Back To School Blog Hop: Tips For The Perfect Seam


We are very excited to be participating in the Back To School Blog Hop this year. Thank you to Sam Hunter of Hunter’s Design Studio for organizing this amazing 32 day event filled with fantastic tips for better sewing and quilting! If you don’t know Sam, please go check out her site  and while you are there, take a look at her quilt patterns. Specifically, check out her General Organa Quilt, her BB-8 and Rey inspired quilt  and her Police Box quilt. Pretty cool, eh?

Thank you so much for stopping by if you are new to our website! Please take a look around Sew Much Cosplay™ while you are here. If you like what you see, please like our Facebook page and please tell the cosplayers in your life about us too!

Now on to our tip. We wanted to offer a tip that would be beneficial for both garment sewing and quilting – because we love both! Seams to me that we should talk about seam allowance!

If you are new to sewing, you might not know that there is a difference in seam allowances for garments versus quilting. In garment construction, the seam allowance is almost always 5/8” seam. In quilting, the seam allowance is always ¼ inch.

Garment sewing is slightly more forgiving because you generally have larger sections that you are sewing together. If your ¼ inch is off even slightly, the needle width adds up as you stitch together many pieces over the course of a block or quilt top. For example, a classic mariners compass or a feathered star block can have as many as 18 pieces in just one block. If your seam allowance is off by 1/8th inch in every seam in a block that has 6 seams, your block can be off by ¾ inch by the time you are done. That’s crazy!

Now chances are that you aren’t going to be off by 1/8th of an inch, but you get the idea about how it adds up right? So what can you do to make sure your seam allowance is more accurate?

Let’s start with taking a look at the sole plate on your machine. There are usually marks on the metal that tell you where to line up your fabric.

Now, this particular machine has 9mm stitch width capabilities so the 1/4 inch mark is the edge of the foot. But you can see the 5/8th mark very clearly on the sole plate. This is great, but I will admit that even after sewing for 25 years, I still need a little help to ensure an accurate seam.

Here are a few of the things we have tried over the years, starting with our very favorite product. Try them and see what you think. Be sure to leave a comment if you have a tip we did not include!

(Note: This post contains affiliate links to the products on Amazon in the photos to show you where to find them. If you purchase the item through those links, we earn a few cents for recommending the product. You are not charged extra for using the link. It’s kinda like Amazon giving us a tip for offering you a tip!)

Ideal Seam Gauge and Ideal Seam Guide

Sew Very Smooth SVS54951 Ideal Seam Gauge* Affiliate

Sew Very Smooth Ideal Seam Guide* Affiliate Link in photo


These two products work perfectly on any machine. You simply lift up your presser foot and slide your needle into the hole on the Ideal Seam Gauge next to the seam allowance you want.


Next, leave the needle down, turn the gauge and drop the presser foot.

Now line up the Ideal Seam Guide right next to the gauge. It has a tacky back that will temporarily adhere to the bed of your sewing machine.

Remove the Ideal Seam Gauge and get ready to sew! Line up your fabric with the seam guide as you sew. That’s it!

Ideal Seam Guide* Affiliate Link in photo

Its really easy! In my photos, I used the Student Edition which comes with everything you need in a compact version.

You can find more information about this product on the Sew Very Smooth website. We just love them!
If you need to sew TODAY and you don’t have a store that sells the ideal seam guide, what do you do? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!

First, you need a ruler. A quilting ruler is just fine. A measuring tape is fine too if it has the mark you need. (just be sure to compare whatever you are using to a second ruler to make sure that the markings are correct)

Line up the ¼” or 5/8” marking with the needle, just as before. Using washi tape, painters tape or even moleskin (shoe insole section of a drugstore) line it up on the edge of your ruler.


This method provides a visual mark for you to line up with the edge of your fabric as you sew. Moleskin is about 1/8 inch thick, so it actually gives you a slight lip to butt the fabric against.


Depending on your sewing machine, you might be able to purchase a ¼ inch foot with a guide…

1/4 inch foot with guide*

Adjustable Seam Guide*

Your machine might come with a screw in guide for garment sewing. It looks like this…

Seam guide*


Or you can buy a magnetic guide that you can apply just as we did above.

