Tuesday Tip! The Scant Quarter Inch Seam


Are you ready for another tip?

This week’s tip goes back to the fundamentals of quilting: the scant 1/4″ seam.

Many times in classes I hear frustrated students getting upset over their pieced blocks not coming out square or can’t get their seams to match. The first thing I always check is their seam allowance.

Quilt blocks are mathematically designed to fit together perfectly with a 1/4″ seam. I know you’ve heard that before-but there’s a second part. When we sew pieces together, we typically press to one side. The simple act of folding the fabric takes up part of the finished quilt block space. In other words- the one or two individual fibers that are part of the “turn” need to also be taken into account when we sew. You can hopefully see the slight “bump” in this photo:

When we sew with a scant 1/4″ seam, it takes that “bump” into account & leaves us with a perfect finished size block.

So what does a scant 1/4″ seam look like? This is a picture of mine:

See how the thread of my seam is just to the left of my ruler? And the fabric ends slightly before the 1/4″ mark on my ruler? That’s a scant 1/4″ seam- it’s just a slightly smaller seam! I mean a hair smaller seam.

So how do you get that?

There are actually several great tutorials already out there on that, so I’m going to link to those today:
Gen X Quilters: Scant Rant: A 1/4″ Seam Tutorial
Gen X Quilters: Scant Rant, Part 2
Quiltville: That Quarter Inch!
Diary of a Quilter: Quilting Tip: Scant 1/4 Inch
A Quilty Kind of Girl: Tutorial Tuesday- Quarter Inch Accuracy

Now it may seem tiresome & time consuming to find your perfect scant 1/4″- but rest assured- once you have that technique down- block construction will come together incredibly easily- without all the hassle of ripping out!

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