When it comes to quilting, almost all patterns are written using a ¼” seam allowance. If you come from a garment sewing background and are used to a ⅝” seam allowance this can seem small, but Heather Thomas explains why the ¼” seam allowance is used.
When piecing a quilt there is no need for a larger seam allowance because the seams are not going to be subject to wear and tear like a garment. Also, if quilted properly, the seams will be reinforced when the quilt top is quilted. Because of this it is also less important if all of your seams are perfect. Heather Thomas explains that while you want to alway try and sew using and accurate ¼” seam allowance, there are times when a scant or chunky seam allowance can be used. A scant seam allowance means that you are stitching just under ¼” whereas a chunky seam allowance means you are stitching just over a ¼”. Heather shows the backside of a quilt she has pieced and explains how she used one of those seam allowances to help better fit several units together.
Stretching and Easing
While you may be striving to stitch a perfect ¼” seam allowance all of the time, sometimes it doesn’t always happen. Rather than have to tear out a seam with seam rippers and re-stitch it, Heather explains how you can using a stretching or easing technique to ‘fix’ the seam. This works great if you need to fix one or two seams in a project, however if you are finding that you are needing to do this often you may want to reevaluate your stitching technique. Measure your ¼” foot to ensure you are lining up at the right spot or make a mark on your machine throat plate that you can line your fabric up on every time.