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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