Narrow seam allowance

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LORIM-3 posted on Sun, Jan 19 2014 12:40 PM

In order to square up my blocks, some of my seam allowances taper to about 1/8" (on one side only).  I'm afraid of the fabric unraveling and the seam coming apart with use and washing.  Other than Fray-Check, which gets stiff, is there something I can use to prevent this from happening?

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Diana replied on Sun, Jan 19 2014 1:15 PM

You can go back and where it starts to go thin, resew it from that point,  when seams are pressed to one side, nothing shows.  To avoid that, use something with a point to hold the fabric on the seam line all the way to the end of the fabric.  If you don't have a stilleto, a long pin will work.  I've used a wooden skewer at times.

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In order to square up my blocks, some of my seam allowances taper to about 1/8" (on one side only).

I'm unsure how the narrow seam allowance helped you to square up your blocks.  Usually you would square up by trimming the block before it is sewn to the next block and so it wouldn't involve the seam allowance at all. 

If the seam is creeping away from you while you sew, Diana's suggestion with the stiletto should help.  Pinning may help, too.  My other suggestion would be to trim/square your blocks after each is complete and before sewing to the next block.

Ultimately, it may be the 1/4 inch seam that needs to be more exact from the very start.  That seems to be the most important skill in quilting and one that many of us are still trying to master.

Welcome to QCA!

On the banks of the Mississippi River in north central Minnesota (Brainerd lakes area)

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Ultimately, it may be the 1/4 inch seam that needs to be more exact from the very start.
             Nancy, is right on this one, your seam allowance should always be 1/4 inch!!!!

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ls2116 replied on Sun, Jan 19 2014 5:21 PM

I find I have same problem at times, and in those cases I decided to add decorative stitches to topside like in a crazy quilt.  hope this helps.

Quilting My Rainbow

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Jenia replied on Sun, Jan 19 2014 6:44 PM

I have done this too...altering the seam allowance to make sure things are square because of a bad cut.  I agree with the decorative top stitching and/or two rows of inner seams at the "weak" thin areas.  All of my sewing is by hand so for me it's easier to manipulate the seam allowance without difficulty by following a ruler or guide line.

I'm sure this is not proper procedure, but I can never get each and every cut exactly perfect.  So seam manipulation can be very helpful.  I have only pieced 2 quilts now so I'm not really sure how they will hold up, they do look ok, only time will tell on the wear.  It should be noted that I don't use mine daily on the bed because we have 4 dogs and a cat.  

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Patti replied on Mon, Jan 20 2014 10:44 AM

trying to be as perfect as possible with the scant 1/4 inch is best.  But on occasion when I am sewing and find my perfection lacking, I may alter that.  An example is when I want my points to show, and a perfect quarter inch would take it off a bit, I may alter slightly.  But only slightly. 


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Agnes replied on Tue, Jan 21 2014 11:33 AM

I know we sew with the 1/4" generally but I have read that with cotton you only need 1/8" to stop fraying. I'm not into mini quilts but they often start with a narrow seam allowance. I would, however, keep in mind whether the final function will have a lot of wear or very little.

Agnes in NW Ontario

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