than 1/4", will result in an oversized block.
Some patterns call for a scant 1/4" seam. This means the seam will be just slightly smaller than 1/4", by the width of a pencil line, or line of stitching.
There are various ways of guiding your work while sewing seams. Some like to use a mark on the bed of the sewing machine as a guide. On my machine, there are markings and measurements on both the bobbin cover and the faceplate.
Some like to use a piece of tape as a guide.
Some like to use a stack of sticky notes as a guide.
And some like to use the edge of the presser foot. I like to use my 1/4" presser foot with guide.
This special presser foot has a thin piece of metal riveted to the edge of the presser foot. The fabric sits against this metal strip, guiding it straight as you sew your seam.
Whatever method you choose, it is wise to test the accuracy of your 1/4" seam. To test your accuracy, cut three lengths of 2" wide strips. Sew them together along the length of the strips and press the seams. Then measure your center strip. It should be 1.5" wide.
If the center strip is smaller than 1.5", your seams are too big. My center strip was slightly small, so my seams were just a bit too big. If your seams are inaccurate, make adjustments to correct this problem and retest your seams again.
If possible, adjust your needle position. My machine displays 4.5 when my needle is in the center position.
The automatic needle position for a 1/4" seam sets the needle to 8.3
I can increase this number up to 9.0, my needle is placed closer to the guide on my 1/4" presser foot, and this will result in a smaller seam width.
After adjusting my needle to 9.0 my seams turned out to be spot on!
Have you ever wondered how much difference an inaccurate seam can make? I made the exact same quilt twice - one using automatic needle position for a 1/4" seam setting the needle to 8.3 and one with the needle set at a self adjusted 9.0 position. YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE THE DIFFERENCE! Click here to see those quilts and what a difference that self setting made.
Are you intimated by the 1/4" seam? How do you overcome the fear and conquer that seam?
If you have any other tips or advice to share, please leave a comment!
And remember to.....
Keep On Quilting On!