Friday, July 20, 2012

Long Story.....

Let me tell you all a story about a man named Jed.....  oops wrong story.
This is the Story of the Quarter Inch.  

Some of you may know that for years I've pinned and pinned my pieces and then stitched over the pins.  I've never had a problem with this.  When I bought my Janome Memory Craft 6600 two years ago, I had the option to use a 1/4 inch foot or adjust the needle to create the 1/4 inch seam.  Being as I stitch over my pins, I wasn't able to use the 1/4 inch foot.  So after much trial and error, I finally had the settings set just so and the blocks came together reasonably well and the resulting size was right on.  In May, I took my sewing machine in for maintenance.  When it came home, using the same settings as before, I resumed making my blocks.  However my blocks weren't the correct size.  So I adjusted the settings, measuring the 1/4 inch with a ruler and proceeded to make the blocks.  Each block came out a different size.  So I continued adjusting and sewing until the blocks came out the correct size.  But somewhere along the way, I found myself breaking needles as I stitched over the pins.  I decided that I'd try the 1/4 inch foot, pin less and remove pins as I go along.  I even bought a stiletto to mate the seams.  So I set the needle to center and started sewing my blocks.  It didn't occur to me to check the size of each block--I was using the 1/4 inch foot.  Occasionally I had to ease some of the seams, maybe it was poor cutting or pressing but for the most part I thought things were going along well......until I made this next block.

Flower Pot II

See that large center piece.  I had to ease about 1/4 inch all the way around.  I checked my cutting measurements but everything was correct so I blamed my pressing.  Jo-Ann's is having a huge sale this week so I purchased a June Tailor Quilter's Cut'n Press II at 50% off.  It's nice and firm as opposed to my ironing board.  I used it to press all the pieces of this next block.

Fox and Geese

But I still had to ease the center piece quite a bit.  I was making up my mind to just cut the larger pieces like this smaller next time.  Then it occurred to me that I hadn't measured the 1/4 inch seam or the blocks since using the 1/4 inch foot.  Those two blocks were each 1/2 inch smaller than they were supposed to be.  I measured the other blocks I'd done and they were not the correct size either.  I'd read on someone's blog to check the 1/4 inch seam, cut three pieces of fabric 1 1/2 inch wide then sew them together.  It should measure 3 1/2 inches wide and the center strip should be 1 inch.  So I cut and sewed and adjusted the needle with the 1/4 inch foot until I had the measurement right.  Then I did the test five more times.  Each time it came out correctly.  This next block's size was perfect.

For my next trick, I'm going to choose a block with the larger piece center to see how that goes.

Moral of the Story:  Take time periodically to measure for 1/4 inch seam.

The end.

 Hope you have a good day.


1 comment:

Impera_Magna said...

Very good advice... NEVER trust needle settings or 1/4" foots/feet! The "sew the strips and then measure" is the best way to go!