Sunday, April 13, 2014

The search for the ever elusive scant 1/4 inch continues



We pick up this story with my continued quest of trying to find out how to accurately sew quilt pieces together.

After sewing my pre-cut jelly roll strips together I was looking forward to cutting them into 12 inch squares. That is until I realized the new blade I'd put in my rotary cutter a couple of months ago was rusty. I would have had better luck running a dull butter knife up and down my fabric it was that bad. This is what comes from living on the water in Florida; if things don't get moldy they get rusty.

So off I ventured to my favorite fabric store, and for the first time they didn't have something I needed. I have a Fiskars Cutter and they don't carry them. I couldn't get to JoAnn's because I didn't have the vehicle that day so I had to wait until yesterday to drive there. Luckily I had a 40% off coupon and bought some titanium blades (I have no idea if they'll stay nice or not and I need to come up with a better storing solution). But then I remembered they sell Janome Sewing Machines at this store and I asked one of the employees who was sitting at a machine if they happened to carry a quarter inch quilting foot and by golly they do! I then asked her if she'd heard the term 'scant' quarter inch and she gave me a baffled look and shook her head. So I went into my long winded explanation of why I wanted one and she said she's made many quilts using a simple quarter inch seam allowance and never had a problem.

That's when I decided enough was enough and to quit making such a big deal out of this and just suck it up. I ended up buying the foot they had in stock and it also came with 2 guides; one for the 1/4 inch seam and one for sewing in the ditch (actually the guide runs in the ditch and allows you to sew very close to it).

This is the foot with the 1/4 inch guide attached. The other guide is off to the left.


I did not have my reading glasses with me and I didn't see this until I got home. Is that not just too funny?

So the search for the scant quarter inch foot and guide is now over.

The sad part about this is when my quilt ends up with wonky seams I won't have anyone to blame but myself.


No sewing this weekend as Hans and I cast off our dock lines yesterday and anchored in the bay for the night. This little racer zipped past our stern with about 6 'scant' inches to spare.

I crack myself up!




Jane M said...

I think you have just described why I find quilting so challenging....and my only two quilts have had blocks that I got to sew and then trim to size. But rotary cutters are the best invention. I'll be curious to hear what you think about the titanium blades.

laura said...

Using a new blade has been great! I'm just not sure if titanium can withstand the climate down here but I'll find that out soon enough.

Cyndi said...

Hey Laura! Loooong time no talkie! Can't believe we haven't spoken since I saw you last September. So much has been happening here - most of it not good. Jeff lost his job in October and has been looking ever since. He's actually in Tampa today for his third interview with a company there....keep your fingers crossed that it goes well and we just might be neighbors soon!

Anyway....the elusive scant 1/4 inch! A lot of quilters simply use a regular 1/4 inch for piecing quilts as that is what most patterns call for anyway. Using a scant 1/4 inch just gives you a bit more wiggle room for when seams don't get pressed open exactly right. I do use it, and here's what I do to achieve it: there is a little ruler called the "Perfect Piecing Seam Guide" that is made by Perkins Dry Goods. It's a little clear yellow ruler that is measured at precisely a scant 1/4 inch and there is a little hole right in the middle of that line. You put the ruler under your presser foot (your regular foot works fine) and line your needle up in the little hole. Then you simply mark your seam allowance on the right side of the ruler with your guide of choice (i.e., tape, bunion pads, stack of index cards, etc. - quilters use a bunch of weird stuff to mark their seam guides!) I use one of those magnetic seam guides you can purchase at JoAnn's for around $2 and change. Works perfectly every time! The link for the ruler is:

Good luck with the baby's going to be so cute; I love those Bartholo-Mew fabrics!

And, don't be a stranger. Call or e-mail me if you need any help with the quilt, or just to chat. Got tons and tons we could talk about (as always!).



laura said...

I remember talking about this back when I visited with you (but Noah's need to mutilate his stuffies took front stage!). You've been on my mind a lot these days and yes, I just need to pick up my phone and call you. And with that thought in mind, I will be doing that very soon. So sorry to hear about Jeff's job but unfortunately that's what a lot of corporations are doing these days. I know you will be fine but it's still not fun to go through. Talk to you soon.