That pesky scant 1/4″ seam


Any new quilter  — especially those of us who were used to the 5/8″ seam from our dressmaking days — will agree that sewing a perfect 1/4″ seam is not that easy. To make it harder, we want a “scant” 1/4″ seam, which means that we are sewing just a thread or two smaller than the 1/4″ marking. (This allows us to account for the one or two threads needed to press a seam open.)

The blog post address at the end of this article was written by Craftsy and gives some excellent ideas for improving accuracy. While I agree with them that some kind of stiffening is essential for great piecing, our local quilt shop suggests using Best Press instead of starch. I have been extremely happy with this product. There are a variety of scents available, although I prefer the unscented.

I’d also suggest that you use a leader and trailer piece of fabric before and after you start piecing. This avoids the all-to-common problem of tapering off your seams (which can easily drift from 1/4″ to 1/8″ ) at the beginning and end of your quilt block. Whenever possible, chain piecing is the most efficient way to sew and will give you the straightest seams. If you’ve never chain pieced, the youtube video below shows you how. It also explains how to press your fabric properly to avoid distorting your blocks.


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