How To Check Your Sewing Machine For Accuracy

So you have gathered all the things you need to make your quilt, you've carefully cut all of your pieces, and sewn as carefully as possible.  Then you measure your block and it's not even close to what the pattern said.  What on earth could have possibly gone wrong?  I would bet money it was your seam allowance.  So how do you check your sewing machine for accuracy when quilting?  It's much easier than you think.

how to check seam accuracy


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The first thing to do is check to see where your quarter inch is really on your machine.  I did a video a few years back that shows how to do that.



So now that you know where that quarter inch is on your machine we need to figure out how to ensure you get an accurate seam each and every time you sit down at your sewing machine.  Paul has talked about how the feet that are used to get a quarter inch seam has changed over the years.

That's a good place to start but what we have found with some vintage sewing machines is even if you have one of those quarter inch feet it may not be a true quarter inch.  The machine in the video above, my Necchi BU, the edge of my foot is a quarter of an inch but we have another BU that's a few years newer that a quarter of an inch isn't on the edge of any foot.  It's just a little bit off but that little bit can add up over an entire quilt.  If you are off a 16th of an inch on each seam, every 16 seams is a full inch.  If you are doing a quilt with a lot of piecing you suddenly go from a queen size quilt to a full.

So what's a quilter to do?  We work way to hard to let our sewing machine sabotage us and the seam guides that Paul talked about are fine but I don't like them.  The edge goofs with me and I spend a lot of time ripping out seams.  I had to find a solution that worked well for me.  I've used painter's tape before.  It works fine and doesn't leave any residue behind.  But then my creative brain kicked in, OK really I ran out of painters tape and needed something in a hurry, washi tape.   Why washi tape you ask?  It's cheap if you do any paper crafting you already have it, and it comes in a ton of colors so you can pick the color that works best for your eyes.  My favorite is my Star Wars washi tape because it makes me smile.

Now go out into the quilt world with confidence that your seams will be as accurate as anyone else. If you'd like to get more tips like this delivered to your inbox be sure to sign up for our newsletter.  As a thank you, we'll send you this cute printable that you can decorate your studio with.



If they don't lie to you then it is time to find some new friends.  No one has time for friends who point out their mistakes!  Before you dump them remind them you are a quilt designer and those are design choices.  Then flounce away.

how to check sewing machine accuracy


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About Melissa Shields

Mel is a 30 something year old quilter, attempting to balance her old school roots with today's trends. When not sewing or shopping for a new sewing machine Mel enjoys reading, reality TV, and Nascar.

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