Sunday, March 30, 2014

Value of 1/16th of an Inch

I have wrapped up my 6 month Techniques workshop at Fabric Etc.  We used the pattern  Old Glory and I rewrote the instructions using my preferred methods of piecing.  We started the series with talking about the value of a true 1/4" seam allowance.
There is no criticism in this next statement as we discussed it at great length in our last class.  Something you wouldn't notice until I point it out is that in the block above, there are 15 blue squares in the checkerboard sashing.  In the piece below, there are 16 blue blocks.  The piecer of the above piece was puzzled as to how she was short one piece.  She went back and recounted many times, as we all did.  We double checked the pattern and I checked my sample.  16 was the number that kept showing up. How could she have 15 and have her piece work? Well, there are 15 seams and if you are off 1/16th of an inch, that equals one whole inch.  She lost the last row to seam allowances.
I loved teaching this workshop and as much as I shared, I learned.  Quilters are amazing women (and men).  We are resilient, strong, caring and kind.  I'm blessed to be part of this wonderful group of people.
My students were amazing, everyone stayed on task and each month learned something new.  My goal was not to teach them how to make this quilt, but to make them a better quilter.  Here is the email I got from one of my students a few weeks after our last class.

Sharon, thanks again so much for the wonderful techniques class! I've just been working on sewing the blocks together today and they go together so easily! I have always had trouble in the past, especially with different blocks fitting. The blocks with more seams were always a little smaller than blocks with fewer seams. You would have thought I could have figured it out, but I just figured I had stretched the fabric somewhat. Now I know I was sewing the seams at 1/4 inch, but by the time the seams were pressed, the seam really took up slightly more than 1/4 inch and all those "little bits" added up. I really learned a lot in your I just have to practice.
 So mind your 1/4", it really does help get your blocks "flat, straight and square".



Janet O. said...

You are obviously a great teacher, Sharon. I can attest to the importance of precise seam allowances, as I work on miniature quilts. Being off a thread or two can throw off the whole quilt!
I love the quilt you use in your teaching!

Barb said...

I wish I was better at a precise 1/4 seam allowance. I'll have to mind that better.
I love this flag setting!

Lori said...

That's a great quilt instead of a boring ole sampler for a beginners class.

Me and My Stitches said...

I love this pattern by Yellow Creek Quilt Designs. I own the pattern, but haven't made the quilt...YET! This is a great quilt to use for teaching - glad that your students learned a lot.

Browndirtcottage said...

If I was closer I would love to take a class from you. You have always been so helpful to me during these years of blogging!
What a great pattern for your class!

audrey said...

Something I definitely struggle with. Great post.:)

Mimi said...

That quilt is very impressive. Love it.

Lynn S said...

I'm glad I read your posting. I have this pattern and plan on starting it. I will watch my 1/4ths closely!

Sue said...

I just pulled this pattern out and my fabrics and then read that the EASY ANGLE ruler is necessary for the instructions in this pattern :-(
So glad I just read your post and was just curious what piecing methods you used in the making of this quilt ?
I am really glad I found your posting