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”.




4 thoughts on “The quest for perfect piecing

  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. 🙂

    1. 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.

    1. 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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