Just remember to measure from the needle, especially if your machine allows you to adjust the needle position, to ensure that you get the perfect seam allowance.


That’s it! Pretty easy right? Do you have another tip that we didn’t mention here? If so, tell us about it in the comments below!

Be sure to visit the other stops along the rest of the blog hop and thanks for stopping by!


Don’t forget to check out everyone else in the Back to School Blog Hop 2017!

Day 1 – August 15 – Sam Hunter: How to spray baste a BIG quilt –

Day 2 – August 16 – Mandy Leins: Thread Dread: removing stray bits after quilting –

Day 3 – August 17 – Nancy Stovall: The Sweet Creamy Filling –

Day 4 – August 18 – Ebony Love: 7 Indispensible feet for your sewing machine –

Day 5 – August 19 – Michelle Freedman: Machine throat plates –

Day 6 – August 20 – Teresa Coates: Edge/Under/Top stitching –

Day 7 – August 21 – Kelly Cole: Ten ways to regain your sew-jo –

Day 8 – August 22 – Megan Dougherty: Choose to Fuse: tips for working with fusibles for applique –

Day 9 – August 23 – Kim Lapacek: Tricks to being productive while hauling your kids around –

Day 10 – August 24 – Yvonne Fuchs: Circuitboard quilting on Domestic and Longarm Machines –

Day 11 – August 25 – Sandi Hazlewood: Chain Piecing Quilt Blocks Tips –

Day 12 – August 26 – Juliet van der Heijden: Paper-piecing with children –

Day 13 – August 27 – Maddie Kertay: Fabric folding for any storage solution –

Day 14 – August 28 – Cath Hall: Working with Lawn fabric –

Day 15 – August 29 – Tracy Mooney: Tips for the perfect seam –

Day 16 – August 30 – Teri Lucas: How to bury thread –

Day 17 – August 31 – Debby Brown: Securing machine quilting knots – www.

Day 18 – September 1 – Flaun Cline: How to put some sparkle in your fabric pull (part 1) –

Day 19 – September 2 – Jessica Darling: How to put some sparkle in your fabric pull (part 2) –

Day 20 – September 3 – Trish Frankland: A bigger blade really IS better?! –

Day 21 – September 4 – Lynn Krawczyk: Build a simple design with hand stitching –

Day 22 – September 5 – Jane Davidson: How to make scrappy HSTs –

Day 23 – September 6 – Linda Pearl: Low cost tips for organizing your sewing room –

Day 24 – September 7 – Christa Watson – Top 10 tips for quilting on a domestic machine –

Day 25 – September 8 – Sarah Nunes: To Starch or Not to Starch –

Day 26 – September 9 – Suzy Webster: Testing fabric for bleeding –

Day 27 – September 10 – Sarah Goer: Machine bind your quilts like a pro –

Day 28 – September 11 – Vanda Chittenden: Beginner paper-piecing tips –

Day 29 – September 12 – Cheryl Sleboda: Needle threading tips –

Day 30 – September 13 – Kim Niedzwiecki – Different thread weights and when to use them –

Day 31 – September 14 – Sandra Healy: Conquer Your Fear of Machine Appliqué –

Day 32 – September 15 – Sandra Starley: The Basics of Antique Quilt Collecting –


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Cosplay Conversation: Mandy Schnecke


Name: Mandy Schnecke

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Facebook: Dins Forge Cosplay

Instagram: @dinsforge


Tell us about your cosplay. What was your inspiration?/why did you choose this character?

This cosplay is a character named Ophelia from the Nintendo series Fire Emblem: Fates! For this costume instead of doing her default outfit, I decided to create her reclassed Sorceress outfit from the cipher card because I wanted to challenge myself! I made a couple of modifications to the design including the color of the characters hair and the crown. In the game, Ophelia’s father is a prince from another kingdom so I chose to make my wig blue instead of blonde, and I used chose to give her the Crown of the Exalt as a throwback to that lineage.

I chose to cosplay Ophelia because she and her father Owain are my favorite characters in the series!

How long did it take to make your Cosplay?

I would say that it took me about a solid month to put together Ophelia.


What was your biggest challenge?

