That scant 1/4″


I continue to work on my Meadowlark Quilt Top. 

As I think back, I took my first quilting class at 19 years of age. This was 26 years ago! I recall, at that time, making a few quilts, I made one for my own bed, I made one for my parents, and a baby quilt for each of my nephews. Soon afterward, I began using cloth as a medium, trying out new techniques and ideas, making stuff up, having fun, as so many of us do. Piecing to make blocks to a specific size quickly went to the wayside.

Recently, when I started using the Quiltography for iPad app, I didn’t question my skill set compared to the shiny, beautiful, somewhat imaginary and easy to create virtual-quilt-top-ideas generated through the app. I just figured, yeah, I can do that. Until I tested out sewing a Half Rectangle Triangle and found that block to be a bit fiddly, being sewn along the bias and all. I researched rulers and techniques to get the job done. I settled on paper piecing, hence all of the ripped and torn scraps above.

One of the skills I forgot in the intervening years was sewing to a scant quarter inch. My machine is a Bernina 1001 and a scant quarter inch resides under and to the left of the 1/4″ foots outside edge. 


I am happy to say, most of these blocks measure the prescribed 10.5″ they are intended to be. Some still need to be ripped and resewn (Sigh). In the meantime, I realize that I need to sew a SCANT 1/4″. I will test out my machine, measure, and perhaps even place some tape in the correct position to obtain that elusive and scant 1/4″.  These blocks are loosely arranged (not according to the pattern). I am going back through them and measuring them to see if I swallowed up too much fabric when sewing them together. Ripping is the name of my game right now. 

When I first realized my mistake, I wanted to bury the project in the deep annals of all-things-unfinished. But I got over that. ✨ I am glad I figured out what I was doing wrong.


I  finished the first of the two borders, all of which turned out to be 10.5″, thank goodness.

It is now time to begin sewing, cutting and creating the final border. The one difference between the real quilt and the app’s representation of the quilt is that the tile fabric will not appear as lines perpendicular to the outside edge of the quilt. The app can’t quite parse that one out and I do not know how to compensate for that either. I don’t really think it is necessary. 

I look forward to seeing how this comes together. 

One thought on “That scant 1/4″

  1. I have the same problem with the same machine. I am going to see if I can’t use the flangy thingie from the walking foot (the thing that acts as a guide when quilting rows) on one of my presser feet to kind of quide the fabric through at the scant 1/4″. Or, I may just cut my blocks with 3/8″ allowance. I really want to make a Storm at Sea quilt and with all those seams meeting in the middle, matching up will be easier if I am exact. Until 10 years ago, I pieced everything by hand, and I could eyeball pretty well. That skill doesn’t translate well to machine stitching. I can see it is off – after it is stitched. I hear you on wanting to bury the misfit blocks deep in some cupboard, but somehow I know they are there – mocking me! Kind of like chocolate in the cupboard when you have decided to cut back. 🙂 Happy stitching and frogging. Put on a good movie and chill. xoxo


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