Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Discovery!

I have a confession. I'm obsessed with a perfect scant, 1/4" seam! Maybe some of you are as well. If you get your seam right, then the rest of the quilt making process is so much easier! I've sewn on many different machines over the years - Singer, Elna, Husqvarna Viking and Bernina to name a few. I now sew exclusively on Bernina - I love the way the machines are made, the way they sew, and customer service at my Bernina dealer is outstanding! My main machine is a Bernina 630E. When it's in the shop I use my trusty backup Bernina 153QE (Alex Anderson edition, no less), and I also own (but may sell at some point) a Bernina 185E.

Several years ago I purchased the two 1/4" feet you see below. The foot on the left has a little rail on one side. The trick is to let the edge of your fabric ride up against the rail for the perfect 1/4" seam - NOT. I haven't had any luck with this foot at all. After shelving it permanently, I went back to the #37 1/4" foot that came with my machines (yes, I have 3 of these feet!). I still wasn't getting any joy. I don't know about you, but for me I prefer watching the fabric, not the foot as it feeds through the needle. I do like the little registration marks on the foot for turning however.

This brings me to my recent discovery! Look at the picture below. See where I've placed a blue arrow next to the little mark on the stitch plate? Doggone if this isn't a 1/4" mark! It has been staring me in the face - laughing at me that I didn't notice - just waiting for me to realize how important it is!
So I began guiding the edge of my fabric just to the inside of that little mark (see below) - and do you know what? My seams are consistenly a scant 1/4"!! (Sorry for the blurry photo, I guess I was a little too close.) Why a scant 1/4" some of you might ask? Well, once the seam is pressed to one side, you will lose a little in the fold, so if you sew a scant 1/4", your block will be accurate every time.

Every class I took on the use of my Bernina's failed to point out this little mark. So if you own a Bernina and are having trouble with your 1/4" seams, give this a try! Let me know if you do and if you're successful! I'm also interested in hearing how those of you without a little mark like this on your machines achieve your perfect scant 1/4" seam!


Stephanie said...

I have a 1/4" foot with the rail for my new Janome. I've measured the SA after sewing, once I got the needle positioned correctly, and it's a perfect 1/4". Then I put a block together and it should come out perfectly and does not. I've had to play with needle position. Although I LOVE my Janome I have a more perfect SA with my Pfaff.

lesthook said...

Well,yesterday someone posted about needle down on berninas..tap the front of the foot pedal..today this! Woo Hoo!!

onlymehere said...

I had discovered this about my new Bernina too and it's been a great blessing! I'm so glad that you found it too. I just got the Bernina last month and had a Bernette before that for a year. Our local Bernina allows you to trade in models within a year's time for full purchase price credit if you upgrade so I just had to do it!! For almost 30 years before that I sewed on a Viking and struggled with having even seams with 1/4". I even bought a plastic template to help me get them perfect but if you went to a class the template would get bumped going to and fron and then you had to reset it to get it right. It was a pain. This is so much easier!! Cindy

Linda said...

Like Stephanie I have a Janome foot with that stupid rail on it, so what's the soloution? Take it off with a pair of pliers, so much better. Like you I like to watch my fabric and not my foot.

CJ said...

I recently noticed that too when I started using my 1/4" foot. Watching the foot drives me crazy actually and should the fabric be right against the edge of the foot or not visible?? I like the mark on the plate better although I would love the foot with the edge if it actually produced the correct measurement.

PamKittyMorning said...

Interesting! I'll have to check out my machine. What thread are you using? I notice that using the Masterpiece I'm much better, since the thread is so thin, yet so strong!

Anne said...

I found that little registration mark on my plate completely by accident and now don't know how I ever got by before. I also don't like that foot with the edge guide. I bought it but NEVER use it! It's not that accurate!! Love my Bernina and had to whisper it the first time I said it because I didn't want to hurt little Pfaff's feelings. LOL

Robin said...

I found that little mark on my Bernina last summer. And it really is fabulous! A perfect seam every time (assuming I can keep my fabric going straight!). :)

Kim said...

I have a Viking 500 (Husqvarna) and I use the 1/4 inch foot with the side rail - seems to work really well for me. I also have the 14 foot. I tend to keep my regular 1/4 foot on when I am doing up half square triangles where you mark a line and cut in half. Seems that what works well one day, doesn't the next time I sit down to sew, lol, I think it's just me!!

