The quest for perfect piecing

A quilting bud of mine was recently lamenting the discovery that her ‘scant’ 1/4 inch seam allowance was a bit on the generous side.

“Did you know a 1/4 inch machine foot still makes a seam that’s too wide to be called scant”, she declared huffily, eyes widened maniacally–much like mine when I discover the last Xanax in the bottle on a holiday weekend.

Ever one for eloquence I replied, “No shit?!”

It’s true. I’m sure this comes as no surprise to those of you more astute than myself. It’s only taken me nine years to make this discovery. Yes, I’m a slow learner. So, this afternoon I sat down with The Brother to see if I had it in me to achieve scant 1/4 inch stardom. Sure, it’s not the theory of relativity or the cure for polio, but work with me here.

I rigged up the sewing machine bed with one of those stitch guides. If you ask me the brand on threat of death, get ready to commit a homicide ’cause I’ve got no clue. 


I also managed to deface the machine foot with permanent marker as added insurance.


As an added bonus, I discovered the backstitch button…it’s only taken me about five months.


Never mind the fact the button clearly displays a backwards facing arrow.  See…I am gifted.

I did achieve the scant 1/4 inch seam, however.  I have proof!


Being one who proudly wears the term ‘anal’, I’m a bit ashamed to admit it’s taken me this long to get it right.  Somewhere in my quilting journey, I’d decided to eschew my quest for perfection.  Perhaps I decided to take comfort in the adage “Don’t worry; it’ll quilt out”.  Or as my grandmother liked to say, “Nobody’ll notice it on a galloping horse”.





  1. I love your grandmother’s sayings. I have a Brother too and sometimes I discover new things. It’s a good machine but kind of fussy about thread, don’t you think? And I like your new web page. You changed from Blogger. Did you keep your old posts? Curious minds want to know why. 🙂

    • It is fussy about thread. I thought it was just me. I made the jump from Blogger because they just kept ticking me off and I couldn’t take any more…that’s what kids are for (being aggravating, I mean). All the old posts got imported…like fine Italian leather or French wine. Take your pick.

  2. Ah, the elusive scant quarter inch seam. I can get there but not without effort on my modern machines!. One of my machines is a Babylock. Very similar to Brother. I use it for embroidery and don’t really care for it for piecing because of that dratted scant quarter. My Janome is SUPPOSED to be set on 5.5 for a scant quarter. I have to go out to 6.5 and still don’t make it sometimes. I actually do better without the quarter inch foot.

    If you don’t already, Start using a scrap for a starter and you won’t end up with balls of thread on the next piece after using the thread cutter. I keep the same piece with each machine and just sew over and over on it.

    • Brother is definitely NOT Lennie, but I’m fairly sure I’d have the same issue regardless of which machine I used. I managed to have all but one row of blocks come out even so I think that’s pretty good. I’ve always been satisfied with ‘good enough’…I quilt to relax, not enter contests and such. Nothing’s glaringly obvious in my finished quilts so I probably shouldn’t be so anal-retentive about it!

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