ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Beginning patchwork: perfect quarter inch seams

Updated on March 12, 2016
JanTUB profile image

Quilter, author, tutor, and columnist, Jan T Urquhart Baillie has been sharing her passion for quilting for more than 30 years.


No fuss quarter-inch seams and perfect pressing

Because patchwork made by machine is usually based on what is known as a 'template-free' method, perfect ¼ seams are imperative for accurate piecing. It is essential to press your work as flat as possible between seams.

This is a lesson on how to achieve a perfect ¼ inch seam with no fuss.

In addition, you will learn how to press the Jan T way — for success!

Lesson 1: Perfect seams

for perfect patchwork

You are going to make a three strip patch with a light centre strip, and then you'll test for the accuracy of your seam.

You'll learn how to make adjustments to achieve a perfect ¼ inch seam for your patchwork.

What you need: Equipment

for sewing your test piece

Sewing machine

Iron and ironing pad or board

Rotary cutter

Rotary cutting board

Quilter's rotary ruler

Those are some of my old friends, my quilting tools.

What you need: Fabric

for the practice piece

Cut strips of fabric:

1½ inches x 5 inches

2 strips of dark coloured fabric

1 strip of light coloured fabric

Sewing your seam practice piece

With the ¼ inch foot on your sewing machine, follow the steps below:

  1. Place one dark strip (right side down), onto the light strip (right side up), matching the long edge.
  2. Sew down the long side keeping the edge next to the guide on the machine foot.
  3. Press the seam towards the dark strip.
  4. Take the second dark strip and place it right side down on the light strip, on the opposite edge to the other dark strip.
  5. Sew the next seam at ¼ inch as before.
  6. Press towards the new dark strip.

1: Place a dark strip on a light strip - Right sides together, sew with a quarter inch seam

2: Press to the dark strip - Follow the instructions in Lesson 2: Pressing (below)

3: Attach the other dark strip - On the opposite side

Press to the dark as before

4: Press to the dark as before - Test piece ready for measuring

5: Place your quilter's ruler on top - so that the light centre strip can be measured

6: If your centre strip is EXACTLY 1" wide

You did it!

Perfect seams.



How wide is the centre strip?

Is the strip less than 1 inch wide?

The seams are not EXACTLY ¼ inch.

Turn the work over, and measure the seam allowance.

Cut some more strips and try again. This time, make sure you are keeping the edges right up beside the flange on the foot of the machine, or that the edges are exactly at the side of your patchwork foot.

Is the strip more than 1 inch wide?

You will need to keep the edges just shy of the edge of the foot.

Once you are familiar with how your machine performs, then you will be able to get perfect seams every time.

Lesson 2: How to press patchwork

the Jan T way

The secret to successful machine piecing is to press your work from the right side. This way you get no little rolls on the seams.

Follow the steps below to get perfectly flat piecing.


Do NOT pull the 'lid' or you will roll the seam allowances, causing problems when you are joining blocks together later in the quilting process.

1: Place the sewn patches - on the ironing surface with the darker patch on top.

2. Lift the 'lid' slightly - just enough to get the iron under

3: Glide the iron sideways - out towards the darker patch

4: Complete the sweep with the iron - without pulling

See how flat the seam is?

That's how to get great patchwork by machine

Press the Jan T way, you can't lose!

© 2009 Jan T Urquhart Baillie


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)