The Secret of Accurate Quilt Piecing

Screwy blocks! I remember when  I realized I was supposed to use a 1/4” seam for quilting. I didn’t have a 1/4” foot for my machine, so I just estimated. No wonder nothing worked very well back then!

Quilt making basics

One important aspect of quilt making is to maintain an accurate 1/4″ seam allowance. This ensures that all of the seams will match and the various pieces will fit together properly. Using a 1/4″ presser foot on your machine will give you the best results, but if your machine doesn’t have one, you can create a seam guide.

  • Place a piece of bright tape 1/4″ from the needle.
  • Place a ruler under the presser foot and lower the needle onto the 1/4″ mark.
  • Mark the seam allowance by placing a piece of tape at the edge of the ruler.
  • Be careful not to cover the feed dogs on your sewing machine.

Quilt making basics seam allowance

When sewing several identical fabric pieces together, I like to chain piece them to save time and reduce the amount of thread used. To chain piece:

  • Sew the first pair of pieces together.
  • At the end of the seam line, stop sewing but do not cut the thread.
  • Feed the next pair of pieces under the presser foot and continue sewing in the same manner until all the pieces are sewn.
  • Remove the chain of pieces from the machine and clip the threads between the pairs as you press them.

Quilt making basics chain piecing

So don’t estimate, and don’t have your own screwy blocks!


  1. Paul Anderson February 8, 2017
  2. Cheryl February 9, 2017

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