The Perfect 1/4" Seam
The perfect ¼” seam is often an elusive and difficult thing to obtain. Thank goodness the sewing machine manufacturers have recognized this and developed several easy and convenient ways to achieve this tenuous objective. Each machine is going to have its own features and different ways to achieve a true ¼” seam, and we are going to cover these from the most basic way on your mechanical machines to adjusting your machine electronically if you have the technology to do that.
If you only have a mechanical machine, you only have one way to get that perfect seam allowance. The easiest way is to find your local sewing machine store and purchase a ¼” foot that fits your specific machine. This foot will allow you to put your machine in center needle position and run your fabric along the edge of your foot to ensure that you have the proper spacing from the edge of your quilt. In order to make sure you purchase the correct type of ¼” foot, you will need to know the type of shank your particular machine uses. The shank types vary from low shank machines (the most common), high shank machines, and slant needle machines. If you simply bring in one of your current feet, your local sewing machine expert should be able to steer you in the right direction.
For those of you with electronic machines there are multiple ways to achieve your perfect seam allowance. All electronic machines have the ¼” foot available, in fact they also have a ¼’ foot that also has a guide attached to it, which really makes it easy to control your fabric. Electronic machines also have a factory setting in them that will electronically move your needle position to the right just enough so you can use your regular sewing foot and run your fabric right along the edge of your standard sewing foot and no additional feet are necessary. There is normally a quilting menu on your machine designated with a letter “P” for patchwork, or “Q” for quilting. If you see these symbols, you know that these stitches are specifically designed for your quilting pleasure.