"A very Merry Unbirthday to you, to you. A very Merry Unbirthday to you." from Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland"

Friday, June 3, 2011

Still on the Learning Curve

Joan Ford's book, Cut the Scraps, has an interesting beginning section where she discusses the importance of using a scant 1/4" seam.  She is the second source I've read this week (also CLK Quilts blog  http://clkquilt.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/do-your-blocks-end-up-too-small/ ) that covers the "scant" 1/4" seam and shows the difference it makes.  I thought 1/4" seams were the goal, but the scant 1/4" seam takes into consideration the thread and pressing space, if I understand it correctly.  Joan shows an experiment in her book, and I decided to try it for myself.  I used my Accuquilt Go! value die to cut 2.5" squares accurately, then sewed two squares together using the 1/4" seam marker on my machine and the normal presser foot and another two using the 1/4" presser foot attached.  Then I pressed them according to her directions (first press the seam, then take one square over and press from the other square using the side of your iron, then carefully press down the fabric.  These are my results:

There is exactly 1/8" difference because the scant 1/4" seam is 1/16" inch less.  So now I know that my 1/4" presser foot gives me a scant 1/4" seam, something I didn't know before.  It also explains why when I'm too lazy to change presser feet I may have problems, or if I'm following a pattern that doesn't use the scant seam allowance. 

I suppose you all know this already and are saying" Boy, Joanna, where have you been?"  Well, I don't usually care unless I run into difficulty and I recently did with some blocks.  Then I was the "Why" kid.    I knew I was supposed to use the 1/4" seam, but now I know why and that I should really use the scant 1/4" seam.  Makes a difference.


I finished the lapghan to donate.  I downloaded the directions to make this from someone's blog, but her blog address isn't listed on them, so I can't give her credit.  However, if I do come across her blog I will credit her with the design. 


Janet Wickell did not forget us.  She has given us a new block for the scrap happy scrap quilt along, so that is back in production.  I made a list of the "in progress" projects I have and came up with seven, not counting my " want to make" projects or gifts I have in mind to put together, or crochet/cross stitch projects. 

I cannot post a comment on blogs that have an embedded comment section because Blogger hasn't fixed that issue yet.  It's Daffycat showed how to change your comment section to the pop up window type , and it is the workaround for those of us who have been left out in the cold by Blogger/Google.  Here's the link to her post if you are interested. http://itsdaffycat.blogspot.com/2011/05/blogger-problems.html  I understand if you don't want to alter your blog.  I will be resorting to emails until Blogger gets this resolved.

I've been very gabby today.  Hope you are all well.  Thinking of all of you.
God Bless You.

6 comments:

Stray Stitches said...

Thanks for the info. I will have to give that a test. It can be very frustrating trying to figure out if you should be using a full 1/4" seam or a scant 1/4". I have had troubles, too, with some blocks not measuring up. Your lapghan is very pretty - love the colors!!

Hazel said...

What an useful post, Joanna!

I have to worry away at things until I 'get' them too!

With regard to accurate seams, I don't have a 1/4" quilting foot, but use the standard foot (and a taped guide on the plate) so the theory is I always come to the same allowance, be it 1/4" or scant 1/4". However I think that my mark is to 1/4", as all of my Scatty Christmas Stars blocks are a shade under the 9" that they should be. Of course, I can't gravitate towards scant 1/4" seams (that would make my blocks the size they should be) on this quilt now or my blocks won't match up when it comes to assembling the whole...

Food for thought indeed!

The rose fabric on the lapghan is very sweet! I see that you've used the 'leaf' templates to quilt - lovely! When I first looked at the quilting, I thought that I would have been tempted to show these off these with a stronger coloured thread - but now that I've come back to the images again, I've realisd that you were right - more promenant quilting would have made the whole a bit 'busy'.

You are very kind to make quilts to donate - I'm sure that it will warm the heart of the recipient too!

Oh - have adjusted blogger settings as you suggest.

Hazel said...

PS - sorry - seem to have written a bit of an essay above!

QuiltSue said...

What an interesting post Joanna, thank you. I had never tried it to see how much difference the word "scant" makes, and have always sewn to that it seems by just keeping my fabrics inside the edge of the foot. I guess that as long as you use the same allowance for all the blocks in a quilt it shouldn't matter, should it?

Daffycat said...

Thanks for the linky, Joanna!

Clothed in Scarlet said...

Hi Joanna, I clicked over from your comment posted on Michele's quilting qallery blog. I am always having trouble with blocks ending up smaller that what they should. So I thank you for the info ;o)Sarah