Sewing an accurate seam allowance is just as important as cutting the quilt pieces accurately. If you don’t get both right then you won’t be able to match up the seams when you sew the quilt blocks together.
The seam allowance used in quilting is virtually always 1/4″ (6mm). This is smaller than that used in dressmaking to reduce the bulk of fabric. One way to mark the seam line with fabric marker. This can be quite time consuming!
On my old sewing machine I used the zipper foot. It meant that I had to have the needle switched to the left hand position, but it gave me exactly 1/4″ from the needle to the right hand side of the foot. All I had to do was line up the edge of the fabric with the right hand side of the foot.
My current sewing machine has a quarter inch quilting foot. I think they are commonly available now with modern sewing machines. There is a black shield on the far side of the foot which guides the edge of the fabric exactly quarter of an inch from the needle position.
Another method is to put a strip of tape on your machine exactly 1/4″ to the right of the needle position and line up the edge of the fabric with the edge of the tape.
A very useful accessory is one that attaches to the machine foot and can be set to any width. The long straight part fixes to the back of the foot and the curved bit guides the edge of the fabric. The one I have allows me to choose up to 2″ for the guide, making it very versatile. It can also be used to keep lines of stitching a set distance apart when you are quilting.
There are many gadgets available for producing accurate seam allowances. Have a browse in your local quilt shop and you are sure to find one that works for you.
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