The ¼ mark is the most commonplace for marking a sewing machine because it helps you create a straight line with pins or a basting cord. Additionally, the ¼-inch seam allowance can be added with a guide or ruler for better accuracy when spacing pattern pieces for cutting.
When sewing, the best method to measure seams is using the “1/4″ mark on a sewing machine. This marks a perfect intersection of two straight lines where you can make sure that your stitches are evenly spaced and straight. However, when making this measurement for other purposes, such as marking along the edge of a finished garment or cutting out patterns from fabric pieces, it is often difficult to find where 1/4″ starts and ends on your machine.
A quarter-inch seam allowance is typically used in garment construction. This means that when lining up pieces of fabric to sew together, both fabrics should be turned ¼” so they’re perpendicular to each other before feeding them into the sewing machine as you stitch them together.
At the end of this article, I’ll explain which method is best. You can decide on which way to mark your sewing machine.
Different Methods for ¼ mark on a sewing machine:
Some sewing machines have an actual ¼-inch mark on them. It can be a solid line or a line with holes, but it’s there. If you have this marking on your sewing machine, use it. It’s the easiest and most accurate way to mark your machine.
If you don’t, or if you want to add another marking method for easy reference, try the following methods.
Method#1: Pressing the foot pedal that is marked “1/4”
This is the easiest and most simple way to find the 1/4 mark on your sewing machine. There is a pedal on the floor that is marked “1/4” on most machines. The 1/4 mark correlates with this pedal, so press it to see where your ¼ mark starts.
Method #2: Moving the 1/4″ marking lever away from the needle plate
This is a little more difficult to use but can be a useful method if you sew frequently. There is a small lever on the carriage in some sewing machines that is marked “1/4”. When set correctly, this lever will move away from the needle plate once the fabric has been fed into the machine and evenly stretched. It gives you an idea of where ¼ marks start.
Here are the steps to follow for each method:
- Put your machine into a sewing position, with the needle up and in place.
- Move your hand-wheel forward (if your machine has one), then use your fingers to guide the needle down into place.
- Make sure the needle is down in your fabric and that it does not touch the presser foot.
- Press or hold the “1/4” pedal (the “1/4” marking lever should automatically move away from the needle plate).
- Mark where ¼ marks on your machine meet either one of the lines on your ruler or a line you have drawn on your fabric.
- Note which side of the needle plate shows a ¼ mark.
Which method is best?
I would suggest the marking method that has the most convenient location. Use it if you have the ¼-inch marking lever on your sewing machine. It’s the easiest and most accurate way to mark your machine. If you don’t have one, I suggest pressing the foot pedal marked “1/4”.
Many machines also have a ¼-inch mark right on the needle plate itself. Use this method for easy reference if you are sewing in one direction (such as sewing a seam down or on top of seams).
We have examined two ways to find the quarter-inch seam allowance on your sewing machine: using a pedal and using a lever. All two methods can be used, but you want to choose the best option that will be easy for you to use in your sewing area and will not require any extra tools.
While this article focuses on finding the ¼ mark on a sewing machine, it can also be useful for finding other points on the sewing machine you will use often. All the above two methods can be used on any sewing machine brand. Good luck!