Fantasy costumes can often be a challenge to bring to life because they aren’t really created with practicality in mind, they’re just made to look cool. So for me patterning was the biggest challenge, especially when it came to the body suit. They were actually created to be like a pair of legging that extended up my torso and tucked under the band of my bra. A lot of time went into drafting them so that there were as few visible seams as possible. Since power mesh can be delicate to work with, one of the other interesting challenged of the bodysuit was top stitching the pleather diamonds on without ripping the mesh. They actually had to be made twice since I accidentally tore a hole in the mesh initially trying to top stitch them down.

What was your budget? Approximately how much did you spend?

I went into this project knowing that I wanted to compete with it so I didn’t give myself a budget for this project. All of the elements of the combined (two wigs sewn together, over 250 individually set Swarovski crystals, resin embellishments, feather trim, etc.) I spent around $550 creating my costume.


What special techniques did you use?

One of my favorite techniques is satin stitching, which I was able to use in quite a few spots on the costume including the veil, hip guards, tabard, and collar.

What was the most satisfying about making this Cosplay/What made you proud?

To me, one of the most satisfying parts of this costume was the cape. The base is a stiff suiting that started as a half circle that I modified to look more like wings. From there I sewed down lines of feather trim on both the inside and the outside of the cape.


If you had to remake this Cosplay, what would you do differently?

I would completely redo the collar piece. I wasn’t really satisfied with the way it sat and I would have liked to add some additional applique on the front, since everything I added on the back was covered by my wig.


About Cosplay in general:

How often do you Cosplay? 

Very frequently. Right now I attend about 5 conventions a year in addition to doing location shoots.

How many cosplay do you do?

Oh gosh haha! Between the ones I’ve made and the couple that I’ve bought, about 50.


Series: Bravely Default Characters: Ringabel (myself) and Edea Lee (Grace Somerset ig: rage.and.roses) Photographer: Anna Lam

What do you want to make next?

The next big costume I’m working on is a character named Lydia from the podcast The Adventure Zone!


Favorite cosplay moment? 

One of the most special cosplay moments for me happened at Anime Central 2017. I’ve been a huge fan of the book series Percy Jackson and the Olympians since I was in middle school and I managed to organize a group of friends to cosplay it with me. We had about 18 characters from Camp Halfblood, 5 from Camp Jupiter shirts, and 3 Hunters of Artemis. All of the camp shirts were custom designed and made using heat transfer vinyl and cut out using a Silhouette. This series meant a lot to me growing up, and it made me unbelievable happy to have so many of my close friends get together to make this dream group come true.


Favorite fandoms to follow?

Fire Emblem will always have my heart, but right now I’m very in to The Adventure Zone and My Hero Academia!


What sewing machine do you sew on?

I sew on a Husqvarna Viking Rose 600, and my serger is a Janome New Home.


What materials do you like using?

I love working with peachskin, matte satin, and velvet.


What materials do you want to try?

I’ve always wanted to try working with leather.


What materials do you wish were easier to work with?

Velvet haha. I love it but it isn’t always the easiest to work with.


What techniques are you dying to learn?

I’d like to try more projects that involve pieced seams in body suits. I got to work with this technique while I was working on the under suits for a Voltron cosplay, but I would love to try more complicated designs in the future.

Series: Bravely Default
Characters: Ringabel (myself) and Edea Lee (Grace Somerset ig: rage.and.roses)
Photographer: Anna Lam

All of the profession photos are taken by Anna Lam, here are her pages:





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Cosplay Conversation: Beth Grimes

Name: Beth Grimes

Location: Minneapolis, MN


Instagram: victrolavixen

Twitter: @victrolavixen

Cosplay Affiliations: Probable COSplay


You have an unusual twist when you cosplay. Tell us about it.

I have made detailed screen-accurate cosplays, but I love doing mashups and puns.    It started last year with Purple Rey (a play on Prince’s Purple Rain and Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens).   It was such a hit I decided to follow it up with Garth Vader (Garth Algar from Wayne’s World dressed as Darth Vader), then this year’s Edgar Allan Poe Dameron (The famous author plus Poe Dameron, dashingly handsome pilot from Star Wars: The Force Awakens).   I have a list of more ideas to tackle as I get the time and resources!  I can’t wait to do more!


What made you choose to cosplay puns?

