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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Scant Quarter Inch Tutorial + New Sew Along

Once upon a time, years ago, I made my hub this scrap quilt from a book called Quilts for Men, which I ended up naming Triangle Massacre because none and I mean NONE of the points worked out. Not that they just didn't match. More like they didn't exist at all. They were all chopped off in the seams. 

Along with that, none of the blocks were the right size. ??? They were a good 1/4" to 1/2" too small. I was baffled. I had taken great care to measure all of the triangle units and cut correctly. I was confused. Disappointed. I felt like a failure. I had tried to do EVERYTHING right. But nothing added up. It drove me crazy b/c I couldn't figure out why?

Finally, one day I randomly googled scant vs. regular quarter inch seam. A-HA! That was the missing link! I had thought the word scant in all of the instructions I'd seen just meant to be precise. Make sure that seam is 1/4" and no wider. Like this:

Nope. No no no. That's a regular 1/4" seam. 

SCANT 1/4" seam actually means a teeny bit LESS THAN 1/4". Like this:

Notice that the thread is just inside the 1/4" mark. Tucked right up next to the line. 

It made ALL the difference!!

Things suddenly turned out the right size (mostly). And (occasionally) I actually make perfect points now! Emphasis on the occasionally. haha I'm still perfect-point challenged, but it's no longer the seam allowance to blame. ;)

Fast forward to the Minecraft Sew-Along last year, and I got (and still get) the occasional email asking what a 'scant' 1/4" seam is, or asking why the blocks were/are turning out too small. So this has been on my to-do list for months; to write a post about the scant 1/4" and link it to the sew-along page.

So here we go: There are all kinds of tutorials out there that you can google, and different ways to go about achieving the perfectly scant 1/4" seam but I'm going to share my favorite way, the way that's easiest and works best for me.

Some people use tape or lasers as guides, but I like to use the edge of my presser foot as a fabric guide.

So what I do to get my scant 1/4" seam is this. I move my needle position to the right, sewing a short seam and measuring, until I have a scant 1/4" seam like in the pic above. Which on my machine means moving the needle to the 3.3 position. This takes a little bit of trial and error and a scrap of fabric but once you figure out your needle setting, then it's quick. Each time I sit down to sew, I just move my needle to the right until it is on the 3.3 setting. That gives me my scant 1/4" seam. Then I can sew along using the edge of my presser foot as the fabric guide. But whatever guide you like to use, you can adjust accordingly. 

That's it. That tiny bit of difference can wreak havoc on a quilt block that has lots of pieces. 

Reason being is that when you fold open the seam, whether pressing to one side or pressing open, the fabric has to lay over the thread which doesn't seem like a lot of thickness, but if your block has lots of pieces, those little slivers add up and it can make enough difference to throw your block size off by 1/4" or 1/2"! Not to mention what it does to the points.

Who knew?! Not me for a long time. I learned the hard way! How did we ever live before google? :)

But whichever way you choose, this will make a world of difference! I wish I had figured it out before I massacred all of those triangles on my hub's quilt all those years ago.  

Live and Learn! 

One more thing! Did I mention the Minecraft Sew-Along earlier? Well, stay tuned for this! Pokemon games are the rage in our house right now so Mr. 10 yr old has been helping me with blocks and is really excited about this. Coming soon! With some extra character options, too (like a really cute JigglyPuff -- I don't know what it does but it's cute!). :D

Thanks for popping in! Hope you're having a great week.

Happy Stitching!xoxo
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