When Irina asked me to write a blog post regarding the Connected Stripes SAL, I wanted to show something that took me sometime and tons of mistakes to achieve: the scant 1/4″ seam allowance.
To show you how to set your sewing machine to get a perfect scant 1/4″ seam allowance, I decided to make this mini quilt using skinny strips. Why skinny strips? Because in order to sew sets of several 1/8″ strips, you need to press your seams to the side every time, and these rows of skinny strips are connected one to the other, so you need to have a perfect seam allowance all over the piecing to get a good match between them.
What is a scant 1/4″ seam?
Quite simply, a scant 1/4″ seam about three fibres smaller than a full 1/4.”
This scant quarter inch seam allowance leaves enough room to allow for the “fabric fold” so when the seam allowance is pressed to one side, the units will still measure properly and the block isn’t too small.
In this picture you can see the different results you get using the normal 1/4″ or the scant one.
The stripe on the left has been sewn using the scant 1/4″ and the one on the right a full 1/4″ seam allowance.
As you can see there is a difference of about 3 fibres.
This offset would not be important if there is only one strip inside a block or a row of blocks, but if we’d have a set of multiple stripes/units, the lag would be very noticeable, and the seams would not match.
My method for the scant 1/4″
Here is how I set my machine to get perfect scant 1/4″ seam allowance every time.
First, I put the normal sewing 9mm plate and a normal sewing foot as I will move the needle to the right.
Place the quilting ruler underneath the presser foot, lining up the right edge of the ruler with the right edge of the foot. Move the needle down using the wheel of your machine (we don’t want to break the ruler).
Move the needle to the right until its about 2 mm away from the 1/4″ of the ruler. This won’t be the final position of the needle. You’re going to make some tests until you get the perfect position.
To get always the same seam allowance, I use a magnetic guide on the plate. Make a test by sewing four 2″ squares together. Press the seams to the side and check the measurements are ok. If the size of the final squares are smaller than 1 ½”, you need to move the needle to the left. Repeat the test until you have a good result. This will be your scant 1/4″ seam allowance.
You can write down the distance to have it in your future projects.
And you, which is your preferred method for a scant 1/4 ” seam allowance? Leave it in the comments below!