Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Lesson - always do a 1/4 test - Card Table topper

In yesterday's post, I showed a great quilt made from a simple block. Or I should say it looks simple. I had a little hodge podge of 1.5 inch strips on my cutting table, so without anything else planned for today, I thought I'd try to make a small card table topper cloth. I was using my new Juki TL98Q for sewing strips together. I have on order from my dealer, a 1/4 inch foot without a side on it but for today, I used the 1/4 inch foot that has the side guide.

I was quickly getting through the first set of sewing strips together. I ironed, and sewed each pair of strips together again and ironed. I had all that done in less than an hour. When I measured the width of the strips, I was surprised to see that it was only 4.25". My friend Lee pointed out in a comment on yesterday's blog, the math told me that it should be 4.5" wide. I quickly realized that my problem is that I didn't do a 1/4 inch test on my new machine. I'm surmising that with each of the 3 seams in the small blocks, my1/4 seam was just a few threads too big. Compound it over 3 seams, and that's where my other 1/4 inch went.

I guess this little project has become my 1/4 inch test. So, after sewing the 4 little blocks together, the finished block is only 8". So I'll finish this little topper by using a slightly less than 1/4 inch to see if I can keep the illusion of equal size strips. Tomorrow I'll add the side triangles, sew the blocks together and add a couple of small borders. I'm planning to machine quilt on the new Juki on Thursday. Stay tuned to see a finished topper later this week.

I will do a "real" 1/4" test when I get my new foot.

6 comments:

Michelle said...

Looks good, Gail!

Linda H said...

You'll also find that the 1/4" will vary from one machine to the other, and possibly even between one foot and the other. They should all be the same..but they're not...Once you start a project on one machine, you'll have to do it all on that machine....

dp said...

geesh... so much math... cute start to a fun tablecloth though...

sewmarm said...

Sorry to hear that you had a minor mess-up, but the mat still looks really good!

Kath said...

Gail, I just discovered your Cat Mat at selvageblog.blogspot, and I think it's great. I liked seeing a selvage quilt without any fabric with the selvages, because that's how I've been saving my selvages.

Here's a hint for the 1/4" seam situation: On my Bernina I can move the needle once to the right and still use the 1/4" foot. That gives me just barely less than 1/4"; when I press the seam allowances to one side, the fabric makes up the extra difference. I find that results in a "perfect" 1/4" seam allowance. Does that make sense?
Kathleen

Pam said...

Gail--I, too, have a Juki like yours, and I shy away from using it for piecing for the fact that I don't get what I consider to be an accurate scant 1/4" seam allowance. I would be curious to know if your new foot solves the problem.