The Pressing IssueSo how do you make sure you're actually getting a 1/4" seam? I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here, I'm just going to direct you to some really great tutorials written by way more talented peeps than me. One of the key points I'd like to make though is in regards to pressing - whether you press your seams open or to the side makes an enormous impact on the accuracy of your seams. When I started working through this process I was a hardcore pressing seams to the side convert. By the end I'd started pressing my seams open, and I've never looked back.
I think this article is worth reading - this was pivotal in changing my thinking, and the reason I gave pressing open a go. But it's a personal choice, there is no right or wrong way to go. I would encourage you to play around with pressing open vs to the side and decide which works best for you :o)
If you're interested in learning how to press your seams open, this post has some great step by step photos.
1/4" SeamsSo you've decided how you'd prefer to press your seams. How do you know that the seam itself is accurate? I would suggest this brilliant tutorial by Amy of Amy's Creative Side as the perfect starting point. This was my starting point. I worked through her tutorial several times, trying different pressing methods and changing my needle position until I arrived at my perfect 1/4" seam. Every sewing machine will be different, so what worked for me might not work for you. I found on my Bernina, that the edge of my patchwork foot gives a true 1/4" seam IF I press open. If I press to the side, its too big. If I move my needle to the right, it's too small.
I hope you find some of these links helpful and relevant. And if you have any other ideas I would love to hear them! I'll be back tomorrow with a block tutorial :o)