Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The elusive 1/4"

I spent a remarkable amount of time sewing over the weekend (while my husband spent a remarkable amount of time frying his brain playing computer games). I'm nearly done with my Mouthy Stitches swap pouch! I hope it won't take more than a couple hours longer, but I'm hand stitching so my estimate isn't really worth much.

Still to go: complete the zipper sewing and more handstitching.

Before I began sewing the machine portions of the pouch, I decided I'd use up what was left of my white bobbin thread and get on with sewing the star blocks I've had cut and stacked for many days (or should that be moons? No, I'm not quite that far behind...)

It worked out perfectly! There was not more than 6 in of thread left on my bobbin when I finished the last seam of the 8th blue block. I was a bit disappointed during the pressing phase though to find many a wonky corner piece. This stems from my difficulty with the 1/4" seam. Cue: dramatic music. I believe the problem is that when the 1/4" foot is on my machine, the right-most line of feeddogs pushes up against nothing! And so the fabric tends to either bunch up into knots as I start sewing, or get pulled at an angle. To compensate, I tried sewing with a slightly wider seam so that the feeddogs have more to grab, but this has the obvious problem of using up too much fabric in the seam and causing finished blocks to be smaller than intended (read: necessary for the pattern!).

An unintentionally wonky star...

Anyway, I told myself I could live with it and just try to even it out with a smaller seam opposite when I assemble the blocks later. (Please ignore the pencil marks, I'd initially marked the right side of my fabric instead of the wrong side... I think they'll come out in the wash when I finally get to that point.)

I moved on to the pouch.

As I was rumaging through the little box of attachments for the screwdriver to change my needle (perhaps its dull point also contributed to my difficulty with the machine eating my fabric...) and my zipper foot, I came across another foot that looked similar to the 1/4" foot. I think it's the blind hem foot? It has the advantage of covering up those feeddogs while still being rather more petite than the regular all purpose foot. I'm going to try using it next time I piece star blocks. It worked well for 1/4" seams around the lining fabric - no bunching up at the beginning!

Another thing I plan to do is tape a 1/4" guide to my machine, again. It's cumbersome to change the bobbin or get out another foot when the tape is down though... Does anyone else have this problem? Maybe I should just use a sharpie and be done with it. What would you do?

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