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Topic: When is a 1/4 inch not a 1/4 inch?  (Read 1007 times)
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Giff
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« on: June 27, 2007 01:05:46 AM »

When it's sewn with my wretched 1/4 inch foot! When I got my machine, there was a special offer of 2 extra feet, so I chose a walking foot (natch!) and a 1/4 inch foot.

Only thing is that the seam it sews is actually more like 5/8 inch. Grrrrr! This has meant that my log-cabin-ish blocks with a strip-pieced panel are all coming out wonky! (I will take some photos and put them up later)

I have removed the offending foot, and replaced it with a strip of masking tape to act as a guid to the perfect 1/4 inch seam.
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2007 07:37:55 AM »

My 1/4-inch foot also doesn't give an accurate 1/4-inch seam.  It took quite a bit of frustration to figure out I have to adjust my needle two spaces to the right, and then my blocks are perfect.  The problem is REMEMBERING to move the needle before I start a block, and then remembering to move it back if I need to sew a block with the standard foot (i.e. the corners of a snowball block or 1/2-square triangles).

I have a high-end Kenmore.  I'll bet the even higher-end machines don't have this problem.
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ZumaGirl74
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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2007 11:43:26 AM »

Oh lord... I'll never be that precise.  My seams are somewhere between 1/4 & 1/2 and that's good enough for me.  I won't be making a quilt that requires greater precision any time soon.
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Patrick_Craftrick
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2007 03:12:49 PM »

I am not really sure how wide my foot is on my sewing machine.  I just use the same foot for piecing things together. 

All I do is follow the edge.  It has worked well enough for me so far, about ten quilts.  I don't use patterns though.

For a while I did think about buying one of those magnetic guides that sticks to the plate, but I decided to buy a rotary cutter instead and end up with straight pieces of fabric.  Makes the sewing easier.
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LibbyK
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2007 07:46:40 AM »

Yeah the low-end Singer that got me through college was similar - you had to move the needle to the right to get the seam correct, and it did take a while to figure out!!  Now I sew on my mum's featherweight - pretty low tech!  So we've just got the masking tape thing going on, but it works.  You can't do anything but a straight stitch on the featherweight, but I'm starting to love it!  It's so unfussy and never gives me problems...
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2007 01:01:35 PM »

As long as you use the same foot throughout a quilt you shouldn't have a problem getting corners to match up. When I piece things together I always move my needle all the way over to the right and sew with the fabric lined up with the edge of the foot.  As long as I don't start to day dream while I'm sewing things come out ok.  Now, I don't know if that is 1/4 of an inch, it could be 3/8. 0r 3/16.  I just go with it and don't worry too much about how big the quilted piece might differ from the directions.  I'm just not fussy that way.
As long as you use the same foot consistently in the same way then you won't have a problem getting things to line up  Just don't switch feet mid- quilt. The other thing, many of these machines are made in europe (i know my vikking is) and everything is metric there.  So while the measurments may be close, they wont be exact.
Shawna
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Giff
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2007 04:50:19 PM »

My machine (and the foot in question) is a Janome. And while, in theory, it shouldn't matter so long as I use the same foot, on the blocks I am working on at the moment, it seems, it does matter. Not so much that I need to pull it apart and start again, but it isn't as precise as I'd like. Undecided
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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2007 06:43:28 PM »

My machine (and the foot in question) is a Janome.

My machine (and foot) is the Janome-made Kenmore, and not having the exact 1/4" seam really gave me fits.  Now that I know about adjusting my needle, I'm MUCH happier because my blocks are precise.
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LibbyK
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« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2007 08:03:16 PM »

Yeah I think for beginners following a pattern having an accurate 1/4" seam is really important or the process will be unduly frustrating - things just won't be the size that the pattern says they should be, etc.  Once you are comfortable enough with the process, or if you are not following a pattern, you can fudge things a bit, as long as you are happy with the results, and don't mind things come out odd sizes.  I once heard Jane Sassaman speak and she sewed her first quilts with 5/8" seam allowance because her background was in garment sewing.  But of course she was following a pattern, either.  When you are free wheeling, pretty much anything goes.
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Giff
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« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2007 05:32:53 PM »

Finally got some pictures!



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