things are really busy over here! After a great weekend it is time to get to work again - preparing for Quilter's Bloghop Party, teaching the machine applique class tonight, sewing other things...Tuesday's tutorial almost ran into Wednesday, ha ha!
But even though it is "right under the buzzer", lets conquer those accurate, and CONSISTENT 1/4" seams!
If you have been quilting for a while, you probably have your favorite way to do it - 1/4" foot? a line on your sewing machine to follow? When I started, I did buy one of those generic 1/4" foot, used it but found it not as easy always and a bit tiring...(constantly watching that fabric and edge of the foot) - all until I took one of my first classes with a national teacher, in Vermont Quilt Festival. It was Sharyn Craig and class was called Northwinds - great block, must show you sometimes!
But the main lesson for me, a fair beginner at the time, was her way of achieving a good, consistent 1/4" seam allowance - and in an easy way! This is what she used:
Yes - you saw it right, MOLESKIN! The one "normal" people (he he) use for their feet! :) Actually it is Dr. Scholl's MoleFOAM - Padding - very important distinction from Mole SKIN, which is much thinner. For this you need one that is thicker - here is how it looks:
Using rotary cutter to cut it gives a good, clean straight edge and that is important.
Once you have your strip - it is time to "install" it to the sewing machine - it has a sticky back, so it adheres nicely but it does not leave any residue or damage on the machine, so don't worry about that.
The goal here is to put this "guide" exactly 1/4" from your needle, or if aiming for a SCANT 1/4", you can do that too! Here is how:
1. Take one of your quilting rulers and find a FIRST 1/4" line from the RIGHT edge of the ruler: (pointed to in the photo)
4. Take one of the cut strips of Molefoam and peel-off the paper on the back to expose the sticky back:
7. When sewing, simply slide your fabric pieces right along that guide, making sure you are not pushing fabric over it or pulling it away from it - just slide it right along the guide!
I really like using this kind of 1/4" guide, specially when doing strip-piecing and joining those 40" ;long strips. This gives me an easy to use guide, seam is nice and consistent and I don't have to strain my eyes constantly watching the edge of the 1/4" foot and fabric (as you have to do when using the 1/4" foot).
Also, this system allows me to do the SCANT 1/4' seam if I want to. This SCANT 1/4" stuff is sometimes confusing, specially for beginners. Why does one want to use it anyway? When making a block with many seams, the thickness of the thread will "eat-away" some of the block size, so using the scant 1/4" seam will accommodate that and ensure your block comes exactly the size it should be. If your block has only few seams (like 4-patch or Rail-fence), this is not a big issue and may not be needed.
Now, after showing you all this, I have to say that as this new 1/4" foot came out - I had to try that too! It is a 1/4" foot with A GUIDE:
Let me know if you try it and how you like it and of course if you have any questions!
Off to catch some sleep now, wishing you a great Wednesday now (since Tuesday is all but gone! ha ha!)