I am a nerd and a comedian.  I love combining those two worlds.   I’m a circus clown, and as part of that community my friends and I are constantly coming up with visual gags/jokes to use in shows or to amuse ourselves.    Essentially this is a continuation of a thought process from clowns and comedians from way back- a hundred years ago or more.  Circus clowns during the 19-teens through the 1960s would have made costumes like this based on current events or celebrities at the time to get laughs as they strolled down the track during parts of the show.  They were called “walkarounds”.    I wouldn’t use them in shows today but they are GREAT for cosplay at cons.  Pun cosplay also allows me to be more creative and it gets people’s brains going when they see those types of cosplay.  I like making people think, and I love making people laugh.  Sometimes it takes a minute for them to get it, but the reaction is ALWAYS worth it.

Tell us about your cosplay. What was your inspiration?/why did you choose this character?

I wanted to come up with another pun costume for this year’s CONvergence.  I decided Edgar Allan Poe Dameron was the funniest sounding one on the list and I should make it happen.


How long did it take to make your Cosplay?

I procrastinated so I frantically put the costume together in under 2 days.  I had all day Thursday to paint and find pieces, then Friday late night after I got home from day 1 of the con, then Saturday morning to finish.


What was your biggest challenge?

There were a few challenges- Coming up with the makeup and figuring out how to make the oxygen hose box on the front.  I found a plastic electronics case at a surplus store and covered it with foam core to make the boxy shape and the buttons.   I studied photos of Edgar Allan Poe to get the face right.


What was your budget? Approximately how much did you spend?

I try to spend as little as possible when doing cosplays.  The most expensive part was the flight suit.  (I had to buy one due to time or else I would’ve sewn one) The ensemble cost about $80.


What special techniques did you use?

I was able to dismantle a padded army surplus belt and spray paint the pieces to resemble Poe Dameron’s flight vest.  To make the vest I hemmed a winter puffy vest for the base.  I didn’t count on the vest being filled with down.  I am used to cotton batting.  Upon the first cut the down showered out of the vest like confetti.  Our cat was quite amused.  I, on the other hand, still had wet spray paint on my arms and hands and they were now covered with tiny white feathers.  Never, ever, cut open a down vest.


What was the most satisfying about making this Cosplay/What made you proud?

I decided to go with greyscale makeup since it would make the character more recognizable.  It adds to the melancholy and goth look.  Without the greyscale I’d just look like Ron Swanson in a flight suit.  I didn’t have time to do any makeup tests, so I woke up early Saturday morning hoping my makeup would turn out in the first go.  At first I glued on a mustache but when I went to trim it I cut too much off.  I decided to draw on the mustache.  I’m very pleased it turned out the way it did!


If you had to remake this Cosplay, what would you do differently?

I am in process of re-making the vest.  The original vest was very stiff since the front panels were originally a belt.  I need a vest that allows for more movement.  I also intend to incorporate more Poe references than just The Raven, although the BB-8 Raven is my favorite part of the costume.

About Cosplay in general:

How long have you been doing Cosplay?

My first cosplay was the Mike Meyers version of Cat in the Hat at Wizard World 2009.


How often do you Cosplay?

Not nearly as often as I want!


How many cosplay do you do?

I currently do Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp version), Floyd Pepper (The Muppets),  Professor Trelawney (Harry Potter), Purple Rey, Garth Vader, and Edgar Allan Poe Dameron


What do you want to make next?

I have a list of ideas.  *HINT* My next pun will be an homage to my favorite silent film comedian and an iconic 1980s movie.


Favorite cosplay moment?

Last year, as Purple Rey, and my boyfriend as Purple Ren (Kylo Ren),  people who knew Prince and worked for Prince came to us and told us their stories.  It was an amazing experience!

Favorite fandoms to follow?

Star Wars, Star Trek, Borderlands, Slapstick Comedy


What kind of sewing machine do you use?

Whichever one runs!  Currently I’m using a Sears Kenmore.


What materials do you like using?

PVC, Cardboard, Craft Foam, Plasti-Dip


What materials do you want to try?

leatherwork and 3D printing (getting a printer this Fall!)


What materials do you wish were easier to work with?



What techniques are you dying to learn?

I will be learning to make my own special effects makeup prosthetics very soon.  I also just learned to ventilate so I need to practice some wig-making!

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