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Machine Minute - Bulky Intersections: Fanning Seam Allowances

To achieve a smooth and even quilt top, it's important to consider how the seam allowances come together. Watch this video to learn a great way to evenly distribute seams.

Hi I'm Jennifer, here with another Machine Minute brought to
you by Baby Lock and the Symphony machine. Bulky intersections
in your quilt top can be a problem when you
have multiple pieces converging at one central point. Learning to
fan your seam allowances so that you can reduce some
of that bulk is an easy way to make sure
that your quilt top turns out smooth on top. And
it will also make it easier when it comes time
to machine quilt because you won't be going over multiple
thicknesses of fabric in some areas and having just one
layer of fabric in others. I've made a little sample
here to demonstrate how to do this and I've used
larger than a 1/4" seam allowances so it is exaggerated
for the camera. But normally you would use just a
standard 1/4" seam allowance. And these same principles are going
to apply. So where your intersections come together, when you
join pieces you press them in one direction, so here
I pressed to the darker side. On the opposite pair,
again I pressed to the darker side. And the problem
comes when you join those two pieces together with a
seam. Because what you end up with here is just
one thickness of fabric. But where this seam allowance is
pressed over the top of this seam allowance, I really
have five layers of fabric, because I have the two
for this seam allowance, two more for this seam allowance
and then the piece itself. So I've got five thicknesses
on this side and just a single thickness on this
side. So how to I distribute that fabric more evenly.
Well by trimming or fanning my seam allowance and making
sure that my seam allowances are pressed in a counter-clockwise
or clockwise fashion. It doesn't matter which on your piece.
But when you look at your seam allowances, I want
them all to go counter-clockwise in this case, and I'll
show you how I did that. So going back to
this piece I got my two pairs sewn together and
then I sewed them together on this seam. I'm then
going to take my scissors on this joining seam and
I'm going to make a snip just alongside that seam
allowance. I'm only going through the top layer. I'm not
going through both of them, and I don't wanna snip
through my seam allowance, just to it. So I've got
one that I could open up like that. But I'm
going to fold that back down. Then I'm going to
turn the piece around. I'm gonna flip over that seam
allowance and make the same cut just through the top
later right alongside that seam but not going through it.
And then I'll set the piece down here and you'll
see what happens. When I open up that seam by
snipping like that, and I'll just finger press it here,
you can see that once I go back to press
this, this seam allowance now goes this direction, this one
heads here, and I've got that telltale little checkerboard in
the center. Now with my seam allowance was a true
1/4", it would be a tiny, tiny checkerboard in the
very center, but it would allow me to distribute it
so there's no place now that I have those five
layers of fabric. And what it means for the front
side of my piece is that when I go along
and do my stitching, I don't have big bumps in
my quilt top as I'm trying to stitch in the
ditch or edge -titch along things, or even for echo
quilting. It makes things much smoother. So try fanning your
seam allowances to reduce some of the bulk in those
intersections, and see if you're not happier with how smooth
your quilt top is.


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