I mentioned in a recent post that 2017 was the year I became a quilter. I’ve been sewing for almost ten years, but the puzzle finally fit together last year. Many of my quilting problems were solved. Quilting became much more enjoyable. My projects went together faster. The patterns I purchased worked like they were intended to work. My corners matched up (for the most part.)
You may chuckle, but I really wish I had understood one simple quilting skill that has taken me ten years to figure out.
What is that skill, you may ask?
I MUST PERFECT MY QUARTER OF AN INCH SEAM ALLOWANCE.
So how do I perfect my quarter of an inch seam allowance?
I was under the presumption that the side of my standard presser foot was a quarter of an inch from the needle in my sewing machine. This is not the case.
I didn’t realize the distance from the side of my presser foot to the needle was larger than a quarter of an inch. I discovered this around the time I perfected my half square triangle.
(This pillow is listed in my Shop.)
That was around the time I decided to basically start over on learning to quilt. I had challenged myself not to give up quite yet but to figure out what was going wrong. I had never measured my seam allowance. I never double checked it after sewing a seam to see if I had an exact quarter of an inch. Almost all quilt patterns are created to be sewn with a standard quarter of an inch seam allowance.
If your quilts are not going together well, can I encourage you to sew three 1 1/2 inch strips of fabric together? After you’ve sewn them together, the middle strip should be a perfect one inch strip.
Back to the title of my post. What is the number one quilting product I recommend? What small little tool has made quilting so much more enjoyable?
A quarter inch presser foot has changed everything for me. This little presser foot has a small guide on the right side.
Last year I started sewing a Takes the Cake Quilt for my sister for Christmas. I was somewhat apprehensive. Usually I start a quilt with excitement. I love combining fabrics. It’s my favorite part of the quilting process. I tend to do a bit of cutting first…at least enough for the first few blocks. (I don’t usually cut everything prior to sewing.) I piece two or three blocks and lay them together on the floor. It should be exciting to lay these blocks next to each to see the quilt begin to take shape. Instead of getting the initial picture of the quilt, I was usually reminded that my seams were never consistent from block to block.
I was always so discouraged but pressed forward with a pucker here or a gather there to match my seams as best as I could. I always finish the quilts I start, but unless they were simple patchwork squares, I usually finished the quilt with a bit of discouragement.
I could sew beautiful quilts to my heart’s content…as long as they were made from squares…of all equal sizes. For the first time in ten years, I can sew patterns because of my simple quarter of an inch foot.
A whole new world of quilting just opened up for me. 🙂
For those of you with so much MORE experience, how do you perfect your seam allowance? Do you use a quarter of an inch foot? Has it just taken LOTS of practice? Do you use tape to mark your sewing machine?