Tips and Tricks: Seam Allowances


Ever have a project with an awkward seam allowance? Maybe my simple tip can help you save time and get that project done!

This past week I’ve been working on a version of the {Layer Player Quilt by Barb Johnson}. I love this quilt because you can jump right into sewing without doing any cutting or prep work (besides pairing up contrasting layer cakes). But this quilt calls for a 1½” seam allowance (in addition to the standard ¼”) and it was taking me a lot of time to mark those seam allowances.


Then, light bulb moment. I got out my washi tape and a sewing gauge.


I just measured 1½” from the needle and used a piece of washi tape to mark the line across the bed of my machine. You better believe I whipped out those blocks in half the time!


Happy sewing!


17 comments on “Tips and Tricks: Seam Allowances

  1. Lynda H says:

    My machine has blue painters tape marking many different lines – in addition, if you take moleskin and cut a thin strip, you can place it to use as a seam guide – I use this as I do not have a quarter inch foot and it works well sometimes you have to work on getting just the right placement.

  2. Gloria Galiana says:

    Great idea. I’ve heard/seen a lot about Washi tape, but always thought it was for scrapbooking. I may just have to get some to have on hand. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Vanessa says:

    So simple and so great- thank you!

  4. Mary says:

    If your machine has a free arm you can put rubber band around it to use as a guide.

  5. Jen says:

    Love your seam allowance tip, but was especially intrigued by your ruler. My father’s name was John Crane and I have tried to collect “Crane” items since his death. Do you know where I could purchase a John Crane ruler like the one shown in your photo?

    • Trina says:

      John Crane is a company that sells mainly mechanical pump seals. I currently have one of these in my desk drawer at work. If you know an engineer or someone who works in a chemical manufacturing plant, they may be able to acquire one for you.

  6. Rebecca Kovach says:

    I prefer using a magnetic seam guide. I purchase them in the notions department at Joann Fabrics. Inexpensive product that’s a really nice convenience. And no, the magnet does not interfere with my computerized sewing machine.

  7. SueP says:

    Ditto on the magnetic seam guide. I put one in my little granddaughter’s Christmas stocking for when she sews pillow cases. I have had one since I was a little girl – and I refuse to tell you how long ago it was!

  8. Rosemarazzle says:

    Painters tape works for me

  9. Debbie says:

    Painters tape measured out from the needle works great. This is also helpful if you are sewing
    curtains and need to make the opening for the rod and the header up top.

  10. Tina says:

    That is the greatest hint I have heard so far, a real puzzle for me, just ran the tape alongside but was hard, so now got the easy way, thank you so much! xxx

  11. […] Bake Shop shares some Tips and Tricks: Seam Allowances.  Your machine probably has some markings for 1/4” or 1/2” seams, but what if you need to […]

  12. Tammy M. says:

    I wish the Tips & Tricks and the Basics had a pdf version. I’d like to be able to save them so I could quickly reference them since I’m a new quilter.

  13. Naomi C says:

    Copy and paste tip, etc into a word document. I do this all the time for ‘stuff’ I want to keep and reference later.

Comments are closed.