© 2016 Rachel McDaniel Hayes

What's the big deal about 1/4" seams?

August 26, 2016

When I first started learning to piece quilts, I heard that if your 1/4" seam was not quite 1/4" you were ok as long as it was consistent throughout the seams of the quilt top.  While that may be true for some quilt patterns (I'm certainly not going to spend my thoughts trying to figure out which patterns might work on that theory), I came across a perfect example to invalidate that theory.

 

 I decided to make another king size quilt for our bed.  And since I am very into chain quilts these days, I chose the Irish chain pattern.  The hubby's favorite color is yellow so I am using a very light yellow for the solid blocks and low volume scraps for the colors. I thought I'd whip out some of the more simple blocks tonight.  The solid centers are cut 6 1/2" x 10 1/2".  On either side of the center piece are some  units made from a 6 1/2" yellow rectangle and two 2 1/2" squares. I didn't check my 1/4" seam before I started putting a few of the pieced units together.  My seam was just slightly less than 1/4" and see the outcome of that when you are trying to put the pieces together?

 The pieced unit is slightly too long.  Since I am all about making things work and do my best to never take seams out, I put the longer piece on the bottom and then had to pin it to the 10 1/2" piece so my machine would ease in the fullness.

 

I don't like pinning. It takes too much time.  Now see what happened when I adjusted my seam to be the perfect 1/4".

 The pieced unit was exactly the correct length, matching the solid piece.

That means no pinning, yay! I can lay the pieced unit on top of the rectangle and zip right through it.  So here is a practical example of why that 1/4" is so important.  It will save you SO MUCH TIME, besides your pieced quilt top will look better with no puckers or fullness worked in. 

 

There are lots of fabric sales going on right now - -Craftsy, Hancock Fabrics, and Missouri Star to name a few.  I grabbed a couple of sale jelly rolls to add some more low volume colors to my Irish Chain.  Yes, I wanted to make a good dent in my scrap pile, but I really needed some more... :)

 

 Hope you found this tip helpful.  Have a great weekend!

 

Rachel

 

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