Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Elusive Quarter Inch Seam - Part 2

Last week, I challenged myself to perfect the quarter inch seam.  Well, I wasn't successful.  So, I spent some time this week scouring the internet for guidance.  

I found a couple helpful YouTube videos...check them out!

I searched for just about every aspect of the pieced quilt block/...from thread selection to machine set up to cutting and sewing.  Here I will share what I learned...ready?!

Use 50 wt. thread for piecing.  I have been using an Aurifil thread for more than a year now.  Same kind for everything I piece...I have gone through 3 or so of the big spools.  And since it has been a while since I looked closely at my thread,  I had to check to see if it was 50 wt.  I was pleased to discover that it was.  Apparently using a different size thread can actually have an effect on the final results.  

Next you want to set your machine to sew a scant quarter inch.  I put a 6" square ruler under your presser foot and lowered the needle. Be sure that the ruler covers all of the feed dogs.  This will allow the feed dogs to pull the fabric through better than if the fabric isn't in full contact with the feed dogs.  Then I moved my needle to the right so that the needle is just to the right of the quarter inch on a ruler. 

I then created a fabric guide along side of the ruler. I used a double layer of masking tape because that's what I had on hand.  You can use painters tape or buy items specifically designed for quilting.  I used two layers so that there was a bit of thickness to butt my fabric up against.  If you have a quarter inch foot with the don't need this step.  

Now for the test.  I cut three pieces of fabric...3.5 inches by 1.5 inches.  I starched each piece just a bit so that it wouldn't stretch as I sewed them.  

Cut just a smidgen (yes, that is a term of measurement) more than is necessary...basically the width of one thread.    

Sew the three pieces into a block and measure.  The results should be a 3.5 inch square.

The result is an almost perfect square!

Repeat eight more times and the sew into a nine patch.

The result should be a 9.5 inch square block.

See...almost perfect!

Wow!  That feeling of "I did it!" is pretty great!  I still have some work to do but I feel excited that I was able to get so close.

Go ahead and give it a try...and then let me know what you and tricks you have.  I would love to hear them!

The Studio Stitch BOM meeting for January was postponed to this week because of weather...and the weather forecast for North Carolina is a slushy mix of snow and rain tomorrow with snow on Wednesday so the possibility exists that it will be postponed again.  If it isn't, then I will be working on those blocks next weekend...with my new found precision!

Happy Valentine's Day!  Hope you find some quilty love this week!

Until then...

~~Quilt Much!  

1 comment: