Monday, October 17, 2011

Scant 1/4 inch or 1/4 inch seams

I have read on some of the quilting forums and other sites about this question of 1/4 inch. Should we use scant or a full quarter inch. Well here is the problem I have. This is the 1/4 inch foot I have for my machine. It measures a full 1/4 inch from the center of the hole to the edge of the foot. So that means unless your are a perfectionist and you have perfect stitching skills your 1/4 inch foot is just a tool to maybe sew straight.

This isn't the clearest of pictures, but the lighter thread is 1/4 inch from the edge of what I saw as the line of stitching. The blue line is 1/4 inch more after the silver thread. With the two lines of stitching I am getting a full 1/2 inch of seam allowance. If and only "IF" I sew straight.

The way to measure is to take your foot off the shank and measure from the center of the hole in your throat plate out 1/4 inch. Not all machines stitch the same and have an accurate marking for their 1/4 inch throat plate markings. Check yours. Make sure the needle is in the center needle position also.

Place your 1/4 inch pressure foot on the shank and remeasure to see if the 1/4 inch is really taken with this foot.

My machine takes a full 1/4 inch seam not a scant 1/4 inch. Some machine companies say they are a scant 1/4 inch foot. Check. Also the debate over the thread thickness is on going. If the machine markings and your foot are not accurate the thickness of the thread isn't going to matter. I have an older Pfaff and the 1/4 inch mark is off and the seam is larger than the markings. Many of the machines have parts made over seas in place we don't know about and they are all metric and the conversions are not accurate. To be sure check and recheck your machines and your feet because the proof is in the pudding. Chris


Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

Good advice.

terry said...

I sew on a Bernina that came equipped with a 1/4 inch foot. I always use this foot when piecing, however I move my needle over 1 notch and this produces a "scant" 1/4 inch seam. Don't know if this will work for you or other quilters, but since doing this, I've achived much more accuracy.


Valerie said...

I pretty much use my 1/4" foot all the time except when using my featherweight, and with that machine I use my 1/4" guide. I DO sew with a scant 1/4" pretty much all the time, but I have measured with about six different rulers (all rulers are NOT created equal either I might add, it's good to experiment with different brands) before I figured out that I need to sew just a hair shy of the actual edge of my foot to get a scant seam. After a LOT of sewing in this matter it has become second nature...but you know what? I haven't found a quilt yet that it's made a HUGE amount of difference on, and the ones that are so intricate that it matters I usually end up paper piecing. LOL*