Friday, November 16, 2012

The Battle for 1/4-inch Seam Allowance

I really like my sewing machine. It's a Brother "Project Runway" model that is computerized with a whole bunch of stitch settings. Most of them I don't use, but it's cool to know they're there!
As I make things for myself, I can overlook little boo-boos or shortcomings in my work. Yeah, the seam is a little shy of its proper size but I can fudge it into place. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. When it does, yay! When it doesn't, it's a foible that says it's mine.
Sewing for someone else is a different monster. Now your work has to stand on its own. You will not be there with it to defend its errors or offsets. The new owner will let everyone they know that this is your work and you have to be 100% ok with what statement it makes. Thus, the battle over perfect 1/4-inch seam allowance begins!
Recently I saw a huge template that you can place on your machine that was covered with lines goind every which way so you can feed your fabric in straight and with accurate allowance. It was a great tool, I'm sure, but I didn't want it. There has to be an easier way to have guidelines without all that.
So out came the roll of masking tape. There are two 1/4-inch marking lines on my machine. One in the front and one behind the needle. The one in the front is fine to have but the one behind the needle is impossible to see. My tape gave the visual between the two markings.

There is ome more marking on the foot. It is a small raised part to the right of the needle and it is also impossible to see while you are sewing. My mind wanted to have the fabric line up with the open edge on the right side of the needle, thus making my seam allowance too wide. Here you can see the green fabric lines up right under the raised part, thanks to my handy dandy tape line!
How does your machine help you achieve the 1/4-inch seam allowance? Do you have a trick of the trade that helps you get it?

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