When I first began quilting, the one rule above all else was to keep your seam allowance at 1/4 inch. So for the next couple of years I struggled with this seam allowance, fudging and fuming in fitting my blocks together. Then one year I took a class with Nancy Johnson-Srebro. It was a miniature class and I was working with very small pieces on a clunker of a White machine - it was practically eating my pieces! (This project is STILL in a box.) I was so frustrated that Nancy suggested that when I got home I should try to work on my 1928 Singer sewing machine. In the meantime, I bought one of her books, and read it cover to cover. She had the most amazing miniature quilts with quarter-inch block pieces! How did she do that? So I pulled out my old singer and proceeded to follow her instructions in "Endless Possibilities" for setting a "scant" quarter inch seam allowance. I was determined to make something tiny figuring if Nancy could do it, so could I. And with my new seam allowance all set to go, I made a tiny simple Irish Chain, about 5"x 6" with each 9 patch block measuring just 3/4" finished! Here are pictures, from closest to farthest, for context.
"Because I Could!"
Once I found my own personal quarter-inch, my blocks fit together just like puzzle pieces and I can construct a quilt knowing it will come out just fine. I even find myself not worried about points matching or seams meeting, because they just do!
So now, for each of my machines, the first thing I do is find that quarter inch. On my Featherweight I use a piece of magnetic tape. It provides a sort of ledge that the fabric butts up to. On my Bernina I move the needle position to 4. And on my California Brother, it has it's own quarter inch needle position - do you believe it? I went crazy trying to find out how to move the needle, until I read the manual. For those of you in the know, the motto is always RTFM!
So now I'm busy putting together Laura and Jeff's wedding quilt. But I am still visiting the quilts I've given away so I can photograph and document here.