Carrie P. said...

So glad you are getting the perfect seam now! Makes all the difference.

Orcsmom said...

Dog gone it, if I didn't pull my Bernina out and there it was also on mine! How did we miss it? I also love my Bernina, I only have a 230 Patchwork model, but its perfect for me and my travels and I can really tell a difference sewing on it as to sewing on another brand of machine. Thanks for the revelation!


Kaaren said...

Love my Berni too!

If I win the lottery, first thing I'm buying is a brand spanking new 820! Guess I'd better buy a ticket, huh?

Bethany said...

I don't own a Bernina, but what a neato trick! Isn't it sweet when you discover something cool?! My Viking plate is in metric but I'll have to see if there's a line that works. My foot has a pretty nice guide but my Janome foot was a pain.

Trisha said...

Oh my gosh, Candace, I can't wait to get my Bernina back from her check up so I can try it out!

*karendianne. said...

Cool post.

I have a Pfaff with a 1/4" foot. It has a sweet spot though. And I can explain it either. It measures right but really, to get it to piece just right for some things I have to hit it just right.

Patricia said...

I have a Bernina too, and I love the #57 foot. I just move the needle over two places to my right and I get a perfect SCANT 1/4 " every time. I love that foot. I think you should give it another try!
I don't have a blog, but you can e-mail me at rtolton@afconnect.com

Ulla said...

My Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 870 Quilt doesn't have the line but I'm going to mark it with a permanent marker or a piece of tacky tape. Works for all machines, I believe! Thank you Candace for pointing this out.

yellowfarmhouse said...

I have a Pfaff and struggle with this all the time. I'm going to check out my machine and see if I'm missing something like that - wouldn't that be great :). I do have an older Bernina - maybe I need to drag that one out, lol.

Hugs - Karen

Julia said...

I have a 630E also with both of those 1/4" feet. I use them with the needle moved one click to the right, resulting in a nice scant 1/4" seam.

vivian said...

Which Bernina do you have? I have the 180 and mine does not have that. I have always moved my needle over 4 times and used the #1 foot.

Micki said...

I just found your blog. Love it! I love quarter inch feet too, but I have a Pfaff 4.0 Expression, and adore it.
Love your posts!

Jackie said...

That 1/4". What a pain it can be to find. Glad to hear you've been successful!

Lisa @celebrate CREATIVITY said...

Yes, I have the 1/4 inch foot and it makes all the difference in the world.

I will not sew a 1/4 seam without it-lol.

sewtakeahike said...

LOL Candace!! I'm so glad you realized what this mark was for. When I came home with my Bernina, I immediately measured all the little marks so I would know FOR SURE their "names". I used to sew watching the fabric by the lines, it's so mesmerizing! However, I have started using my #10 foot and #57 foot almost exclusively when I sew. I love them so much because I can go faster, faster!!! lol again because I guess that means faster is bringing me more joy right now than perfection.

sewtakeahike said...

ooooooooooooohhhhhhhh!!!! Patricia had the most fabulous idea don't you think?? Just move your needle position over one or two spots and you're golden with the 57!!! I might have to try that! Then it'd be FAST (I wish I could italicize fast right now) AND perfect!! lol!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Candace for pointing that out. I too sew on a Bernina.
I have a 930 and the 153. My daughter uses a 145 and gifted me with the little foot you show with the guide on the side. I do not care for it either. In our Jo Morton class she stresses a scant 1/4" for everything. I am on my way to church but will check my throat plate this afternoon for that little line you point out with the blue arrow. Thanks for clarifying ....Louise

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

My Bernina doesn't have that line. It is older. But I have that same foot with the guide next to it. I HATE IT! I use mostly my 1/4" foot like yours with no guide. I found out I was over doing my seam allowances with the guide. It totally messed me up. I find my normal 1/4" seam is too big anyway so I need to use a scant. Weird now a tiny bit can mess ya up!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness!! Iv'e had my Bernina for eight years years now, and have never noticed it.
I was thinking of investing in one of those 1/4* feet
I won't bother now.
Thanks very much for that.

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