Did you know that if you take two regular hexagonal pencils, rubber band them together, and then draw two lines with them, the distance between the lines will be exactly 1/4 inch? Consequently, if you want to mark your fabric so that you can cut it and sew it later, you can easily do so in a single step by using these magic pencils.
Quilters have come to the conclusion that a 1/4″ seam allowance is the ideal size over the course of their craft. It is the perfect amount to hold the pieces together without adding any unnecessary bulk to the finished top.
To make square blocks that are all the same size, sewing accurate seam allowances of 1/4 inch each and every time will go a long way toward achieving this goal. In the long run, the time and effort you invest in marking your machine or checking the measurement of your presser foot could end up saving you not only time but also frustration and material.
|Cut two small scraps of fabric that are 1 inch wide by 4 inches in length. Next, sew the 4 inch sides together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, as measured by the presser foot or the throat plate on your machine. This will allow you to test your machine’s measurements for a 1/4 inch seam allowance.|
|Take the finished strips out of your sewing machine, press open the seam, and fold the entire seam allowance to one side (toward the dark fabric). Take a measurement along the strip, starting from the raw edge and ending at the seam allowance. If the measurement you get is 3/4 inches, then the presser foot or machine you’re using is marked for an accurate seam allowance of 1/4 inches. In the event that this is not the case, continue reading, and you will be led through the steps necessary to obtain an accurate 1/4 inch measurement.|
|There are a variety of quilt shops that sell a specialized presser foot that is designed to measure a seam allowance of 1/4 inch. Make sure that the raw edges of the fabric are aligned with the side of the presser foot as you sew. Even though you should end up with an accurate seam as a result of this, you should still check it out.|
|There are a few distinct models available for purchase, each of which is designed to be compatible with the majority of machines. There are variations in terms of style, and there are also variations in terms of the length of the shank. It just so happens that mine has a low or short shank. Make sure your machine is in working order before you go out and buy another. Alternately, you could remove the complete presser foot from your machine and bring it with you to the store in its entirety. If you choose to proceed in this manner, make sure that you first unscrew the entire component from your machine. If you only use the presser foot labeled “quick release,” you won’t be able to get an accurate picture of what you require.|
|In order to achieve a seam allowance of 1/4 in. on my machine, I switch to the “Little Foot” setting and line up the edge of the fabric with the edge of the presser foot.|
In the absence of the Little Foot
There is no compelling reason for you to purchase this attachment. Before I had the Little Foot, I used to take a measurement of one quarter of an inch out to the right from the needle on my machine, and then I would place a strip of masking tape or moleskin on the plate of the machine.
You will need to make a measurement of 1/4 inch on a small piece of paper that is approximately 2 inches by 4 inches in order to get an accurate placement for the tape.
Graph paper with a grid measuring 1/4 inch is the easiest to use. In that case, you can take a regular sheet of paper and make your own grid if you want to.
Utilizing a card with lines is yet another approach you could take. The blue lines are separated by a quarter of an inch.
|As soon as you have the paper in your possession, place the needle you will be using in one of the points where the grid intersects, as depicted by the red circle in the picture to the left. A piece of masking tape is adhered to the right side of the paper. This is done to ensure that the paper is aligned properly with the sewing machine.|
|Keep the masking tape in place, take off the paper, and perform the same measurement check that you did before sewing a seam in the fabric strips.|
The masking tape will act as a guide for the fabric, allowing for an accurate seam allowance of 1/4 inch to be achieved.
As an alternative to using masking tape, you could use moleskin. The thickness of the moleskin makes it suitable for use as a “wall” against which the fabric strip can be butted. This is one of the features of the moleskin.
If the moleskin is still present, it may be difficult to sew a seam that is wider than 1/4 inch, but the moleskin can be easily removed and replaced. Did you know that if you take two regular hexagonal pencils, rubber band them together, and then draw two lines with them, the distance between the lines will be exactly 1/4 inch? Consequently, if you want to mark your fabric so that you can cut it and sew it later, you can easily do so in a single step by using these magic pencils.
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