A Quilty Kind of Girl

March 18, 2010

An update on thread weights and seam allowance

Thanks to all of you who took time to comment and contact me regarding thread weights and piecing! It seems that quilters have many ways of making their own piecing successful. I heard so many ideas and suggestions, I just had to post again and share some of them with everyone.

Anne Walker pointed out that she uses a straight stitch plate when piecing.


This type of sewing machine plate is exclusively for sewing straight lines.


This plate could be used for straight stitch or zig zag, due to the rectangular shaped opening for the needle.

Anne had an excellent point about moving the needle position. When using a straight stitch plate, the needle must make it’s descent into a small hole. Therefore one must be very cautious about moving the needle position. If the needle were moved to much, it would impact with the needle plate, causing the needle to break and potentially injure you. As you can see from the second picture of a needle plate, it has a wider opening, to allow the needle to move right or left when stitching a zig zag, or other decorative stitch. So if you need to adjust your needle position quite a bit, you would be wise to stick with the second type of needle plate.

Now that you have the low down on needle plate safety, I want to share an idea for using 40 wt thread for piecing. One quilter mention that she prefers to use 40 wt as it is a very sturdy thread. If you find that 40 wt is the thread you love and have the most of in your stash, then try adjusting your needle position to allow more room for the thicker thread within the seam allowance. Sew out some sample seams, press them open and measure the fabric to make sure the thread doesn’t steal valuable space within the seam. Adjust your needle and gauge your presser foot accordingly to come out with an accurate 1/4 inch each and every time you are using a different weight thread for piecing. Make a note of the adjustments you need to make for all your favorite threads. This is a handy trick for quilters that like to match their thread color to the fabric they are piecing. After all, who’s only got one kind of thread in their stash? Not me!

Also remember that accurate pressing helps your measurements stay on track. If you haven’t pressed the fold in the fabric entirely open, then you will certainly see a shortage in your measurements.

Have you seen today’s prompt on Quilter’s Daily? How do you plan to celebrate National Quilting Day? This Saturday, my friend Christine and her family will be joining us for a BBQ! Although as I peek out the window, I’m hoping the snow that’s falling will quickly melt before Saturday! If not, we’ll just have to find another way to grill those steaks! I’m fairly certain I’ll get some stitching time in, as I have two quilts with deadlines on my agenda. One is pretty easy, the other… not so much! LOL But a challenge is always a good thing. I hope you enjoy your National Quilting Day, whether you are stitching or shopping, either sounds like great fun to me!

QuiltersDaily Blog-Along

QuiltersDaily Blog-Along

Don’t forget to Blog Along with us! It’s a lot of fun, and it will get you a chance at winning $200 in long arm quilting services! What a prize!!

Quilty Hugs,

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  1. So can anyone “blog along”…I was thinking you needed to be invited? Also…just wondering if you know if National Quilting Day is always March 20?

    Comment by Sherri — March 18, 2010 @ 4:05 pm | Reply

    • Oh YES! Anyone can blog along! And I think National Quilting Day is the same every year…. I hope I’m not lying! 🙂

      Comment by quiltcetera — March 18, 2010 @ 4:33 pm | Reply

  2. I’m hoping to get a straight stitch plate next week in Lancaster. I too have heard good things about using one for piecing.

    Comment by Michele — March 18, 2010 @ 4:10 pm | Reply

    • I love my straight stitch plate. It is especially useful when I’m stitching corners with seams.

      Comment by quiltcetera — March 18, 2010 @ 4:30 pm | Reply

  3. i love thread play, the more I can play with the better, I found when I first started out, the best thing was to grab some sandwiched muslin, and Play, and then take my trusty sharpie and write down on the muslin, what I did, so later, I would have a little show and tell for myself…this also worked for different quilting techniques!

    Comment by Rhonda — March 18, 2010 @ 9:21 pm | Reply

    • Great ideas Rhonda. It’s always good to keep a record of what works, and especially what doesn’t work!

      Comment by quiltcetera — March 22, 2010 @ 11:33 pm | Reply

  4. To celebrate National Quilting Day here in Nevada our Desert Quilters are holding their annual Quilt Show at the Henderson Convention Center. Be there or be square. Everyone’s invited. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. come see the best of the Desert Quilter’s quilts. They are spectacular.

    Comment by Regina — March 18, 2010 @ 10:24 pm | Reply

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