Since getting a new sewing machine, I have found there are differences with the 1/4 inch foot. I learn't the hard way ! After merrily sewing a diamond border with small pieces, I found that it was not the size it should have been. After pulling it apart and going back over my pattern calculations, many times. ( I thought I was going crazy ) I realized that with my new machine the 1/4 inch foot was to blame.
Here's why ! From the edge of my 1/4 inch foot to the needle, measures exactly 1/4 inch. This does not include the needle.
When I sew a seam there is no space included for the thread. This makes a HUGE difference. The thread needs to be included in your 1/4 inch. Hence why it is called a scant 1/4 inch seam. Therefore the needle should be included in the 1/4 inch. I sew with fine 50 weight cotton thread and fine 70/10 needles. I like this combination because it takes up less room in my seams.
The first thing I thought of to correct this was to move my needle over to the right, until I had the correct 1/4 inch seam. But....... although I had a correct measurement, the sewing machine did not like this and the stitching was erratic.
What Now ? Well last year I went to a lecture at the Taupo Symposium, where I heard quilter Susan Cleveland
talk. She talked about the 1/4 inch seam and accuracy, I also brought her little seam guide and book. (Thankfully) I have to admit I had never used the seam guide but now I thought I would give it a try.
This book explains the mystery of the scant 1/4 inch seam. The tool helps you find your own scant 1/4 inch seam. There are three holes in the tool, I use the one marked A because I use fine thread. With a combination of post it notes and the tool I managed to get a much more accurate seam allowance.
I have lined the post it notes up against the edge of the seam tool. This is where I will line up my pieces when sewing.
I now have a scant 1/4 inch seam. Including the stitching line.
I know there are other similar tools available, but I am glad I had this one at hand. I find my sewing is much more fun when I know my seams are correct.